Laguna Flutes began performing in Fall 2013 under the direction of Cynthia Ellis. This group has been part of the musical community of Southern California, affiliated with the Laguna Beach Concert Band for many years prior to her leadership as well as with Orange County Music and Dance during their history.
Since that time they have grown from an ensemble of 6 to one with over 20 flutists, including Contrabass. Laguna Flutes was invited to perform at the National Flute Association Convention in 2021 and presented a digital concert prior to the Thursday evening gala.
Lauren Bergh is a Southern California native who enjoys playing flute, piccolo and bassoon in a variety of community ensembles in Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Lauren is proud to be a member for the Laguna Flutes for approximately 5 years.
Cheryl Lopez has an active freelance career and performs at various venues across Southern California. She holds a BM in Performance from California State University, Northridge. Cheryl is also a music educator with experience as a middle school band director. She has maintained a private flute studio since 2009, and is an active teacher and branch board member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.
Lei Shishak joined Laguna Flutes in 2022. She began playing the flute at age 8 and continued playing in concert, stage, and marching bands throughout her college years. Along the way, she occasionally dabbled in saxophone and oboe. She is a published cookbook author, trained chef, and food editor at Allrecipes.com.
Georgia Higgins attended Kent State University as a music education major. She is a long time member of the Long Beach Community Band and also enjoys playing saxophone in various small groups. She owns Long Beach Woodwinds where she teaches private woodwind instruction. She loves playing the bass flute with us.
A retired engineer, Tom enjoys playing saxophone and flute with different ensembles, including big bands, Brazilian/jazz combo, and saxophone quartets. In the service he played in Air Force bands in Georgia and Hawaii. His flute teachers include Lori Bell and Ali Ryerson.
William Hsu graduated from UCLA with a degree in Applied Mathematics and a Masters in Education with a Single Subject credential in Mathematics. Currently, he’s a math and computer science teacher at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, but with a passion for music, he plays contrabass flute for Laguna Flutes and the Game Music Ensemble (GME) at UCLA. During the early part of the pandemic, he also directed a virtual choir and orchestra for his church, as well as 2 virtual flute choirs with flutists from all around the world.
I have the privilege of playing contrabass flute with Laguna Flutes, Flutesonic Orchestra, Song of the Angels, and Pipe Dreams. It is a wonderful life!
Heather Hodges attended University of California Riverside and earned an MA from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University. She is retired from teaching elementary music in the Val Verde school district. She enjoys teaching, and chamber music. Heather plays bass flute with Laguna flutes.
Pamela Hodges Jones performs on flute and piccolo with the Laguna Flutes. She has a BM in Flute Performance and BA in Music Ed at CSU, Fullerton where she studied with Cindy Ellis. She has a MA from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University. She works in the Riverside USD where she teaches band, choir, guitar, and Mariachi. She has performed with many community groups and as a freelance musician throughout Southern California.
Karen Zelazo joined Laguna flutes in 2021. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from CSULB as a saxophone major, and a master’s degree in Music from American Band College. She recently retired from teaching junior high band and now works as a full-time freelance musician performing on clarinet, flute, and saxophone.
Donna Guiliano received the Music award at her high school graduation. She started playing again after 41 years encouraged by her daughter and her daughter’s teacher Cindy Ellis. She has been a member of the Laguna Flutes for the past 8 years, proving it’s never too late to do something you love.
Sophia Hernandez Lin has a BA in Music from UCLA with dual concentrations in Flute Performance and Music Education. At UCLA, Sophia studied with Sheridon Stokes, was a Gluck Fellow, and a founding member of the UCLA Flute Quartet. She also holds an MA in Education, and is the instrumental director at Pacific Avenue Academy of Music in Jurupa USD, teaching band, piano, guitar, and music technology. In 2021, Sophia recorded the shinobue (traditional Japanese flute) for the Lionsgate film, The Protégé.
Jay graduated from UCI with a degree in Business Information Management, and is currently a corporate tax manager at Edwards Lifesciences. He currently takes private lessons with Christine Han at OC Music and Dance. Finally, he’s honored to be a part of Laguna Flutes, as the last time he played in an ensemble was in early high school.
Paula received her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from The Boston Conservatory, and her Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industry from the University of Miami (FL). She plays in several groups in the LA area including Song of Angels Flute Orchestra, Los Angeles Symphonic Winds, and Palos Verdes Symphonic Band. Ms. Savastano currently works in the music industry as the Senior Director of Copyright and Royalties for the music publisher Angry Mob Music based in Santa Monica. She frequently speaks as a copyright, publishing, and royalties at music industry events around the country. She is also serves as Treasurer of the California Copyright Conference, where she has served on the board since 2018, and President in the Long Beach Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity focusing on Philanthropic activities in music throughout the world.
Dan Nguyen graduated from Western Washington University with a BM in Music Education and is currently working on his MM in Music Education at Eastern Washington University. He teaches elementary music in Riverside USD and plays C Flute with the Laguna Flutes. Outside of flute playing, Dan also performs with the Riverside Concert Band on clarinet.
Andrew Jones joined Laguna Flutes in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from California State University, Fullerton, as well as a Master of Music degree from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University. Andrew has been an itinerant elementary music teacher in the Riverside Unified School District since 1999. Andrew’s primary instrument is saxophone, on which he performs in various bands and chamber groups in the Southern California area.
Haiyang Wang is an active freelance musician and educator. He maintains a professional chamber group whose members spread across the US, and he and his wife run a music studio in Irvine California. He is also the Youth Ensemble Audition & Operation Coordinator at Pacific Symphony and a photographer.
Karin is an orchestral performer, teacher and chamber musician. She earned a BM in flute performance from the University of Southern California, studying with Gary Woodward and James Walker, and a MM in flute performance from the University of North Texas, studying with Terri Sundberg. She has performed as soloist with the Orange County Symphony, Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Orchestra and Mt. San Antonio College Wind Ensemble. She has also performed with Pacific Symphony, Southeast Symphony and Rio Hondo Symphony. Mrs. Fabiero is a founding member of the woodwind trio, Third Wheel. She teaches at Claremont Community School of Music and has been the flute professor at Mt. San Antonio College since 2007.
Linda is a recent California transplant from Michigan, where she enjoyed an active career as a clinician, teacher, performer and arranger. With a background that includes Music Performance, Music Technology and Business Administration, Ms. Howard has performed and presented at several NFA and regional conventions and performed in masterclasses on both flute and piccolo with Clement Barone, Shaul Ben Meir, Leone Buyse, Amy Porter and Nan Raphael, just to name a few. She and her husband, 5 kids and 5 grandkids are enjoying SoCal's beauty.
Lisa Norton is a Los-Angeles-based flutist. She studied at the Eastman School of Music and played in the Tanglewood Orchestra. Now a retired attorney, she performs throughout Southern California and beyond in various groups including Song of the Angels Flute Orchestra and the International Flute Orchestra.
Maria is thrilled to be playing with the Laguna Flutes once again after a several-year hiatus. Maria has been performing in flute choirs for over 30 years. Prior to the Laguna Flutes, Maria performed with the Pennsylvania Flute choir from 2003- 2014, the Harvard University flute ensemble from 2001 – 2003, and she founded the Johns Hopkins Flute Choir in 1994 which is still active today. Maria minored in Music and studied under Bonnie Lake at the Peabody Conservatory from 1992 – 1996. She has also been an active performer with various concert bands and orchestras over the years in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California. Professionally, Maria is currently the Business Unit Director for Johnson and Johnson’s Animal Health Business. She holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a proud wife and mom of two young daughters who remind her daily to stop and smell the roses (quite literally!).
Diane started playing flute and piccolo at Poway High School and attended CSULB, playing in the marching band. She graduated and taught science for 20 years and now serves as Vice Principal. She has been a member of the Long Beach Community Band, playing flute and piccolo for 20+ years and also plays with the Long Beach Chamber Music group. She is loving playing Alto flute with Laguna Flutes.