Featured musicians, soloists, composers and staff
Dwayne S. Milburn, Music Director and Conductor
Dwayne S. Milburn was born in Baltimore and came to Los Angeles in 1983 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Composition and Music Education at UCLA.
After graduation from UCLA, he was Director of Cadet Music at West Point and starting in 1990 attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, earning a degree in Orchestral Conducting. In 1993 he joined the U.S. Army, serving as Associate Bandmaster of the Continental Army Band and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” In 1999 he was named Director of the U.S. Army Europe Soldier’s Chorus in Heidelberg, Germany, and later, Commander and Conductor of the Army Ground Forces Band at Fort McPherson, Georgia.
From 2004–2009, while on leave from the Army, he completed a Ph.D. in Music Composition at UCLA, during which time he was Assistant Conductor of The Choir of St. Matthew’s Parish and Composer-in-Residence for St. Matthew’s Music Guild. His composition, Water Scenes for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra, may be heard on the orchestra’s CD, Music from the Left Coast.
Upon reentering the Armed Forces in 2010, he directed the U.S. Army Field Band and was Army Bands Liaison Officer to U.S. Army Central Command in the Middle East. Having achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he recently retired as Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus in Sembach, Germany.
Units under his direction have performed at the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and D-Day commemorations at Normandy, have toured in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and have appeared at hundreds of Army-sponsored events throughout Central Europe, the Balkans, Baltic States, and Turkey.
Dwayne is active as a composer, conductor, and adjudicator. He has received commissions from the instrumental programs at UCLA, University of North Texas, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His choral and wind ensemble works are published by Alfred, Kjos and Ludwig Masters.
Upon his retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit – an award that is given by Presidential Proclamation for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
Thomas Neenan, President
Thomas Neenan retired as Music Director and Conductor of The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew's, Music Director at the Parish of St. Matthew, Pacific Palisades in June 2017. He is Lecturer in Music History and Music Theory at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena.
Mr. Neenan holds degrees from California State University, Northridge, and from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) where he was honored with an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and was a prizewinner in the Atwater-Kent Performance Competition. He includes among his teachers David Britton, Thomas Harmon, Delores Stevens, Jean Langlais, and Ernst-Ulrich von Kameke. As a recital organist he has performed in the United States as well as in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland.
At Caltech Mr. Neenan teaches a full complement of music courses including a year-long survey of Music History, a year-long Music Theory sequence and a variety of special topics, including History of Opera, Major Figures in Music, Choral-Orchestral Literature, Chamber Music, and others.
He has been honored by the Associated Students of California Institute of Technology with an ASCIT Outstanding Teaching Award. He has been a featured speaker on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's "Upbeat Live" pre-concert presentations and for the Philharmonic’s Organ Recital Series.
With the St. Matthew Parish Choir and the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew's, he has premiered more than two dozen works, including those by Alan Chan, Ross Wright, Christopher Tin, Maria Newman, Mark Falcone, David Newman, Mary Lou Newmark, Sasha Matson, Thomas Pasatieri, Craig Phillips, Joseph Curiale, Roger Bourland, David Hurd, Gerald Near, Paul Chihara, Dwayne S. Milburn, Tarik O'Regan and John O’Reilly.
Mr. Neenan and the Choir of St. Matthew’s Parish toured Central Europe during the summer of 2003 singing in Budapest, Tabor (CZ), Prague, Leipzig (St. Thomas), Dresden (Frauenkirche) and Naumburg (St. Wenzel’s) and toured England, Wales and Ireland in July 2006. In August 2011 they returned to Europe where they served as Choir in Residence at Winchester Cathedral for a week and were the resident choir at Durham Cathedral (UK) for a week in the summer of 2016.
Gordon Dressler, Treasurer
Gordon Dressler was raised and grew up in the South, being born in Texas then spending his early childhood in Tennessee and his teens in Florida. He is a true “child of the space age”, earning a BS degree from Florida Institute of Technology and a MS degree from Caltech. He has been married to his wife, Karen, for 15 years and has one daughter, Lauren. Karen and Gordon’s first date was at a concert at St. Matthew’s church and the rest, as they say, is history! Gordon retired from a 36-year career in rocket propulsion engineering and staff management, and is happy that he can now volunteer time to work with non-profit groups. He is honored to serve on the Music Guild Board and looks forward to contributing to the continuing success of this organization and the superb Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s.
John Graham, Secretary
John Graham has written scores for over a dozen feature films and has also scored video games, television, documentaries, and movie trailers. He's provided music for Universal, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, CBS, Square Enix, ABC, DeNA, Bethesda Softworks, The Creative Assembly, Disney, LucasArts and many others. John lives and writes in the Palisades with his wife and four kids. In the past, John worked in senior positions for several major companies, including First Boston, Lehman Brothers, and The Walt Disney Company. He serves on the board of trustees for Causeway Capital Management, a global equity investment manager.
John grew up near the Blue Ridge Mountains and holds degrees from Williams College and Stanford University.
Catherine Carrick was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and lived in Paris, France for several years as a child. She received a Bachelor of Arts in French and Studio Arts from Sweet Briar College, and a Master of French from Middlebury College. She taught French at E. Rivers Elementary School for five years in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a Lower and Middle School French teacher at Viewpoint School in Calabasas. Catherine has always been interested in the arts, and has been a member of St. Matthew’s Music Guild since her arrival in Los Angeles in 2009. Catherine and her husband, John, live in Brentwood.
Mary Libbey Conley was born in Lewiston, Maine, and was raised in Southern California. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. While at Loyola Marymount, she sang in the University Chorus under Paul Salamunovich. Mary earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology at CSULA, then completed a Ph.D. In Educational Psychology at UC Santa Barbara in 1977, with a dissertation on techniques for enhancing second language instruction. She taught Psychology at San Diego Mesa College, and for four years was Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles.
With two small daughters at home, Mary became an independent educational consultant to the children’s television industry. She served as Vice President in the nonprofit Coalition on Children and Television, lecturing, supervising research, and providing comments to the FCC.
In 1985, Mary joined Capital Cities ABC Television Network as the Director responsible for all ABC Network Children’s Programs, also working on medical and psychiatric-themed movies and series. After ABC became a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company in 1987, Mary was involved in many of Disney’s animated and live-action children’s series. She retired from Disney/ABC in Fall of 2013.
Mary and her husband, Bryan, live in Pacific Palisades.
Anne Costin was President of the Music Guild from 1991-2001 and rejoined the Board in 2009. Anne was born in Georgia and raised in North Carolina. She received a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and a PMD degree from Harvard Business School. She retired from a 28-year global career at Citigroup in investment banking, taught 4 years in the Finance and Economics Department at Columbia Business School in NYC, and has been teaching finance to executives from Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the past 7 years at The Amsterdam Institute of Finance in The Netherlands. For the past 10 years Anne has been on the Board of Directors of 2 New York Stock Exchange-registered funds investing in energy securities with assets under management exceeding US $10 Billion. Anne simply enjoys music and is honored to be able to assist The Music Guild in its mission to provide high quality orchestral performances and musical outreach.
Patricia Massey is in her fifteenth season as Principal Clarinetist with the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew's and in her tenth season as Orchestra Manager. She is also Principal Clarinetist with the Downey Symphony and a member of the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay and the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra. In addition she performs regularly with a number of other ensembles in Southern California. She is actively involved in music in the schools with Campus Concerts and the Downey Symphony Quintet. She is on the summer music faculty at Idyllwild Arts.
John O’Reilly is one of the most-performed composers of band music in the world today with 350 compositions and arrangements in print. A recipient of numerous ASCAP awards, he has studied composition with Robert Washburn, Arthur Frackenpohl, Charles Walton and Donald Hunsberger. As co-author of the Yamaha Band Student, Accent on Achievement and Strictly Strings, John has made a major impact on the education of young musicians. John attended the Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Postdam, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. In addition, he is the recipient of a Master of Arts in Composition and Theory from Columbia University. John’s 12 years of teaching experience at elementary through college levels has provided him with insights and sensitivities to the needs of both students and educators. For thirty five years he served as Executive Vice President and Editor-in Chief for Alfred Publishing. An elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, John is a frequent conductor of honor bands worldwide.
Cynthia Alden Smith born and spent her formative years in Connecticut.
After graduating cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts with a BA in Biological Sciences, Cynthia moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in medical and biological research. She worked as an electron microscopist for five years at the House Ear Institute and UCLA. Cynthia began her career in cable TV selling door-to-door in the San Fernando Valley. In 1989, she joined USA Networks in their Los Angeles regional office where her responsibilities included affiliate marketing, local ad sales and contract negotiations for regional MSO's, divisional offices and systems in Southern California, Arizona & New Mexico. She was promoted to Regional Vice President and had overall responsibility for the distribution, revenues, marketing, and local ad sales support for USA Network and The Sci-Fi Channel in a 14-state region.In the late nineties, Cynthia entered the technology arena as a Vice President of Sales for a Silicon Valley start-up providing the cable industry with interactive TV applications. After leaving the cable industry she founded her professional organizing business, Your House In Order.
Cynthia has been active in industry and trade associations and clubs throughout her career. She has served on the Boards of Directors of the Southern California Cable Association, the Southern California Cable Marketing Association, the National Association of Professional Organizers, L.A. Leggers running club and is currently on the BOD of the West Los Angeles Obedience & Training Club.
In her free time, she’s a marathon runner, dog obedience and agility competitor, choir singer, photographer, and maker of award-winning apricot jam and chutney.
Dorry Tooke was born and raised in Ottawa Canada. She attended Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada where she received her B.A., Dip. PT and B.Ed. degrees. She practiced as both a Physical Therapist and Educator, and became the Orthopedic Class Teacher for Frontenac County in 1975, and the Consultant Physical Therapist in 1977 for the Metropolitan Toronto School Board. In 1982 she and her husband, Michael, moved to Los Angeles. She received her M.A. in Special Education from UCLA in 1986. Dorry worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, and had her own private Pediatric Physical Therapy practice.
In 2006 she and Michael moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where she became involved with the Greensboro Symphony Guild, serving on the Guild executive board for 10 years. During that time, she was involved with major fundraising for the Greensboro Symphony, and youth outreach programs; including the Greensboro Youth Orchestra, and concerts for 12,000 public school students annually. She also served two terms on the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra Board.
She returned to California with Michael in 2018 and lives in Santa Monica.
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