SAVANNAH, GA – August 21, 2018 – The Savannah Philharmonic, gearing up for a commemorative Tenth Anniversary Season, has announced new members to its 2018-19 Board of Directors. The new members will support Savannah Philharmonic Executive Director, Terri O’Neil, and Artistic Director and Conductor, Peter Shannon, in steering the organization into this highly-anticipated celebratory season.
The Savannah Philharmonic is one of the most dynamic and engaging orchestral and choral groups in the U.S., and over the last ten years has become an essential musical, educational, cultural and economic asset to the community. The new board members will strive to uphold their vision while supporting the nonprofit organization’s mission to inform, instruct and enrich the community through orchestral and choral performances, and to promote and increase community knowledge and appreciation of the arts.
Samir Nikocevic will take on the role of chairman for the 2018-19 season and is supported by Rhegan White-Clemm, who will serve as vice chair. The remaining officers/executive committee is comprised of returning board members: Austin Hill (immediate past chairman), Phyllis Albertson (secretary), Scott Lauretti (treasurer), Herb McKenzie and Nina Eidell.
Staci Donegan, Rachel Fields, James Hochman, Guy Petruzzelli, Renee Portell, Rosaleen Roxburgh and Mel Whitehead join the following existing members to complete the Tenth Anniversary Season board of directors: Savannah Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell, Carolyn Brown, Yvonne Johnson, Linda McWhorter, Kelley Parker, Molly Swagler, Robert Vinyard, and Susan Whitaker.
Along with this exciting announcement of board members, the Savannah Philharmonic has confirmed board members Kelley Parker and Rhegan White-Clemm will serve as co-chairs, along with honorary chairs, Bob & Alice Jepson, of the highly anticipated Tenth Anniversary Season Gala, “An Enchanted Evening,” taking place at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.
“Our Tenth Anniversary Season is shaping up to be nothing short of stellar and I’m confident that the 2018-19 Board of Directors will be a significant part of the success,” said O’Neil. “We are excited to be able to share our tenth season as Savannah’s Philharmonic.”
Croatia-born Chairman, Samir Nikocevic, previously served as vice chairman of the Savannah Philharmonic board of directors. He received his music degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy from the Music Academy at the University of Zagreb. There he studied with Hari Gusek and participated at several piano competitions, including the National Piano Competition for Young Musicians, where he was awarded third place in his category. Nikocevic has participated in many piano masterclasses, most notably with Professor Rudolf Kehrer, Sijavus Gadjiev, Vladimir Krpan and Arbo Valdma. Granted an opportunity to study with acclaimed pianist Peter Frankl, Nikocevic moved to the U.S. in 2000. Over the years, he has dedicated time to both performance and instruction. Currently a resident of Savannah, he is committed to volunteering time to nonprofit cultural organizations in the community.
Rhegan White-Clemm was born in Vancouver, Canada, where she earned a Liberal Arts degree and worked as a successful business owner in the hospitality industry. She moved to the United Kingdom in 1992 and developed a thriving equestrian training center, also competing at the international level for Canada for several years. Savannah has been White-Clemm’s home since 2010 when she moved here with her husband and daughter. Starting then as the North American Sales and UK Director for an exclusive German equine auction house, she traveled regularly to Europe but still found time to sing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus. A member of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra Board since 2012, White-Clemm has worked as chair of special events and chair of development in her six-year board tenure, helping to raise considerable funds for the organization. In her new role as the vice chair, she plans to focus much of her time and considerable professional experience to assisting in the stewardship of the organization.
Staci Donegan’s dedication has earned her a reputation as one of the top-producing real estate professionals in the Savannah market and the No. 1 sales professional in Savannah’s Historic Landmark District. While she currently works as an associate broker with Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty, Donegan previously served as a financial and business consultant, controller for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and chief of staff in the office of the SCAD president. Prior to SCAD, she worked for The Coca-Cola Company in accounting, finance and in sales and account management. She was also a certified public accountant in the audit department at PriceWaterhouse Coopers. She attended Clemson University and the University of Delaware and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Active in the community, Donegan serves on several boards in addition to the Savannah Philharmonic’s, including the Savannah Multi-List Corporation Board of Directors and the Downtown Garden Club of Savannah. She previously held positions on the Downtown Neighborhood Association Board and the board of the Downtown Business Association as well as the Savannah Film Commission.
HunterMaclean partner, Rachel Fields, is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is admitted to practice in all courts of Georgia; the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Middle, and Northern Districts of Georgia, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Savannah Bar Association in addition to the Fiduciary Law, General Practice & Trial Law, and Appellate Practice Sections of the State Bar of Georgia. She is also a member of the Savannah Estate Planning Council and is an adjunct professor at the Savannah Law School. Fields is actively involved with her community and nonprofit organizations as a member of the board of directors of the Savannah Book Festival and current member of the board of directors and immediate past president of the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity. Fields earned her J.D. with magna cum laude honors from the University of Georgia School of Law and a bachelor’s in political science and theater from Winthrop University. She has been recognized by the Fulton County Daily Report as a “40 under 40” on the Rise Attorney and as one of the GenerationNEXT: Savannah’s Rising Stars of Business. She has also been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2010, 2016, and 2017.
James Hochman and his wife lived in London for 23 years where he managed discretionary global macro portfolios for Caxton Associates, Moore Capital Management, and Graham Capital Management. At Graham Capital, Hochman was the CEO of their U.K. operation and member of the firm’s Investment and Risk Committees, where he was also responsible for manager selection. He attended Columbia University where he received his BA in Politics and a Masters from the School of International and Public Affairs. Hochman and his wife enjoy living in Savannah and are huge fans of theatre, live music and opera.
Dr. Guy Petruzelli earned his Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biological sciences from St. Louise University in 1981. For the next six years, he attended Rush Medical College in Chicago, earning both an MD and PhD. Following those achievements, Petruzelli received an MBA in health care from Benedictine University in 2001. He currently serves as a professor of surgery at Mercer University School of Medicine as well as Physician-in-Chief and Vice President for Oncology programs with Memorial Health.
Renee Portell is a native of Saratoga, Wyoming, and has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wyoming – Laramie. In May 2007, she moved to the Savannah area and in the fall of the same year she began singing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus (then The Savannah Choral Society) and has been a dedicated volunteer ever since. Portell has spent most of the past 11 years serving as an officer on the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus board and participates in the Philharmonic’s Integrative Medicine Program as part of a group of singers that performs at the Dwayne & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah. Portell and her husband live on Tybee Island and, in addition to her involvement with the Philharmonic, she is very involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution at the local, state and national level and is an active member of her local church. She also continues to work part-time at Portell Financial Services, Inc.
Born and raised in Ireland, Rosaleen Roxburgh lived in New York, Boston, Atlanta, and London before making Savannah her home for the past thirteen years. Roxburgh earned her BA degree from Queen Mary College, University of London. Employed by Delta Airlines for 30 years, she held a variety of posts at Delta, but always related to ‘In Flight Service.’ She has served on the board of the Live Oak Public Library for six years and chaired the gala, the organization’s largest fundraiser, three times. Roxburgh, who is now retired and living on Skidaway Island, previously served on the Trustees Board of the Telfair Museum where she created the committee for their prestigious ball and co-chaired the silent auction.
A native of California, Mel Whitehead earned his bachelor’s of music in vocal performance from California State Fullerton and studied under the legendary bass, Jerome Hines. Whitehead sang professionally throughout the US and Europe for 15 years, polishing his bass repertoire with companies such as the LA Opera, Phoenix Opera and Madrid Opera. In 1995, he settled in Georgia with his wife and began teaching high school chorus. In 2006, he earned a masters of education in curriculum and instruction through the arts from Lesley University, and in 2017, his EdS in educational leadership from Georgia College. After 20 years of high school choral directing, Whitehead is currently the performing arts supervisor for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.
Tickets for the Savannah Philharmonic’s Tenth Anniversary Season concerts are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting savannahboxoffice.com or calling 912-525-5050, option 1. For more information about the Savannah Philharmonic or the 2018-19 season, please visit savannahphilharmonic.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at email@example.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).