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Staff

Angela M. Wellman, M.M. Founding Director
 
Sandra I Noriega, Ph.D.
Director of Orchestras, Prep Program Coordinator
 
Brenda Usher-Carpino, Ph.D. Interim Managing Director

Ali'a Brooke
Community Programs Dir.,
Development Associate

Holly Burnett
Summer Academy Director

Carmen Roman
Administrative Assistant

Lionel Burgess

Program Assistant,
Facilities & Operations

Adam Lankford
Facilities Maintenance

Gregory Pierre Jones
Parent Volunteer, Facilities

Emma Navarro Milla, BA
Parent Volunteer,
Admin. Assistant

 


Biographies  

Staff
 

Angela Wellman, M.M.
Founding Director, Dean
Trombone

Trombonist Angela Wellmanhailing proudly from Kansas City, Missouri, has performed with the McCoy Tyner Big BandJoe WilliamsAl GreySlide Hampton and other noted musicians.

From 1991-94, Angela was a California Arts Council Artist in Residence, during which time she designed and implemented a Jazz Studies Curriculum for Cole Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School in Oakland, CA.   In 1997, she was awarded a Master’s degree in Music Education from theEastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  She subsequently returned to the Bay Area, and served as the Education Director for the Oakland Youth Chorus where she developed award-winning community music education programs.

Ms. Wellman is a recipient of national, state, and city Arts awards and fellowships for performance study and music education. Among these awards is the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship to study with trombonist Steve Turre.   

Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Wellman was nurtured in a musical family, and is a third generation jazz musician and music educator.  She grew up listening to the stride piano style of her grandfather, her father's swinging ballad & blues piano, and the soul-stirring songstylings of her mother, Jyene Baker. Angela inherits her passion and understanding for the preservation of musical traditions through education from her uncle and mentor, Eddie B. Baker, Sr., founder of the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation & Academy for Performing Arts and the International Jazz Hall of Fame.  Angela's initiation into the world of Jazz as a player began while hanging out at sessions at the famed chitlin' circuit Local 626, the once–Black musicians' union in Kansas City, and now sanctuary for the spirits of jazz pioneers such as Ernie Williams (The Last of the Blue Devils), Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and countless others who got their start in that very place. 

In 2005 she founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music to provide high quality, affordable music education for Oakland citizens. Angela divides her time between Oakland and Madison, WI where she is pursuing doctoral studies in Education/Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin. She also performs and teaches throughout the United States.  Her band, New Roots, performs spirited, contemporary music, creating new forms, styles, and roots in the Jazz tradition


Sandra I Noriega, Ph.D. Artistic Director of Orchestras, Conductor, Prep Program Coordinator
In 1980, Sandra I Noriega (aka Sandy Mabee) received a full scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Completing her studies in 1983, she became the SF Conservatory’s first woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance.  In 1985, she became California State University East Bay's first woman to earn a master’s degree in Percussion Performance.

Sandra held the tenured position of Principal Timpanist with the legendary Women’s Philharmonic under Maestros JoAnn Falletta and Apo Hsu from 1980 to 2004.  The WP premiered many works by women composers and recorded four CDs of works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Florence Price, Lili Boulanger, Germaine Tailleferre, Elinor Armor, and others on the Koch International label. 

In 2005, she founded and directs The Bay Area Women’s Percussion Troupe, a professional group dedicated to highlighting and promoting the presence of women in the field of Percussion Performance.

In 2008, Ms. Noriega completed an intensive Post-Master’s Program earning a Professional Performer’s Certificate in Instrumental Conducting at California State University, Sacramento.  She has been accepted into various Conductor’s Seminars and Workshops and has been honored on numerous “Who’s Who” in Music lists.

Also, in 2008, Sandra founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music’s Symphony Orchestra, an all-volunteer orchestra, now in it’s 4th season.  Her mission for this orchestra is to publicly perform works by ethnically under-represented composers, women composers, living composers, in addition to standard repertoire; and to provide an opportunity for performing musicians to engage in, experience, and develop an appreciation for the need and significance of performing these works. 

In September 2010, Sandra was appointed as the Assistant Conductor of Community Women’s Orchestra, one of only three Women’s Orchestras in the US.  Additionally, in 2010, Sandra became a charter member of Classical Musicians with Disabilities, and has been invited to conduct several works at the inaugural concerts of The D Major International Music Festival, to be held 11/25-26/2011, in Kiev, Ukraine.  She has also been invited as a Guest Conductor of the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra for their Oct. 23rd concert.

Sandra has served as Professor of Music at the college level for over 10 years, and at the high school and elementary levels since 1975.  From 2008 – 2010, Sandra worked for Education Through Music Bay Area, as a Field Supervisor overseeing Music Educators throughout the Bay Area.  Sandra also directed the Bay Area Asian Children’s Percussion Ensemble, an outreach program of the Wisdom Culture and Education Organization in Fremont, CA, and continues to teach in her private Castro Valley music studio.  In addition to her music degrees, Sandra holds a BA and a PhD in Biblical Studies focusing on the Nature of Music and its ability to effect lives in a positive and tangible manner.

Brenda Usher-Carpino, Ph.D.
Interim Managing Director
Brenda’s lifelong passions have consistently been in the arts.  Her earliest childhood dreams were to be a classical pianist, a painter, a sculptor, a dancer, a novelist, and the first black diva to sing the principal role at the New York Metropolitan Opera—in that order. The reality is that life saw fit to take her down other paths first.  It was many years later that she would study classical piano at the same time as her then four-year old daughter and even later when she would begin studying classical voice. Writing, however, was the one passion she could pursue early on anytime and anywhere because it only required a notebook, a pencil, and a place to sit and write.

You Better Not Cry is the title of a novel Brenda has been working on for many years. She has written short stories, poems and plays, has acted in film and on the community stage, and has performed solo as soprano/mezzo soprano.  She has produced two successful staged readings of her play Blood Types, has sung with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, the Oakland symphony Chorus, and the OPC Symphony.  She has also been a student at OPC where she took Vocal Performance with Branice McKenzie, and a Blues class with the Founder and Director, Angela Wellman, where she got to explore the musical genre on piano.  

To the table Dr. Usher-Carpino brings administrative skills and experiences of: twenty-five years of bookkeeping for the family business, Hafer Tool & Die Company Inc.; as real estate agent with Mason McDuffie; three years of service on the Board of Trustees at Lick-Wilmerding High School; as Administrative Assistant for East Bay College Fund where she also got the opportunity to assist with grant writing, event planning and serve as Mentor; worked as bookkeeper and grant writer for two years for OPC as well as having served on its board; worked as Legal Assistant in the law firm of Jacqueline Coulter Peebles, Esq.; as Sr. Clerk in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at UC Berkeley which was actually her first real job.  She worked for two years at First Charter Properties, a property management company, and most recently as coordinator for the Center for Academic Excellence at Mills College.  She has a history serving as volunteer including as reader/interviewer for San Francisco College Fund.

Brenda’s belief in OPC’s mission has no boundaries.  In four and a half years of association she has seen its roots tap deeper into the fabric of our city, growing stronger and flourishing from an Oak[land] sapling into a sturdy tree providing a store of musical arts and other treasures for our growing community of children and adults alike, inspiring them to become all they musically aspire to become under the skillful, dedicated and inspired leadership of OPC’s outstanding roster of educators and performers. She embraces OPC with great passion and returns as Interim Managing Director, after a two-year hiatus in graduate school, because she believes in its potential and its capacity as the first Public Conservatory in the nation, to continue putting an accomplished face on our music community and playing a key role in its rising visibility.

Dr. Usher-Carpino recently received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College.  She holds a B.A. (UCB), M.A. (CSUH) and a Ph.D. (Stanford) in French. Brenda’s daughter Crystal is an honors graduate of Harvard and is currently studying law at Hastings School of Law.

 

Ali'a Brooke 
Community Programs Dir., Development Associate


Holly Burnett
Summer Academy Director
 
 

Carmen Roman
Administrative Assistant

 
Carolina Gonzalez
Teaching Assistant
 

Adam Lankford
Facilities Maintenance,
Teaching Assistant
 

Gregory Pierre Jones
Parent Volunteer, Facilities 
 

Emma Navarro Milla, BA
Parent Volunteer, Admin. Assistant
 

Oakland Public Conservatory of Music - 1616 Franklin Street - Oakland, CA 94602 - (510) 836-4649 
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