Artistic Team, Staff, Board, & Founders

Giving Voice Artistic Team

Jeanie Brindley-Barnett

Founding Artistic Director

Jeanie is the Artistic Director of Giving Voice Chorus and a leading teaching artist in the field of arts and aging. She is co-founder and senior teaching artist of MacPhail Music for Life™, a pioneering music program for adults 55+. As a presenter, teaching artist, mentor, consultant, and curriculum design specialist, Jeanie has worked with the National Center for Creative Aging, Chorus America, American Choral Directors Association, National Guild for Community Arts Organizations, and the Minnesota State Arts Board-funded Arts and Aging Professional Development Initiative. Jeanie leads our MacPhail Choruses in Minneapolis and online via zoom.

Joey Clark

Joey Clark

Director, St. Paul Chorus

In addition to his role as Choral Director for our Minnesota JCC chorus at the Capp Center St. Paul, Joey is a musical theater and cabaret performer, director and teaching artist. Joey’s cabaret work began at NYC’s Duplex Cabaret Bar, and has since gone on to direct, musical direct, accompany, and perform in 60+ cabarets. He is a member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN). Joey was the Department Chair for Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists’ (SPCPA) musical theater program. He teaches a variety of classes and leads choruses at senior residences with MacPhail’s Music For Life Program and creates inter-generational theater experiences.

Debbie Richman

Artistic Director, Giving Voice Crosstown

In addition to leading GIving Voice Crosstown, Debbie is currently the Director of Education and Client Development for HealthCare Interactive, Inc. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Therapy and Speech Communication with a minor in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Most of her professional career has involved working with professional caregivers, persons with dementia, and their care partners. The merging of music and this background was a very organic and natural progression. I am excited to be part of Giving Voice Crosstown and the future that it might have. Debbie lives in Plymouth MN, and has two cats, Stanley and Magic.

Lou Ann Henderson

Lou Ann Henderson

Accompanist, MacPhail Faculty

Lou Ann is passionate about bringing the joy of music to people of all ages. After teaching elementary school music for 33 years, she now is finding joy in working with seniors. Lou Ann is a singer, pianist, and trumpet player and currently sings with Shoop Jazz and the Stillwater Carolers. She is a former singer with The Minnesota Chorale, The Phil Mattson Singers, and The Zephyr Cabaret. Lou Ann received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Moorhead State University and a Master of Arts in Music Education degree from the University of St. Thomas. She also currently serves as the choir director and organist at The Grove United Methodist Church in Woodbury, MN.

Quinn Shadko

Director, Virtual Chorus

Giving Voice Staff

Eyleen Braaten

Executive Director

Eyleen joined Giving Voice in 2017 and has been instrumental in the growth of the organization. Since becoming Executive Director in 2021, Eyleen’s focus has been on creating unique and innovative opportunities to expand the Giving Voice mission across the world while keeping our local choruses strong. Eyleen believes that music is an expression of our humanity and connects us all. Eyleen’s vision is for all communities across the globe to have access to a Giving Voice Chorus. She has demonstrated expertise in strategy, networking, and collaboration. Before becoming Executive Director, she headed marketing and communications, launched programming for our local choruses, and created a global Learning Community of more than 40 Alzheimer’s choruses. Eyleen has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute and a previous career in mediation. Eyleen’s favorite thing about Giving Voice is that “we are a family.”

Lisa Anderson

Development Coordinator

Lisa recently relocated to MN from Denver. She has a passion for working with older adults and has been working with Non-profits for the past 16 years. She has worn many hats over the years and is excited to be part of the Giving Voice team. Lisa is enjoying exploring Minneapolis and looks forward to meeting the singers and everyone who helps make Giving Voice Chorus so special. She believes that music is a way that we can all come together and find joy in our lives. Lisa's favorite thing about Giving Voice is that it's all about the joy of music.

Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti

Artistic Director, Centro Partnership

In addition to directing our Centro Tyrone Guzman partnership chorus, Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti is an active Twin Cities based musician. He was born in South America in the city of Arica-Chile. He is a music performer, folk dancer, and community activist living in the Twins Cities since 2005. Vladimir produces, engineers, and directs musical projects and studio recordings as well as live sound events and multicultural festivals. He was born in Arica-Chile and came to live to the United States when he was 18 years old. Folk music from the Andes Mountains and “La Nueva Canción Latinoamericana” influenced Vladimir’s first musical creations back in his home land and still shape the music he creates now days. Vladimir currently directs the Latina band Alma Andina and the mother and son singing duet Ina-Yukka.

Photo of Viva Carr

Viva Carr

Director of Choral Operations

Viva's journey with Giving Voice began in 2017 when she joined the chorus as a volunteer upon moving to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles. Before the move, Viva was a musical theatre and cabaret performer for over a decade and then transitioned to a career in television casting. In 2020, Viva's role in Giving Voice transitioned to caregiver as she sat proudly by her mother, Mary's side, singing with her until Mary's passing in 2022. Viva has experienced this program from many different sides and believes wholeheartedly in its ability to provide a sense of joy, empowerment, and purpose to those living with a dementia diagnosis of any kind. Viva is honored to be now working as a staff member to help facilitate growth and awareness of this incredible organization and its mission.

Jaqueline Hanson

Director of Programs and Outreach

Jackie comes to Giving Voice with a background in music therapy, education, and non-profit program management. As part of her music therapy master’s program Jackie had the invaluable opportunity to lead a choir for people Parkinson’s disease, which led her to work in the non-profit sector, where she developed educational content and programming to help people with Parkinson’s live their best lives today. Jackie is excited to use her combination of skills at the Giving Voice Initiative to help as many people with dementia as possible to realize their true value, purpose, and well-being, all through the power of music.

Board of Directors

Jim Jensen

Jim Jensen

Jim has been involved with Giving Voice for over four years serving in both board of director and staff roles. He has over thirty years of collaborative leadership and executive experience in busines and non-profit sectors spanning small-start-up organizations and multinational corporations including twenty years in the healthcare product sector. As a life-long choral singer, Jim’s favorite thing about Giving Voice is the connection it provides through singing together.

Keath Young


Keath has been involved with Giving Voice for about 6 years. Most of his time on the Board has been spent assisting with Accounting, Finance and serving as Treasurer. His desire to serve GVI evolved after the passing of his mother who suffered with Dementia during the past two years of her life. Keath is proud to have been a small part of the immense growth, success, and overall stability achieved by the highly dedicated GVI staff and its numerous volunteers and singers. While his daytime role as a CFO/COO keeps him quite busy; serving a few hours per month provides significant personal satisfaction. Keath does enjoy music, and has attended many concerts. His favorite genre, as a product of the 80's, is Classic Rock and 80's Rock. He resides in Plymouth with his wife of 30+ years and they have recently become grandparents.

Frank Bennett


Founder of Living Well/ Dying Well Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing. Living Well, Dying Well’s goal, and Frank’s research and teaching center on improving end-of-life (EOL) care planning communication outcomes for individuals, their families and nurse clinicians, especially in long-term care settings. As an educator, nursing researcher Frank is committed to providing person-centered care for seriously ill individuals. Frank is also an ordained United Church of Christ minister focusing on community pastoral care and a chaplain. Since 2009, Frank has been designing and implementing EOL care planning communication interventions and education, working to educate healthcare professionals, patients and their families with the skills and knowledge to initiate and sustain patient-empowered communication for end-of-life care planning.

Photo of Margie Dines

Margie Dines

Margie joined the GVI board in September of 2022 after being a volunteer member of the MacPhail Center for Music Giving Voice Chorus in Minneapolis since 2015. She first discovered her passion for sharing the joy and healing power of music as a member of LeagueAires , a Twin Cities therapeutic music performance group, which she has been a part of for 24 years and held many leadership positions including Chair of the board. During her time singing with Giving Voice, Margie has witnessed the transformative power of singing together in a community, mastering music pieces and performing a program for those with dementia and their care partners. Margie would like to see many more people living with dementia and their loved ones be able to participate in the joyful and supportive experience of a Giving Voice chorus.

Darrell Foss

A self-described recovering CPA, Darrell helps to make sure the I's are dotted and the t’s are crossed. As a member of the chorus, living with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Darrell provides a lived perspective to singing with Giving Voice that’s invaluable.

Richard Golden

Dick is a retired neurologist who immediately connected with Giving Voice as a path to wellness and as a nonpharmalogical intervention. Dick has shared that he wishes there were more options like Giving Voice to help people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In the meantime, he looks forward to seeing more choruses in more communities.

Photo of Patricia Izbicki, PhD Neuroscientist

Patricia Izbicki

Dr. Patricia Izbicki is a neuroscientist and medical science liaison for Octave in the therapeutic area of multiple sclerosis (MS). She identifies, develops, and maintains professional relationships with national and international thought leaders, academic centers, and researchers in multiple sclerosis to ensure access to current medical and scientific information on biomarkers, imaging, and digital therapeutics in MS. Dr. Izbicki is also a classical pianist & harpsichordist. Her research focuses on understanding the brain mechanisms of complementary therapies, such as music training, in aging adults and persons with neurodegenerative disease. Her doctoral work focused on comparing the inhibitory brain activity and circuitry of aging musicians and non-musicians. Dr. Izbicki hopes her work will ultimately guide in designing accessible and evidence-based music interventions for individuals with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Helen Jackson Lockett-El

Helen Jackson Lockett-Elis a Community Engagement Planner and served as a grant manager in the Center for Health Equity (CHE) at the Minnesota Department of Health. She guided and coordinated an infant and maternal health project for U.S.-born African Americans through a health equity lens and guided healthy child development projects. She has served as a chaplain in trauma centers with a focus on Grief and Loss facilitation.Helen received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. She is compassionate, creative, energetic, curious, and professional. She served as hospital chaplain at HCMC and Regions Hospital and is also a Certified Perinatal Educator (COPE). She is an active member of Grace Temple Deliverance faith community.

photo of Giving Voice Board Member Emily Pearl

Emily Pearl

Emily's role as a Giving Voice Initiative board member is inspired by her personal and professional background. Her deep connection to Giving Voice stems from many seasons spent singing alongside her mother, giving her a genuine understanding of its mission. As a self-proclaimed Tech Nerd, Emily is a Senior Product Development Manager at Target. Emily's expertise in creative problem-solving and technical solutions is valuable for building tools and technology for Target Creative. This blend of Giving Voice experience and marketing technology knowledge uniquely positions Emily to contribute to the organization's growth and help spread its mission joyfully.

Carole Lee Randall

Carole Lee became a fierce advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness after her beloved father passed away. When Carole Lee was introduced to Giving Voice, she loved the choruses so much that she was instrumental in founding Sing for Life Chorus in North Scottsdale and Giving Voice Crosstown in Edina

Shahzore Shah

As a professional singer and music educator, Shahzore is passionate about the potential of music for healing and the power of music to promote wellness and create community. Formerly a performing member of Cantus, the Twin Cities-based vocal ensemble, Cantus, Shahzore toured nationally and internationally for ten years, sharing his love for singing through performances and educational programs and helping steward the work of the organization as a singer board representative. Shahzore currently performs with Border CrosSing, sings on staff at Unity Church Unitarian and lives in St. Paul with his husband and two adopted children. Shahzore’s favorite song is La Vie En Rose

John Shaw

Hilary Smedsrud

Hilary Smedsrud is a retired mother of four who divides her time between Scottsdale, AZ, and Minneapolis, MN. During her early career days, she worked as a public relations executive at Weber Shandwick Minneapolis. Nine years ago last December, she had the tremendous privilege of attending the very first concert that Giving Voice gave at Antonello Hall, when she was a new board member at the MacPhail Center for Music. From that moment on, she was captivated. Hilary got involved with Giving Voice the following summer at the MacPhail Minneapolis location, volunteering as a singer and hospitality assistant. Hilary is completing her third term as a board member at MacPhail, currently serving as chair of the HR Committee. She also served as chair of the Former Board Member Task Force, on the Development Committee, and the DEI Task Force. Recognizing the need for a Giving Voice chorus model in Arizona, about six years ago Hilary and Carole Lee Randall founded a chorus for persons with dementia and their care partners called Sing for Life, working with Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in North Scottsdale. Hilary continues to sing with the chorus every Thursday, also providing snacks and treats. Hilary and husband, Jeff, are the proud ‘parents’ of a spunky Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sally Smedsrud. She golfs poorly about twice a week and is very involved in planning the June wedding of their youngest daughter, Anna. Hilary is so grateful to be part of the Giving Voice community and looks forward to contributing to this important movement of spreading joy and inclusion through song.

Jean Thomson

Jean has been a member of the Giving Voice Minneapolis Chorus since 2015, when she sang with her husband for two years. Then she continued with her mom for two more years. Now she volunteers with the Chorus and is also a proud member of Giving Voice Initiative's Board -- which she describes as an honor. "Singing with Giving Voice is the single most rewarding thing I do."

Giving Voice Founders


Back in 2014 Mary Lenard and Marge Ostroushko had an idea to change the way we think about Alzheimer’s and what it means to live with dementia.

Instead of focusing on what people can’t do, instead of making assumptions about people living with dementia based on stereotypes, Mary and Marge set out to show people that there is still joy, laughter, and friendship through music.

Through Giving Voice Chorus, Mary and Marge have shown that there is still a lot that people living with dementia CAN do.

Today, at Giving Voice, we believe that singing together is life-affirming and life-changing, not just for people living with dementia, but also for their care-partners, their family members, and their communities.