Savannah VOICE Festival Announces Board of Directors

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

The Savannah VOICE Festival has announced the Board of Directors who will lead this local nonprofit organization into the 2018-19 season. As the sixth annual SVF approaches, the non-profit organization is poised for growth with plans for stunning concerts, exciting events, and community initiatives. Newly appointed co-chair Toby Hollenberg joins Barry Cohen in welcoming new board members Carolyn Donovan and Arlene Ratner to the Savannah VOICE Festival Board of Directors. They join current members Dr. Bernard Dobroski, Helen Downing, T. Mills Fleming, Dr. Wes Krulic, and Dr. Michael Zoller in leading the organization into its next strategic plans.

Toby Hollenberg, Co-chair, is originally from New York but retired to Savannah in 1998 to her home on Skidaway Island. She has obtained extensive experience over the last 50 years both in Savannah and NYC through volunteering and has served on a number of boards including: Memorial Health Foundation; Savannah Jewish Federation, Congregation Mickve Israel and Jewish Women of The Landings. Hollenberg has no formal connection with music but is a music lover who was delighted to find out about the range and quality of music offered in Savannah when she came here twenty years ago. She discovered the SVF after she was invited to an event and was intrigued to meet opera legend Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves, who both sang in temple during the beginnings of their career. She is a committed supporter of all the SVF events and especially of the way this non-profit organization nurtures and supports young singers as they enter the training programs. Hollenberg says, “Watching them perform as studio and Festival artists and seeing some of the SVF singers go on to succeed is wonderful. Carlton Moe is now starring on Broadway and Meechot Marrero in the Berlin Opera. The SVF is like a family and everybody involved feels connected and involved. I encourage everybody to experience the Festival this August.” For a small city, Savannah has so many different types of music but for Hollenberg the voices of this caliber performing opera, musical theater and song, is truly exceptional and she is delighted to take on the role of co-chair of SVF.

Barry Cohen, Co-chair, President of Cohen Partners LLC, has been an independent insurance broker and agent for over 35 years, working with an array of clients. He enjoys sports (including golf and ice hockey), traveling, and is a lover of music. Cohen and his wife Naomi, who split their time between Savannah and New York, are pleased to be a part of Friends Without a Border, March of Dimes, and The American Friends of Rabin Medical Center. He looks forward to collaborating with Toby Hollenberg to lead the board of the Savannah VOICE Festival during this exciting stage of its history as part of the VOICE Milnes Programs.  The new line-up of committed SVF Board members includes:

Dr. Bernard Dobroski, former Dean of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music is a tubist, keyboard performer, and music educator who teaches courses in the Bienen School of Music and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He is also an author, conductor, impresario, speaker, and is involved in fundraising and marketing in higher education arts programs.

Carolyn Donovan is an avid supporter of our community, having previously volunteered her time for the Junior League of Savannah, Ballet South, Telfair Museum Ball, Memorial Medical Center Bioethics Committee, United Way, Colonial Dames, and is currently volunteering with the Savannah Duplicate Bridge Center. She has been on the board of several organizations, such as the Telfair Museum, Savannah Olympic Support Council, Savannah Country Day School, Royce Learning Center and is still involved with the Wesley Monumental United Methodist and Trustees Garden Club.

Helen Downing, Alabama native, moved to Savannah with her husband, Ned, in the early 1970’s. She has taken an active part in the spiritual, physical, and cultural aspect and development of the city. She and her daughter, Callie, continue to support these important endeavors. Downing continues to support the culture of Savannah as a board member of the Savannah VOICE Festival.

Mills Fleming, chair of Hunter Maclean’s health care practice group, is a past president of the Georgia Academy of Healthcare Attorneys and a member of the American Health Lawyers Association as well as the Health Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Mills is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a frequent lecturer and presenter on immigration topics, in addition to advising employers about best practices in employment-related topics.

Dr. Wes Krulic, a retired pharmacist, had a 50-year career in community pharmacy and hospital clinical pharmacy work. He received a Bachelor’s of Pharmacy degree and a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Georgia, College of Pharmacy, where he served as both adjunct and full-time faculty for 25 years. As an avid supporter of the arts, Krulic looks forward to serving on the board of the Savannah VOICE Festival this year.

Arlene Ratner, former boutique owner for over 30 years, has always enjoyed volunteering and supporting the community. She became the president of the Jewish Educational Alliance during a major reorganization. Now with time on her hands, she looks forward to assisting the Savannah Voice Festival in its expansion endeavors. 

Dr. Michael Zoller received his Medical degree from Tulane Medical School. He was the founder, president, and senior partner of Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Savannah. Dr. Zoller is the chairman of Otology, Center of Otolaryngology at St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital. He has previously been campaign and board chairman of United Way and board member of the Medical Association of Georgia, Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, and Savannah County Day School. He currently serves on the St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.

Directors Maria Zouves and Sherrill Milnes founded the program and continue to lead it to its next steps with this passionate and capable board. The Festival also has support through its Committee, which includes the board, as well as: Kathie Anderson, Charlie Brazil, Daniel C. Cohen, Jan Durham, Lesley Francis, Timothy L. Hall, Suzan Kiepper Krannich, Judy Krulic, Joe Marinelli, Mark Spadoni, Dr. Roland Summers and Linda Zoller

“We are grateful for the talent, time, and experience our board of directors bring to the Savannah VOICE Festival,” said SVF Executive Director and Co-founder Maria Zouves. “As the Savannah VOICE Festival continues to grow, we are lucky to have the support and dedication of our board members to engage with the artistic community and help us build the vocal arts and musical legacy of Savannah.”

The SVF is a nonprofit arts organization which brings classical vocal excellence to our city through a celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations offering music from opera, musical theatre and popular song. The Savannah VOICE Festival serves the community by providing the highest level of education and quality performances by talented artists for all to enjoy. The Festival is a celebration of the classical voice with over 25 performances, including operas, concerts, food and wine events, and masterclasses which takes place in Savannah during the month of August and throughout the year.

The organization has a partnership with its sister program, The VOICExperience Foundation, which trains the artists for the Savannah VOICE Festival. Milnes and Zouves also lead initiative along with fellow Board Members: Kathie Anderson, Mary Burkhart Lysaught, Bernard J. Dobroski, Middy Larson, Kathleen Monahan, Faanya L. Rose and Barry Tucker