Published : Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 5:06 PM
Stephen Deschenes (Pasadena), a research and development director at Capital Group, attorney Elizabeth (Beth) Calciano Fagan (Pasadena) and independent film and television producer and author Dete Meserve (Los Angeles 90029) have been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pasadena-based Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), considered one of the world’s preeminent children’s choirs, announced Board Chair Kai Ryssdal. LACC, led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, serves 400 children ages 6 to 18 from across the Southland, providing rigorous musical training in a fun and supportive environment. The Chorus is noted for its artistic excellence, wide-ranging repertoire, exceptional professional and community collaborations and inspiring performances locally and abroad.
“Stephen Deschenes, Elizabeth Calciano Fagan and Dete Meserve are strategic thinkers and esteemed community leaders who share a deep passion for LACC,” says Ryssdal. “They bring to the organization a spirit of innovation, thoughtfulness and creative, as well as keen business acumen. We are honored to have them serve in this important leadership role.”
States Meserve, “The first time I heard the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus perform under the direction of Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, I knew I was witnessing something rare and magnificent. The performances are daring, hauntingly beautiful and filled with moments of sublime perfection. I’m thrilled to join the Board of Directors and to work with leadership to build upon the wonder and rich talent of the LACC.”
“There are three main reasons I am deeply honored to serve on the LACC Board of Directors,” explains Fagan, the mother of two LACC choristers. “First, of all of the many wonderful organizations my children have been part of, LACC has stood out as the best. The combination of excellent vocal training, musical education and learned self-discipline, combined with the pure joy that the choristers’ experience in singing and being with their fellow choristers, makes LACC one of Los Angeles’ treasures. LACC manages to create a culture of excellence so that the choristers become self- and peer-motivated to perform and behave exceptionally. Second, as a chaperone on LACC tours, I’ve seen these experiences broaden the lives of all of the children. And while approximately 25% of the children participating in tours do so on scholarship, the choristers don’t make distinctions among themselves based on that. Rather, they each earned their spot in the choir through hard work, so they respect and learn from each other. Every child will leave the choir knowing what it is like to be part of a team that makes something beautiful and worthwhile, and that experience will give them strength to face other challenges as they move into adulthood. Finally, the sheer beauty of the singing draws me.”
Says Deschenes, also an LACC parent, “I’m quite excited to join the board of LACC. Our youngest son has been involved with the Chorus for five years. I appreciate not only LACC’s artistic success in creating beautiful musical moments but also its positive impact on the young choristers when they have the opportunity to work with renowned musical organizations such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, gaining a more mature understanding of their responsibilities and musical potential through these productions. I have also been fortunate to join LACC tours in both Iceland and Prague and marvel at the beauty of the Chorus’ performances in multiple languages and the unique opportunities the children have to make personal connections with local choristers while touring. Simply put, LACC changes lives and helps to form musical memories that everyone involved with the Chorus treasures.”
Deschenes has been with Capital Group for over seven years and has nearly three decades of investment industry experience. Prior to joining Capital, he was the general manager for the retirement income solutions division at Sun Life Financial. Before that, he was chief marketing officer for retirement income at MassMutual Financial Group, and product development and marketing lead for defined contribution at Fidelity Investments. Additionally, Steve is a founder of the online financial advice site mPower (now part of Morningstar), which pioneered investment advice in 401(k) plan administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social relations from Harvard University graduating magna cum laude. He and his wife, Sarah, are parents to three sons.
Fagan, an attorney at Hensley Law Group, a public agency law firm that she helped found in 2014, currently serves as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Chino Hills and Deputy City Attorney for the Cities of El Segundo and Monterey Park. In addition to serving municipal clients, she has also provided special counsel services for various public entities such as Glendale Community College. Fagan has served on numerous boards and task forces, including as president of the Barristers of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, a lengthy tenure on its Executive Committee and a member of the bar’s Juvenile Courts Task Force. She has also been active in leadership of South Pasadena’s Holy Family Church parish committees. She and husband, Tom, have two children in LACC ensembles.
Meserve is an accomplished creator and producer of films and award-winning television shows as well as a best-selling and award-winning novelist. As partner and CEO of Wind Dancer Films, she currently oversees worldwide business and creative properties for the film development, finance and production company that has generated over $4 billion in revenue from its properties, which include hit television series Roseanne and Home Improvement and feature films including What Women Want (Mel Gibson), Where The Heart Is (Natalie Portman), Bernie (Jack Black), What Men Want (Taraji P. Henson) and Good Sam (Netflix). Prior to joining Wind Dancer Films, Meserve was vice president of USC Radio, the University of Southern California’s classical music radio network. She began her career as station manager of the National Public Radio affiliate and classical music radio station in Evansville, Indiana and assistant general manager of the PBS affiliate. Meserve currently serves on the Board of Directors of PRX, producers and distributors of premier broadcast and podcast content. She and her husband, Paul, have three children.
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, widely recognized for its agile bel canto sound and exceptional artistry, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine) and “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News). Founded in 1986, LACC presents its own concerts and regularly performs with such organizations as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale. The Chorus has seven choirs – Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Chorale (an SATB ensemble), Young Men’s Ensemble, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Choir – and a First Experiences in Singing program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds. LACC, recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, tours nationally and internationally. The subject of five documentary films, including the Oscar-winning Sing!, LACC has appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, Public Radio International’s “From the Top” and is featured on John Williams’ latest recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection.
For information on LACC, visit www.lachildrenschorus.org or call (626) 793-4231.