For our 2018-2019 season, KCCO is welcoming a new board member! Sheila Evans will act as co-president with Don Goldenbaum until Don departs for the north in January, after which Sheila will act as president.
Sheila Evans has a 360 degree view of the arts, having been a performer, board member, chairperson, funder, and Executive Director.
Sheila was most recently Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In that role, she quadrupled the number of performances in Miller Symphony Hall—including Symphony, Jazz, Dance, Children’s Theater, and popular performances; led a $6m fund raising drive in order to eliminate debt for the Hall and fund new improvements for the 120-year-old historic hall; founded the El Sistema Lehigh Valley program with other community leaders to create musical and life opportunities for at-risk students in the Allentown Public Schools; and was recognized by the Allentown Human Relations Council with a Diversity and Inclusion Award—recognizing Diversity of performers; staff, and programming.
Sheila was recognized in 2016 as a “Woman of Influence” in the Lehigh Valley. She received a “Gateway to Equity Award” from the Allentown American Association of University Women in 2013. She served as a member of the Allentown Arts Commission from 2011-2017 and as a member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts grant making body for multiple years. Sheila is also a member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Associates and the Allentown Rotary.
Jazz has been a part of Sheila’s life since she moved to Detroit in 1973 as a violin student of Mischa Mischakoff – concertmaster to Toscanini and of the Philadelphia and Detroit Symphonies. While a student in Detroit, Sheila discovered her love of jazz at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. George Benson was the first performer that she heard there – and she was hooked.
After several years as a violinist with the Omaha Symphony, Sheila decided to pursue an MBA in Marketing and Finance at Arizona State University – following which she returned to Detroit to launch a 20+ year career in telecommunications in Detroit, New Jersey, and finally in Kansas City. While in Kansas City she was a board member and then Chairperson of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She returned to the musical life in 2009 as the Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association.
Sheila has three children – Ruth, an Editor at Getty Publications in Los Angeles, Nathan, a jazz trombonist and composer in Buenos Aires, and Matt, white water guide and restaurateur in Gunnison, Colorado. She has been married for three years to Robert Cort, who makes her life possible.
This summer Sheila returned to Kansas City, where she will continue her tradition of community involvement and support for the arts as co-president and then president of the board of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. She and her husband Bob are looking forward to re-engaging with Kansas City music (and sports) as both participants and audience members.