Meet our Board

Greg Springer-Director

Greg has been singing with VAE for 3 years. After working several years behind the scenes, he joined his lovely wife Kris as one of several married couples whom have performed together. Greg does construction throughout the SLO area and is a proud parent to 6 children, He is also known for his BBQ skills and often has gatherings to share it with friends.  

Gael Mueller- President-Elect

Gael Mueller- Gael traveled to Europe with VAE in 2004. She joined in 2006 as a "tenorette" and has been giving Gary a bad time ever since. Gael admits to being a lawyer, a weaver and a lover of Cocker Spaniels. Greatest achievement: Being Melodie Beard's mom. 

Leslie McKinley - Past President

I have been singing with the Vocal Arts since 1991, and VA is what feeds my soul…  As with many of the other musicians in the group, I feel that the final product that we bring to the public is just a small part of what we provide to each other, as each week we are there for support, group counseling, laughter, love, and sharing!  It is about the passion that we share and the sense of coming together to make something bigger than ourselves that keeps us coming back, and knowing that when we work together, we make magic happen.


In my day job, I am the development director for United Way of San Luis Obispo County.  There too, I am inspired by people coming together to bring community to those who need it, and for me, that is what is so important about San Luis Obispo.  My children were all born and raised here, we have lived here for 40 years and have loved being part of this place where people care about each other, take care of each other through difficult times, and rejoice in each other’s triumphs.


That is what makes Vocal Arts such a special part of my life and this community and I believe what comes through in our music.  As Gary says, when we put down our music and “sing from the heart”, our audience gets the very best of what we can give to them, our heart.  That is what makes VA so special to me and why I love to be able to give the extra time to serve on the Board of Directors.

Nancy Carter- Director

After taking a 30 year break from singing, Nancy came back to sing with the Vocal Arts four years ago.  She now feels like she has a second family with her fellow members and is thoroughly enjoying making beautiful music with them.  Other than music she enjoys doing construction projects, spending time with her family (especially her new grandson) and playing in her garden.

Kit Hansen- Secretary

Kit Hansen is a singer with Vocal Arts and the Secretary on the Board of Directors. Kit has derived great pleasure and a sense of family from singing in Vocal Arts since 1998, including five tours.  A retired teacher, she loves singing, swimming, and spending time with her wonderful children and grandchildren.

Delia Ruiz-Director

Delia is a mother of 3 boys and has enjoyed Vocal Arts concerts ever since her husband

David joined the group 9 years ago. She and her 14-year-old son accompanied the group on

their last exciting tour to France and Italy in 2015. She has been a board member for a year

and enjoys supporting Vocal Arts in a non-singing capacity.


Denny Johansen-President

Dennis and his wife Jane moved to the San Luis Obispo area in 1970 after Dennis completed his Army obligation. While in the Army, Dennis was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam where he served as a Combat Photographer. Following up on his photography experience and college journalism training, Dennis and Jane opened Jim’s Campus Camera on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo which they operated for 43 years.

During that time, Dennis and Jane were both very involved in the community and both served on numerous non-profit boards. Dennis also served as an elected Commissioner on the Port San Luis Harbor District for 14 years. During that time, Dennis became aware of the Point San Luis Lighthouse which had recently been deactivated by the United States Coast Guard.

With the concurrence of the Harbor Board, Dennis began an intensive process to gain local control and finally local ownership of the Lighthouse Reservation. With the help of our District’s congressional delegation, his efforts were successful, and Dennis then helped create the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, a non-profit organization which operates the Lighthouse to this day. Dennis and Jane have both had great interest in music and Dennis served on the Board of the San Luis Obispo Symphony as President. Jane served several terms as President of the Symphony Guild, a community support group for the Symphony.

Dennis and Jane are both retired and live on acreage near Santa Margarita, Ca. They have one daughter, Heather who lives in the bay area and is an executive with GAP corporate. Dennis continues his community involvement by serving as President of Vocal Arts, and also serves on the board and volunteers time at the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles. Dennis is also a Director of the 25th Infantry Association which provides civilian support to his former Army Division.



Mary Blythe - Treasurer

Mary has enjoyed the music of VAE since she and her husband, Gary, moved to the Central Coast 10 years ago. Since Gary joined the ensemble in 2013, Mary has found ways to become part of the VAE family. She traveled with the ensemble to France and Italy in 2015 and took on the role of “bag lady” holding purses and etc. for the singers when they were performing. Mary has been a member of the Vocal Arts Board of Directors since 2016 and currently serves as Treasurer.

Susannah Fletcher- Director

Susannah  joined Vocal Arts 4 years ago.  As a child she grew up singing with the Central Coast Children's Choir,  She also did musical theater in High school and also played Arabic accordion in the Cal Poly Arabic Music Ensemble.  Growing up on the central coast, she recently married her childhood friend Westley. Susannah is very grateful to be apart of this amazing choir which she has come to call family, and is blessed to be able to share music with this beautiful community.   

Fr. Ian M. Delinger- Director

Fr. Ian Delinger returned to his native California in 2016 after 14 years away, attending seminary, being ordained and ministering in the Church of England. He comes from a very musical family, and has fond memories of band and choir in high school and college. He was an avid symphony-goer while living in the UK, and was privileged to witness several performances of the distinguished Hallé Choir when they performed with the Hallé Symphony Orchestra in Manchester (UK), including three performances of Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”. Fr. Ian cherishes the Anglican choral tradition, which is an important part of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in SLO, where he is Rector. He is very interested in finding ways to inspire a new generation of choral and orchestral music-goers. Perhaps being involved with Vocal Arts Ensemble will encourage him to brush off his vocal chords and sing in places other than his living room and car.