Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Brian Johnson – President
Broker, Windermere Real Estate

Thomas Gewecke – Vice President
Former Chief Digital Officer
Warner Bros. Entertainment

Holly H. McHugh – Secretary
General Counsel
First Tech Federal Credit Union

Peter Northrup – Treasurer
President, Northrup Corporation

Jim Brunberg
Founder, Independent Venue Coalition
Venue Maker, Composer, Producer

Kristen Downer
Director of Intellectual Property, Asia Pacific & Latin America, Nike, Inc.

Jessica Gowans
Owner & Head of School
Busy Hands Montessori

Akos Kondor
Project Manager, J.E. Dunn Construction

David R. Ludwig
Partner, Farleigh Wada Witt

Vadim Mozyrsky
Administrative Law Judge
U.S. Social Security Administration

Douglas A. Stearns
2nd VP ASD Strategic Partner Management
Standard Insurance Company

Aimee Virnig
Principal Broker, Windermere Real Estate


MYS Staff

Raúl Gómez-Rojas, Music Director

rgomez@playmys.org

Member of the 2018 class of the prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (League of American Orchestras), Raúl Gómez-Rojas inspires audiences and artists of all ages and backgrounds to use music as a vehicle to connect, pursue excellence, and spread joy. Lauded as a “visionary conductor” (Oregon ArtsWatch), Raúl has built a reputation as an insightful leader that “captivates both performing musicians and audiences alike,” and whose “positive attitude and enthusiasm make him a joy to be with” (C. Mumm, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, NY).

In high demand as a guest conductor, Raúl is equally at home on stage and in the pit, leading professional orchestras in the USA and Latin America, new music ensembles, youth, and community groups, and collaborating with a vast array of guest artists across many genres and disciplines. Recent highlights include performances with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, 45th Parallel Universe, Fear No Music, Third Angle New Music, Tilikum Chamber Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon International Ballet Academy, jazz violinist Regina Carter, Steward Copeland, Boyz 2 Men, Lyle Lovett, The Tenors, Kermit Ruffins, Rick Springfield and more.

In his seventh season as Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Raúl leads a team of 12 conductors serving over 500 students in 12 ensembles. He has led the organization to new artistic heights while creating “concert programs that any forward-looking orchestra should envy.” (Willamette Week). Raúl’s skills to “inspire children and young adults to make music to the best of their ability are astonishing” (D. Seldis, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra).

Since coming on board with MYS, Raúl has augmented programming to include a partnership with FearNoMusic’s Young Composers Project entitled “The Authentic Voice,” through which MYS commissions, performs, and records full orchestra works by local young composers. Forever committed to music education, access, and outreach, Raúl has led the growth of MYS’s free Beginning Strings program as well as a conservatory-like stepped music theory curriculum available to students in all 12 MYS ensembles.

A native of Costa Rica, Raúl received full scholarships for graduate studies at Louisiana State University in violin/viola (MM) and conducting (DMA), and was a Conducting Fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival (2011). Beyond the podium, his work extends to frequent engagements as a violinist/violist, clinician, public speaker and, since 2020, as a Contributing Host and Producer for On Deck with Young Musicians on All Classical Portland. Raúl also currently serves as Music Director of YMA: Young Musicians and Artists and Guest Conductor with Oregon Ballet Theatre.


Diana Scoggins, Executive Director

dscoggins@playmys.org

Diana has served as the Executive Director for MYS since 2010.  Most recently prior to joining MYS, Diana was a business analyst with the Bonneville Power Administration, and has been involved with MYS as a parent for nine years (thus far!).  Having played the violin with the California Youth Symphony growing up, she is passionate about music and the impact it can have in the lives of young people and the people they touch.  When not hanging out at rehearsal or in concert halls, Diana loves to run, cook, read, drink coffee, and travel.


Suzanne Raether, Director of Fund Development

sraether@playmys.org

Suzanne Raether brings more than a decade of fundraising experience to the role of Director of Fund Development. Originally from Louisiana, Suzanne is passionate about youth development and music education and works to ensure that MYS has the strategies and financial capacity to grow and sustain its programs and services. And, she has known MYS Music Director Raúl Gómez-Rojas longer than anyone in the organization, having worked with him at the Louisiana Philharmonic years ago! When Suzanne’s not at work, you can find her listening to music, at the gym, or trying to find the best Cajun food in the PNW.


Mark Woodward, Artistic Operations Manager

production@playmys.org

Mark Woodward is thrilled to join MYS’s administrative team. He is a multidimensional musician—singer, violin/violist, pianist, conductor, composer­­—and an experienced arts administrator.

From 2013-2021, he served as Artistic Director of BRAVO Youth Orchestra, designing their intensive after-school music program and leading their flagship string ensemble. He has arranged over 200 pieces of concert music for youth orchestra. His arrangements have been performed by young musicians alongside Black Violin, Harlem String Quartet, Monica Huggett of Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Oregon Symphony. He has proudly conducted a non-audition, adult community choir at Multnomah Arts Center since 2011. He composes new works for them each season and arranges many of their songs. He has also directed youth choirs at Community Music Center in SE and Boychoir at Pacific Youth Choir. Mark is currently the tenor section leader of Oregon Repertory Singers. His awards include Best of the Northwest: Young Composer Competition (Portland Vocal Consort) and The Sinquefield Prize for music composition. He holds a Master’s degree in Composition from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from the University of Central Missouri.

Mark enjoys exploring the trails of the PNW with his apricot poodle, Appa, and he loves all things plants. Let him know what herbaceous perennials are catching your eye this season.


Sarah McLain, Program & Development Coordinator

programs@playmys.org

Sarah McLain received a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She taught and directed preschool programs in California for many years before moving to Oregon in 2002. Sarah volunteered in various roles including board positions at her children’s cooperative preschool and elementary school. Sarah spent 8 years as an MYS parent, an MYS Group Manager, Librarian, and Volunteer Coordinator for the annual CRESCENDO Gala. Sarah played the piano growing up and appreciates the value of a high-quality musical education. Sarah enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, cooking, and baking. 

If you have questions about registration, tuition, concert tickets or any other general questions about our program, please contact Sarah.


Kyra Hanson, Communications & Community Engagement Manager

khanson@playmys.org

Kyra Hanson is a huge fan of all things storytelling. With a teacher for a mom and a librarian for a dad, she always had a book in her hands throughout childhood. When faced with declaring a major as a freshman at the University of Oregon, she gravitated towards one that was driven by storytelling – public relations.

Right out of college, she dove into the world of technology PR, spearheading media relations and social media programs for semiconductor, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity companies. Yet at the end of the day, she knew tech wasn’t her true passion, and therefore looked for a way to utilize her storytelling skills in an industry she cares deeply about – music. She now works behind the scenes at MYS, assisting with press releases, email campaigns, social media posts, you name it.

When she’s not at work, you will likely find her reading books, buying books, frequenting concerts, baking, and crocheting.