Music Directors

Sierra Mountain Music Camp has been lucky enough to have some wonderful talents in the roles of Music Directors. We have award winning directors, many of whom have received national recognition, and have studied among other great talents. In addition to being wonderful directors, these people have inspired many former campers to pursue a lifelong devotion to music, and have kept the flame of music alive in the hearts of hundreds of former campers.

William A. Zinn - Director, Senior Girls Choir PDF Print E-mail

William Zinn, Artistic Director of SMMC, has been a camp staff member since 1996 when he initiated the first Junior Boys Choir.  Bill has directed the Senior Girls Choir for 12 years.  Since arriving in California in 1980, he has dedicated his professional life to the Sacramento area's musical community as a teacher in the public schools, as a church chorister, and performer. He has performed as a member and Assistant Chorus Master of the Sacramento Opera Chorus. He now sings with the Sacramento Master Singers, whom he now serves as their President and bass section leader. His students have performed in Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, Pearl Harbor, New York City, Disneyland, as well as for the Sacramento Youth Symphony and the Camellia Symphony. Bill has taught music in the Davis Joint Unified School District for since 2003 at Davis High School, Holmes Junior High, and Harper Junior High. In 2002 Bill was awarded Music Teacher of the Year by the Capitol Section of the California Music Educators Association.

Leo Gravin - Orchestra Director PDF Print E-mail

LeoG2011Leo Gravin  

Leo Gravin began the string program at SMMC in the year 2000.  He returned in 2007, and has been with the Camp ever since.  He holds an M.A. in Cello Performance, a California Clear Teaching Credential, an Administrative Services Credential, and an English Language Learners Certificate. 

Mr. Gravin’s professional career began at age 18 as a cellist with the Sacramento Symphony.  He has played with organizations including the Stockton, Modesto, Vallejo, and Santa Rosa Symphonies; the Reno Philharmonic; the Aspen, CO, Bear Valley, CA, and Round Top, TX Music Festivals; Music in the Mountains, and headliner shows at Nevada Casinos including Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Reno.  Since 1996 he has taught music full-time in the public schools, and is currently with the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District.  During the summer (when he is not with SMMC) Mr. Gravin plays principal cello with the Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavillion.  He is also a cellist with the Sacramento Philharmonic, Opera, Choral Society, and Ballet Orchestras.

Mr. Gravin’s teaching and conducting experience includes a wide range of students from ages 5 to 85.  He is the former director and conductor of the South Placer Youth Symphony, the Solano County Youth Orchestra, the CMEA All-City Honor Orchestra, the Vacaville U.S.D. Honor Orchestra, and the Folsom-Cordova U.S.D. Honor Orchestra. He also began a highly successful Adult Education Orchestra with the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District. Mr. Gravin is a frequent adjudicator and coach for the Golden Empire Music Festival and the Sacramento Youth Symphony.  As a public school orchestra director and instructor, his students consistently receive Superior ratings or win Command Performances at Music Festivals and Concerto Competitions.  Several of Mr. Gravin’s former students are now enjoying professional music careers of their own.

Travis Rogers - Director, Senior Boys Choir PDF Print E-mail

Travis Rogers has been the choral music director at Napa High School since 1980, conducting over three hundred students yearly in the choral program he sang in as a high school student. Mr. Rogers' choirs at Napa High School have toured the world winning top honors at international competitions in Austria, Australia, Ireland, and Hawaii and at national events in New York City and Orlando. The Napa High School Concert and Chamber Choirs under his direction have won the first place award at the California Golden State Invitational High School Choral Competition seven different times since 1996. In recent years, the Chamber Choir performed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus under the direction of Vance George and with Chanticleer, the twelve-voice male professional ensemble based in San Francisco, under the direction of Joseph Jennings. Mr. Rogers earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Biola University in La Mirada and a Master of Music degree at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He has studied choral music with Andrew Cottle, Jo-Michael Scheibe, Wesley B. Reed and Loren Wiebe. Mr. Rogers currently serves as the high school choir chairperson on the California State Board of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He is in frequent demand as a clinician, adjudication and guest conductor.

Cherry Hayes - Director, Junior Boys Choir PDF Print E-mail

Cherryh2011Cherry Hayes

Educator ~ Director ~ Adjudicator 

Cherry has literally taught music to thousands of young people. She has taught all grade levels, elementary through high school. Cherry has developed highly successful choral programs, attracting over 15% of the student body in choir. Her choirs consistently received superior ratings and first place honors at any festival they attended. They have performed in Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Honolulu Gateway Music Festival, and the Abbotsford International Music Festival. Her groups twice performed  aboard a Carnival cruise ship bound for the Bahamas, each time earning gold medals for superior performances.

Cherry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical vocal performance and music education from California State University, Sacramento, and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in the Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cherry holds a lifetime California teaching credential and was a public school educator for thirty-seven years before retiring in 2007. Since retirement, Cherry continues a variety of music activities. She is Director of Music at Calvary Bible Church, which includes directing the adult choir and leading worship. She teaches voice and piano from her Grass Valley home and also enjoys judging choral festivals for California Music Educators Association and Music in the Parks.

Cherry has been the recipient of numerous awards including Pleasant Ridge District Teacher of the Year, the May Martin Goyne Educator of the Arts award, Bear River High School's Teachers Who Make a Difference, California Music Educators Association Capitol Section Choral Music Educator's Award and has been listed numerous times in Who's Who Among America's Teachers and Who's Who Among American Women.

Cherry directed Junior Boys in 1998, 1999, and 2000. After taking a break, she returned to camp in 2011 and has directed both Junior Boys and Junior Girls.


Anne Vaaler- Director, Junior Girls Choir PDF Print E-mail

Anne Vaaler joined the staff at Bear River High School in Grass Valley as Director of Choral Music. .In the course of just three classes, she leads over 135 student singers, the work of five ensembles, plus all of the traditions and shows that the community has come to love over the years. Anne continues as director of Choral Music at Magnolia Intermediate School, where she has taught since 2002. Magnolia is part of the Pleasant Ridge School District, where Anne is the choral and classroom music specialist. Previously, Anne taught at San Francisco's George Washington High School, directing a program of seven choral ensembles.

Anne received her B.A. in music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she was fortunate enough to sing in the Nordic Choir and work under the direction of choral directors Weston Noble and Craig Arnold. She continued her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University, completing her teaching credential in music. She is also a certified Music Together teacher, an early childhood music program. Anne is a member of MENC and ACDA. She has been awarded the California League of Teachers "Outstanding Educator" award, and was honored by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown for her work with George Washington High School. She has served as director for several Honor Choirs and as a clinician and adjudicator for numerous choirs and solo/ensemble festivals. In January, she was honored to be the conductor of the Northern California Junior High Honor Choir.


Anne is excited to return to SMMC for her 2nd year directing the Junior Girls.


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