Board of Directors

Ayako Onoda



Ayako is proud to be an active member of the Association as president of board since 2015 having served as a board member since 2014.  This year she also serves on the governance committee as well as the development committee, overseeing the organizational structure of the Association, and leading funding activities to ensure future growth.

She has been musically involved with the Association, performing as a vocal soloist with the Civic Symphony Orchestra, Civic Strings Orchestra, and Civic Chamber groups in numerous concerts since 2013.

Outside of the Association, Ayako is an attorney specializing in corporate and technology transactions representing clients in the biotech industry as well as the information technology sector. Ayako enjoys being part of the community outreach initiative efforts and hopes to reach an even wider audience by participating in more programs in the Bay Area.

Her favorite pieces of music are:  Richard Strauss,  Vier letzte Lieder (vocal)   andMaurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G Major, Igor Stravinsky, Petrushka (instrumental)


Gerri Donato



Gerri joined the 2nd violin section of the SF Civic Symphony in 2008 when the Old First Presbyterian orchestra disbanded. She has participated in the Summer Workshop each year since its inception, and recently joined the 1st violins of the Civic Strings ensemble. When she isn’t performing with one of the groups, she enjoys ushering at the other association concerts. As duty called, she has served on the board at various times as vice president, secretary, and since 2013 as treasurer.

As a resident of San Francisco for 45 years, Gerri has come to appreciate the unique role played by the SF Civic Music Association in absorbing new and established members of our community into a variety of performing ensembles to meet the needs of musicians of all skill levels, and in providing high-level amateur musical performances to the public free of charge.

A retired physical therapist, when not practicing her instrument or performing her duties as treasurer of the association, Gerri can be found in the pool practicing with her synchronized swimming teammates, perfecting her Tai Chi skills, keeping up with several book clubs, and providing feedback to our elected leaders and their appointees.

Greg Zinkl



Greg first joined the SFCMA as a violist in Mozart to Mendelssohn, days after his arrival to San Francisco. He was particularly impressed by the artistic and music leadership’s warm welcome, and the chance to play Mozart again after years of the great Romantic and 20th century classics on his stand. He had never heard of an organization that not only embraced a musical home for all, but also music for the community for free, and fell in love with the mission.

In Chicago, besides playing with many of the area’s orchestras, Greg was an orchestra co-chair (akin to manager) for a legal professionals orchestra and a board member for a music organization that supports high level training orchestras both for pre-college players, and another for college and graduate students. He was also the promoter, interim and first president, and co-founder (along with 35 dedicated musicians) of a community orchestra in 2013, which went on to win a record of three awards in 2016 from the Illinois Council of Orchestras, including Community Orchestra of the Year.

Greg is eager to help advance the SFCMA into its next generation.

By day, Greg is a biotech patent attorney. By night, he enjoys spending time with Tom, his husband of 20 years, an architect; spoiling their greyhound, Kai; and being subject to the whims of their cats, Millie and Tula. Greg also serves on the Leadership Council of San Francisco for Lambda Legal, and  volunteers as a librarian at Next Door, a homeless shelter in the Tenderloin. Their son Justin is a newly commissioned officer in the Air Force after having graduated from the University of Illinois this past May and is on his way to Misawa, Japan in the fall of 2018.

Greg is always willing to play Bruckner, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, more Bruckner… (among others…)


John Arnott

John joined the board of directors in 2015 after having played with the Civic Symphony for four years and serving on committees for three.  He is part of the finance committee, helping to coordinate the construction of the association’s annual budget.  He continues to serve on the governance committee where he helped formulate the association’s by-laws in 2012 that established the overall organization of the association’s activities.  He has continued in his role of facilities coordinator, also starting in 2012, researching and negotiating venues and support services for the association’s ensembles’ rehearsals and performances. 

John first played with an SF Civic Music ensemble in the Summer Strings workshop of 2011.  This ensemble’s goal of providing a route for string players to re-enter the world of ensemble playing was perfect for John who had left his violin in the closet literally for decades before picking it up again in the early 2000s.  He then joined the Civic Symphony for the Fall concert that year and has since played with to our “Mozart to Mendelssohn” orchestra and the Civic Strings.

He is hard-pressed to name a favorite piece, but still loves Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, which was on an album he found in his parents’ collection as a young boy.

Kate Cowan


Kate Cowan joined the SF Civic Music Board in 2018 and has played clarinet in the symphony off and on since 2007. She believes community musical groups play an integral part in enriching the lives of amateur musicians of every age and skill level, as well providing educational, affordable, and fun experiences for their broader community. In her non-musical life she is the Director of Institutional Giving at the Girl Scouts of Northern California. She also volunteers on the development committee for Strange Horizons, a speculative fiction literary magazine. In her spare time, she can usually be found reading, knitting, traveling to far off places, or talking about (and drinking!) craft beer. She likes lists, wombats, pie, her cat, and Vivaldi.

Her favorite piece is Six Marimbas, by Steve Reich.

Sarah Locher


Sarah Locher joined the SF Civic Music Board in Fall of 2015 and serves as the chair of the Marketing & Development Committee. She began playing cello with the Civic Symphony in 2014 and has also performed with Mozart to Mendelssohn.

Outside of SF Civic Music, Sarah is the Data & Performance Lead at San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing where she specializes in performance analysis and process improvement. She has professional and volunteer experience in fundraising and grant-writing for a variety of nonprofit causes and previously worked at the Presidio Trust to create leadership development programs for social impact leaders. Her favorite piece of music is currently Ravel’s String Quartet in F major.

Nathan Park


Nathan Park joined the SFCMA board in the Summer of 2018 as the head of the IT committee. He first heard of the SFCMA while searching for a community orchestra in San Francisco, and quickly joined the Summer Workshop in 2016. Afterwards, he regularly played with the M2M ensemble, taking on the role of section leader for strings and leading the cello section. You can oftentimes find him volunteering as an usher for various SFCMA concerts.

Nathan has played the cello for over 20 years, playing in the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras in Northern Virginia and competing in solo competitions across the Washington, DC metro area. Back in Virginia, Nathan had served on the board of Cellospeak from 2014 - 2017, a workshop aimed at adult cello students looking for an opportunity to play in ensembles. He has also volunteered at the SF Bike Kitchen, a place that teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles.

When he isn’t playing cello, you can find him rock climbing or spending time outdoors. Professionally, Nathan is a Data Engineer. His favorite piece is the Faure Elegie.