Board of Directors


Board of Directors

Click on a board member’s name to learn more about our valued leaders and for their email contact information.

Pamela Philbert, born in Trinidad/Tobago, previously resided in Wembley, United Kingdom and Paris, France, before relocating to New York City, and subsequently to the San Francisco By Area. Recently retired, Philbert’s career was focused primarily in the medical profession, including supervisory and management positions at NYU Medical Center in New York City, UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, and Washington Outpatient Surgery Center (WOSC) in Fremont, California. Philbert is Past President of the Tri-Valley Evening Rotary Club, having also served as both Assistant Governor and Youth Service Chairperson of the club. Philbert currently serves on the Board of Directors of three Bay Area arts organizations, namely Livermore Valley Opera, Pacific Chamber Orchestra as Board Chair, and the East Bay Chapter of San Francisco Opera. She and her husband, Dr. Freddie McClendon, currently reside in Lafayette.  A consummate world traveler, Philbert has taken extensive journeys throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa, as well as fulfilling her great passion for voyages on numerous river boat cruises. Pamela can be reached at

Laura Varner has a deep appreciation for music having been a flautist in her teens, a chorister since her youth, and a lifetime classical music follower.  She serves as PCO Board Secretary supporting professional music performances in the East Bay and representing the Lamorinda community.  Varner is a California Registered Civil and Geotechnical Engineer, working in her earlier professional career consulting in Texas, the Bay Area and Southern California, before staying home to manage raising two boys – now young men matriculating from college.  Laura is now looking forward to a final career act working professionally again using her engineering and management experience to serve the Bay Area in sustainably adjusting to climate change. Varner has served multiple organizations, including acting as parent advocate on various educational Boards, and participating in a state-wide parenting conference as well as local science events in Lafayette.  Professionally, she was a member of the Society of Women Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers committee, coordinating educational seminars in geotechnical engineering. Born and raised in San Antonio, Varner enjoys the outdoors, hiking the East Bay Hills and camping throughout California and beyond.  While working in engineering, she lived in Guam for six months immediately prior to marrying her husband Tom and found that she could survive an environment even more humid than south Texas, weathering intense rains and Hurricane Russ. Laura can be reached at

Lawrence Kohl was fortunate to study clarinet with the best of the best, namely Rosaro Mazzeo from the Boston Symphony and Donald Carroll from the San Francisco Symphony. He has performed and toured with the San Francisco Symphony, played concertos with Pacific Chamber Orchestra and has a special affinity for performing as part of the quintet that presents educational programs to the elementary schools. In 2014, Kohl joined the Orinda Arts Council, serving as President for five years, during which time he guided the organization through a systemic transition to add service areas of Lafayette and Moraga, thereby becoming the Lamorinda Arts Council. The LAC mission was revised to include the Literary Arts along with the Performing and Visual Arts, bylaws were revised, the first professional managing director was hired, and new programs were developed. He received, from the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa Country, the 2016 Arts Recognition Award for his contributions to the community. Kohl has experienced the joys of co-parenting his daughter, Sofia, now a student at American University studying International Relations. Back in his high school days, he was an avid member of the Tennis and Chess teams as well as active in Theater. Outside of concert and musical activities, Kohl enjoys hiking the Bay Area trails and frequenting local coffee shops. Lawrwence can be reached at

Sue Farmer is a graduate of Northwestern University and has taught music in schools and in her home. She is the former President of the Contra Costa Music Teachers and is often called upon to provide musical programs for various organizations. Farmer has served on the Board of Directors for several arts organizations, including her long-time commitment to holding multiple Board leadership positions for the Lamorinda (formerly Orinda) Arts Council, along with being a current Board Member of the Rotary Club of Orinda. She is delighted to become a part of the Pacific Chamber Orchestra Board because she appreciates the fact that PCO not only provides exceptional concerts but also does a marvelous job of educating school children about orchestral instruments and symphonic works.  Sue can be reached at

Raquel Holt earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of the Philippines; and a Masters in Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University
She has vast experience having taught music to high school students in the Philippines, choral music at both Granada High School and Livermore High School, and teaching English as Second Language at both Granada High School and Junction Avenue Middle School as well as working at Marilyn Elementary School as a Language Specialist. Now retired, Holt is also one of the Founders and a current Board Member of Livermore Valley Opera and a member of Opera America, in addition to serving as a Pacific Chamber Orchestra Board Member, she enjoys travelling, gardening, attending performing arts concerts, operas, plays and book club meetings. For a number of years, Holt sang with the Valley Concert Chorale, and she also relishes the annual tradition of singing in the chorus of “Messiah,” PCO’s highly anticipated holiday concert. Raquel can be reached at

Paul McKellar’s venture into music was a slow but succinct one. In college, he started out as a Business major, but the decided to become a Music major instead. About fifteen years ago, McKellar befriended a local college music professor who encouraged him to join the Las Positas Chamber and Vocal Jazz choirs. With the Chamber Choir, he performed the Mafnificat at the Bankhead Theater, as well performing Vocal Jazz for holiday concerts at Livermore wineries. Some years later, McKellar joined the choir with the Pacific Chamber Orchestra and has performed Messiah on numerous occasions. He appreciates a wide range of music, from classical to contemporary, and is currently learning to play the piano. McKellar has worked in the retail tire business for nearly fifty years but plans to retire this year. He looks forward to an enjoyable, musical retirement, as well as continuing to nurture his passion for the performing arts through serving on the PCO Board of Directors. Paul can be reached at

Calvin Wood retired from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory after a successful career in his role as Senior Design Physicist. Since that time, Wood has dedicated his time to both community involvement, working with several local nonprofits, and enjoying retirement life with his family. He has served on the Board of Directors for Pacific Chamber Orchestra for a number of years not only to support the performing arts sector in the Tri-Valley but also to collaborate with other Board members in sustaining the growth of the organization. When Wood’s granddaughter has her baby this October, it will be his twentieth great grandchild, and including his five children with their four spouses, he sends out a total of 52 birthday cards each year! He recently celebrated yet another milestone, namely reaching the age of 89, one more year than the number of keys on a piano. Further, when his golf partner urged him hurry up to the next tee box, Cal vowed to obey the eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not fall,” and refused to move on until he felt confident of keeping his balance; and with that said, Cal’s partner has never uttered another word on the subject! Cal can be reached at

Past Board Chairs

Lynn Seppala
Richard Givens
Ron Koopman
Kathy Streeter
Nelson Mosher
Noren Hulteen
Richard Karn
Richard Lind

Board Profile

Board members are business, professional and community leaders who enjoy classical music and desire to further the Pacific Chamber Orchestra’s mission.

The Board is the governing body of the corporation and is responsible for supporting the artistic product and managing the business of PCO. Board duties are approximately 6 hours per month

Most importantly, the Board seeks to make the enjoyment of classical music accessible to all by developing broad community support and involvement.

Board members provide vision, leadership, expertise, planning and connections. Board members:

  • Provide organizational leadership and direction through consensus.
  • Give generously either with a $2,500+ annual contribution or give S1,000 and work 30 hours on fundraising activities (beyond regular board duties) or  by providing  a necessary professional expertise.
  • Spend approximately 6 hours per month including meetings dedicated to board matters.
  • Raise funds and gather in-kind support.
  • Help to build a devoted concert audience.
  • Promote PCO to the public.
  • Recruit a strong board and volunteer base.
  • Advance the artistic and educational mission.
  • Oversee financials, including adoption and management of annual operating budgets.
  • Serve a minimum of two years

Upcoming Events

Attend Our 2024 Concerts

Engage With Us!

Pacific Chamber Orchestra maintains an active presence on Facebook and other social media channels. Click below to see our latest Facebook posts. And be sure to like and follow us!