Board of Directors
Chair of the Board of Directors -
Julie Negovan, Esquire
Ms. Negovan is an experienced litigator, appearing before state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. She has first-chaired multiple bench and jury trials and has participated in jury selection more than 50 times during her career. She has defended many medical institutions and their members in civil suits, including malpractice, partnership disputes and disputes concerning ERISA and compensation issues. She is a frequent author and speaker on legal issues and has published the article “Allocation of Tort Liability” in the January 2010 issue of Construction Today, and has provided seminars to insurance and medical professionals concerning e-Discovery and risk management. She was named a 2006 Lawyer on the Fast Track by American Lawyer Media and a 2005, 2006 and 2007 Pennsylvania “Rising Star” by Law & Politics.
Ms. Negovan is a member of the Board of Directors of Livengrin, a nonprofit organization based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania dedicated to the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She is chair of the Administrative Board of St. Andrews United Methodist Church, and also is a Republican Committee Woman for Warwick Township, Bucks County.
Treasurer - Kevin Norris
Kevin B. Norris is president of the Wealth Management Division of Univest, president of Girard Partners, Ltd., a Univest Wealth Management Company, and also President of Univest Investments, Inc. Univest is a long time supporter of the Choral Society.
Kevin's 38 years of successful experience in the financial services industry will bring much needed continuity to the discipline of strong financial management developed by Jason Gersh (Bass II). Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from LaSalle University. He is active in giving back to the community, currently serving as treasurer of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Finance Committee at "For Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation" in addition to his work with the Choral Society.
Board Member - Dr. Ernest Cohen
A Philadelphia native, Dr. Cohen retired as a general and thoracic surgeon as well as a professor of Medicine at Louisiana State University School of Medicine while spending over 40 years in New Orleans. His teaching experience also includes Tulane and Drexel University Medical Schools. Dr. Cohen graduated from Temple University Medical School and completed his internship and surgical residencies at Abington Memorial Hospital. While in Louisiana he spent several years on the board of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Board of Trustees for Touro Hospital. He currently resides at Pine Run Retirement Community with his wife Elinor. At Pine Run, he is a member of the Entertainment Committee. Elinor and Ernie are proud parents to Amy Lawrence Schaeffer, an internationally acclaimed professional opera singer noted for her portrayals of Mozart's leading ladies who also performed at Pine Run this past September. He and Elinor have been loyal Choral Society audience members since moving back to the area.
Board Member - Curtis Cowgill
Curtis Cowgill is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy (Class of 1967). From 1967-1979 Curtis served in the US Navy, Nuclear Submarine Force, eventually rising to become the Department Head and Chief Engineer. After leaving the Service, Curtis worked for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1979- 2002). Curtis writes that he "had significant broad based management responsibilities charged with the oversight of Commercial Nuclear Power sites involving managing teams in local and remote office locations. Several long term efforts required coordinating and managing the efforts of multiple internal and external organizations, including close coordination with government entities (local, state and federal) to restore large Nuclear Power Plants to operation. One of his responsibilities entailed chairing public meetings where he was the lead official responding to concerns raised by elected representatives and local citizens about the plant and Nuclear power in general. In all cases he was successful in ensuring that the assigned project was completed in an efficient and timely manner.
Curtis has a long resume of community service. He was President, Bucks County Symphony Board for three years, math tutor and mentor at Central Bucks West High School for 12 years, and guest lecturer at CB West. He was honored by the School District for his volunteer effort. He is Committee Chair and Member of the Executive Committee CBF YMCA Board, member of the Circle of Life Hospice Committee, Doylestown Hospital, photographer for new members at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Doylestown and Chair, Bucks County Symphony Foundation.
Board Member - Mary Jo May
Mary-jo May has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College with a double major in English and Drama. She attended graduate school in public administration at Northeastern University. She has lived with her husband and three children in Bucks County since 1980. She has more than 30 years of management experience with non-profit and community-based organizations. She is currently the Development Director for Special Equestrians in Warrington, PA and has served as both as staff and on Boards of several area nonprofits. Her professional experience includes fundraising, marketing, media relations, government and corporate relations, and strategic planning. She loves doing things with her family and is passionate about music and the arts, horseback riding, and baking.
Board Member - Ruth Sweeney
Ruth Sweeney joined BCCS as an Alto 1 in 2007, has served on the Choir Council and is presently co-chair of the Auction Committee for BCCS’s annual "Signature" fundraising event. Music has been an integral part of her life: she has sung in church choirs since childhood, was a member of high school madrigal and choir, and played the flute or piccolo in high school and college bands and orchestras.
A native of Philadelphia, Ruth earned a BS in mathematics education from Kutztown State College, where she was inducted into Kappa Mu Epsilon, a MEd in mathematics from Trenton State College, and supervisory certification from Bloomsburg University. She maintains a PA Real Estate License as a referral agent with RE/MAX Properties Limited.
Presently, Ruth is an adjunct professor at TCNJ, supervising student teachers and teaching the senior capstone course. A mathematics educator since 1971, Ruth retired from Morrisville School District in 2005. She taught all levels of mathematics and was appointed mathematics department coordinator in 1994. She was active in student life as coach, student government advisor, and class advisor to two graduating classes. Professionally, she served as secretary for the negotiation team and treasurer for the local education association. When returning from maternity leave, Ruth also taught in the Council Rock, Central Bucks and Neshaminy School Districts. She served on the Vestry at Redemption Church Southampton and co-chaired fundraising events.
Ruth and first husband of 28 years, Keith Curtier, resided in Bucks County and raised two children. Keith lost his fight with cancer in 1999. Ruth married Ed Sweeney on 9/10/11 and they now have a blended family of six grown children and five grandchildren.
Board Member - Milo Morris
Milo’s journey in the marketing world began in the late 1980s, shortly after learning how to use a Macintosh computer. Through temp agencies and freelancing, he worked as a graphics designer in numerous advertising agencies and marketing departments at such companies as Ketchum Communications, Independence Blue Cross, SmithKline, and Toltzis Communications.
By 1994, Milo had an opportunity to work as a freelance graphics designer on an engineering project at Bell Atlantic Network Integration (BANI) and was quickly recruited to work on projects for the sales and marketing departments, which led to the company creating a permanent position for him. Two years later, when BANI needed to create a web presence for itself, the executives called on Milo to be the company’s first Webmaster in addition to his duties designing and supervising other designers to create the company’s marketing materials. Over time. Milo was promoted to various positions in the company that required him to help to strategize technology and marketing projects for various business units that were part of what is now Verizon. Before leaving the company in 2003, Milo had researched and written Verizon’s online brand management methodology.
Outside the corporate world, Milo has been active in marketing for such organizations as Opera Philadelphia, Rose Valley Chorus and Orchestra, the Woodmere Art Museum, and Delaware Valley Opera, where he is the Vice President. Milo also has served on the Board of Directors of both Settlement Music School and Singing City during the past few years.
Vice Chair of the Board of Directors -
Lou White is a long time resident of Doylestown, having retired after a 33 year career in the Central Bucks School District as a teacher and administrator. After retirement he worked with a colleague at Lehigh University as a consultant to numerous regional school districts wanting to transition from a Junior High to Middle School configuration. Lou has served on Doylestown Council and as a board member and officer at A Woman’s Place, the County Theatre, and most recently at the Central Bucks YMCA where he continues as a trustee. He also serves as an elder at Doylestown Presbyterian Church. He is a swimmer, an occasional cyclist, likes gardening, travel, Mahler, Brahms, Rameau and old Volvos! He is the husband of former mayor Libby White. He remembers fondly having to learn the tenor part for the Randall Thompson "Alleluia" while still a junior in high school, and enjoying since then choral concerts conducted by Ruth Sauter, Helen Buckman and Elma Heckler, to say nothing of Maestro Tim Lloyd!
Board Secretary - Joe Wingert
Joe Wingert is Publisher of the Bucks County Herald, a weekly newspaper serving Central and Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In addition to his experience managing the day to day operations at the Herald, Joe has a background in construction management and real estate development. He has extensive experience serving communities and community organizations. These include the Peace Corps in Western Africa (Benin and Togo) and The Partnership Community Development Corporation in Philadelphia (as Director of Development). Joe previously served on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. Currently, he serves as an advisor to several Bucks County organizations including the Heritage Conservancy, Friends of the Delaware Canal, Delaware River Scenic Byway and the Bucks County Audubon Society. Joe is also on the Board of Directors of the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
Board Member - Kathy Lambert
Kathryn A. Lambert is an integral member of the Central Bucks County community. Kathy is the past board President of the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA), owners of Doylestown Hospital, while also serving as a member of the VIA’s board since 2005. During her tenure with the VIA, she co-chaired the Education Committee and Publicity Committee along with membership in many other committees.
Kathy has served on the Board of Directors of Doylestown Hospital between 2008 and 2012 while also serving on the Board of Directors of the Doylestown Health Foundation Board from 2008 to present. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board’s Education Committee, while having previously served on the Advisory Committee of Pine Run (Doylestown Hospitals Retirement Community) between 2010 and 2012 as well as on the Hospital Board’s CEO Search Committee and Strategic Planning Committee.
Her late husband, Richard Lambert, was a member of the Choral Society for 10 years and a board member for 6 of those years. Kathy and her late husband Dick had three children and six grandchildren. Kathy is a retired teacher and a graduate of Moravian College. She serves on the Choral Society’s Fundraising and Development Committee.
Board Member - Rachel Sanders
Rachel Sanders joined the Bucks County Choral Society Alto section in 2007. After singing in the Albion College Choir and the Oratorio Society of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rachel was looking for a choir with a challenging repertoire and a strong sense of community and found both in BCCS.
Since joining the choir, Rachel has been active in many capacities. She has performed in the BCCS Chamber Choir, wrangled chairs with the Production Committee, and is currently both a regular fixture at auditions as a member of the Auditions Committee and the manager of ticket sales to singers during rehearsals.
A native of the Detroit area, Rachel lives in Hilltown Township, PA with her husband John and various pets. Although she earned a PhD in chemistry, Rachel abandoned the lab for a career in clinical research and is currently a Senior Manager at DOCS Global/Icon in North Wales, PA. When not singing, Rachel enjoys cooking and reading.
Board Member - Michael P. Mueller
Michael Mueller has sung with BCCS since 1996. He manages BCCS data systems for fundraising, marketing, and administrative purposes. He serves on the marketing, fundraising, and finance committees. He grew up on a South Dakota farm and worked in Dallas, Texas for 26 years before coming to Pennsylvania. He now lives in Warrington. He earned a B.S. in geological engineering from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, a M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a M.S. in information systems from Drexel University. His diverse work roles have included farm hand, silver miner, army engineer construction officer, exploration geophysicist, computer group supervisor, scientific research advisor, marketing vice president, software engineer, data systems consultant, business manager, and adjunct professor. He teaches business and computer courses for Strayer University. He also works as a small business systems and management consultant.
Board Member - Laura Biersmith
Laura Biersmith is a development and marketing specialist with more than 30 years experience in the non-profit sector. Her background is extensive in both development and marketing activities, recognizing that both are vital for the long-term success of any organization. Her career has been in the health and human services, conservation and arts & culture fields. Her activities have included all aspects of development work, with a strong emphasis on major gifts development, membership programming, planned giving, corporate sponsorship, marketing and communications, proposal writing, grant procurement and capital campaigns.
In August 2002, Laura established Biersmith Associates, a development consulting firm focused on providing all aspects of fundraising services for nonprofit organizations. Client list included Bucks County Choral Society, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, James A. Michener Art Museum, Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), Heritage Conservancy, Friends of the Wissahickon, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, A Woman’s Place, Women’s Campaign International and Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS).
Laura left the consulting field in January 2013 to join the development team at BCHS. In her capacity as Vice President of Development, Laura oversees all fundraising projects for the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle, National Historic Landmarks operated by the Bucks County Historical Society.
Laura has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from the University of Delaware. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Laura lives in Buckingham, PA with her husband Michal and their three children - Caroline, Luke and Jack.
Board Member - Christopher Whitney
Christopher Whitney was elected President of the Choir in June of 2012 after serving two terms as vice-president and a three year term on the Board of Directors. The former Tenor II Section Coordinator (4 years) writes and edits the weekly newsletter for singers, STAY TUNED, and sits on the FR & D, Governance, Outreach and Artistic Committees of the choir. An Episcopal church organist for seventeen years in Wrightstown, PA, he also sings in all male a cappella group, CORDUS MUNDI and serves as secretary on their Board of Directors. Formerly the HIV/AIDS Director of the Bucks County Health Department, he is a consultant on adolescent and sexual health issues to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pa. Dept. of Health and The Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence of the Greater Delaware Valley.
A native of Huntingdon Valley, he was schooled at Indiana University and Notre Dame. Christopher taught high school English and European history for ten years before returning East. Whitney brings experience to the task at hand as a former member of The Board of Directors of the National Hemophilia Foundation (based in NYC).
An avid reader and cook, he is a freelance writer who lives in Solebury with his partner of nineteen years, Frank Levy, an active BCCS volunteer.