The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School welcomes the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors and three new staff members. Joining the RI Philharmonic Board are Ralph Wales, of Providence, the newly-retired head of school of the Gordon School, and Dr. W. Scott Walker, of Riverside, a gynecologist for Lifespan Physician Group—Ob-Gyn Associates and director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology Services.
The new staff members include Danielle Kemsley, of Smithfield, who joins the RI Philharmonic & Music School as director of development. Amanda Mann, of Cranston, has been named box office and sales manager; Chepachet’s Marissa Danville, is the newly hired part-time accounting assistant; and Rebecca Shays, Providence, is the student services supervisor.
“I wholeheartedly welcome Ralph and Scott to our RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School volunteer family, and Danielle, Amanda, Marissa and Rebecca to our staff. Ralph and Scott understand how important music and music education are to our region. I look forward to their guidance on how we can continue to serve even more people in our region.
“I’m also thrilled to announce that Danielle will be leading our development and fundraising effort. She was an enthusiastic choice by our staff, board and donors and has tremendous experience in the performing arts. Marissa, Amanda and Rebecca are great additions to our staff. The Orchestra’s audience has grown 44 percent in the last five years, and we are seeing increased enrollment and reaching out to more Southern New England young people through our Music School. We expect growth to continue as we begin a new era with our soon-to-be-announced music director.”
RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School
New Board Members
Ralph Wales, of Providence, is the newly-retired, former head of school of the Gordon School, where he worked since 1994. Over that time, Gordon received national attention for its achievements in creating and sustaining a decidedly diverse faculty, staff and student body. During Ralph’s tenure, the school established an endowment that now exceeds $11 million. Wales holds a B.A. in American History from Harvard, and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is a trustee at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Mass., the President of the Association of Independent Schools in New England and a member of the WGBH Community Advisory Board. Ralph and his wife Martha are the proud parents of three daughters–all Gordon alumni. He is an avid reader, a regular bicyclist and, in his words, “a not particularly talented guitar player” (unless you ask the nursery students who, when he plays, see stars in their eyes).
W. Scott Walker, MD, FACOG, who lives in Riverside, is a gynecologist for Lifespan Physician Group—Ob-Gyn Associates and Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology Services. A clinical assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, he graduated from Harvard University and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas. Dr. Walker completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Medical Association and Alpha Omega Alpha. He has three grown children and is an avid sailor. Scott has a passion for music, and plays the piano, the guitar and the five-string banjo.
New Staff Members
Danielle Kemsley, director of development, hails from London, England, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Warwick, and worked for the Warwick Arts Centre, the BBC and the British Film Institute. She completed an internship in General Management at Trinity Rep in 2001, and after emigrating to Rhode Island in 2004, returned to work at Trinity first in Administration, then in Development and External Relations until 2011. She served as the Director of Membership & Development for the Providence Athenaeum for the past seven years, and in this role, she led all fundraising efforts for the organization; oversaw the growth of the Annual Fund by 94 percent; and launched a legacy giving society. In May 2018, she received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Tufts University/The Institute for Nonprofit Practice. Kemsley lives in Smithfield with her husband Andrew and two young sons, Jack and Max.
Amanda Mann, box office and sales manager, was the box office manager for Trinity Rep from 2015-17. Prior to managing the box office, she held lead ticketing sales positions at Trinity starting in 2007. Her previous work experience includes creative roles for David Bettencourt Videography, Southeastern Massachusetts Arts Collaborative and Midway Pictures. She lives in Cranston and has a B.A. from Rhode Island College.
Rebecca Shays, student services supervisor, is a resident of Providence. She recently graduated from Syracuse University where she studied music history, and worked in the fields of education, community organizing and local government. Shays spent time in South Africa by way of a nonprofit research program, studying the different perspectives of a post-apartheid society through a music activism lens. Her professional experience includes positions as an Education Finance and Personal Loan Specialist for Citizens Bank, Cranston; an English tutor for Syracuse University; and a teaching assistant for the Jean Rostand High School in Strasbourg, France. She has worked as a legislative page for the Rhode Island House of Representatives. A former Music School scholarship recipient, Shays studied Suzuki violin beginning at age four.
Marissa Danville, part-time accounting assistant, has worked in accounting for more than 10 years. Her previous professional experience includes working as an asset manager for Vesta Corp., a financial reporting specialist for State Street Corp., and a staff accountant for Picerne Real Estate Co. She has an MBA from Bryant University and a B.S. from Rhode Island College. She is a resident of Chepachet and volunteers her time with the Sand Dam Reservoir Association.
The RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School’s mission is to enrich and transform Rhode Island and our region through great music performance and education. During the past four seasons, audiences for the Orchestra’s TACO Classical and Amica Rush Hour series have increased by 42 percent. In the same period, the Philharmonic Music School’s enrollment has grown by 39 percent, and the School’s education and engagement programs have doubled, serving more than 20,000 children annually. In addition, the Orchestra and Music School’s combined community impact has grown exponentially, and it has become the largest symphony orchestra in the nation to devote more than 50 percent of its programmatic budget to music education and engagement.