Founder, Executive Director
Jerri was born and raised in Washington, D.C .where she had dreams of singing at the Metropolitan Opera House. Her earliest mentor was Roberta Flack who took an interest in her exceptional vocal abilities and found her first vocal coach and piano teacher in her journey into the greatest passion of her life. Other vocal coaches of note was Todd Duncan, the original Porgy of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and renowned vocal coach Nathan Lam of the Stephen Wise Temple. Jerri started her vocal work as a session singer and background vocalist at Motown Records, live stage shows along with a number of commercial jingles stage voice overs.
Jerri went on to become the inaugural Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Pasadena Symphony in 1998. Through the many years there, Jerri co-developed community partnerships, created memorable music education and outreach programs with the Pasadena Unified School District to serve various constituents in the Pasadena Community, developing afterschool programs in Villa Park, Belvedere Park in East LA Robinson Park, and the symphony’s own Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra.
She participated in partnerships with the Gene Autry National Museum, California State Northridge, and Kidspace Children's Museum, Rosemary’s Children’s Services and many more.
In 2004, eager to reach into diverse ethnic communities, Jerri created Clazzical Notes, a program designed to reach classical and jazz music listeners., and Clasica, Las Raices de la Música, family programs presented at the Autry Museum. [R21] Over the years, Jerri has devoted much of her time to service in the Pasadena community on behalf of music and arts education.
Her community service is extensive. Jerri served as Chairperson on the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission, Chairperson for the Pasadena Arts Council, Advisory Board for Rosemary's Children's Services, Board Chair for Partners in Education, and Grants Chair on the Board of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation. She continues to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Foundation Board.
Among her many commendations and awards for her years of service are the following:
Jerri is married to Donald Gaines from Edmond, Oklahoma