Staff - San Jose Jazz

Meet our Team

We’re a small, diverse group of people who share a passion for jazz and community.
Brendan Rawson Executive Director
South Bay native Brendan Rawson has worked in the local arts scene for more than twenty years. Since joining SJZ in 2012, Brendan has worked to increase the impact of our education programs and conceived many of our most successful initiatives, including Jazz Beyond programming and our mobile Boombox Truck stage.
Bruce Labadie Festival & Artistic Director
Bruce Labadie has over 40 years of experience in Performing Arts Management and festival production, and was recently named 2019 Cornerstone of the Arts, the City of San Jose's highest honor bestowed on an arts administrator.
Vera Gert Director of Finance
Vera Gert moved to Silicon Valley from Russia in 2001. She has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting and financial reporting, including IAS and GAAP practice.
Hugo Garcia Progressions Program Director
Hugo Garcia joined the Progressions team in August 2017. Hugo received his BA in Music from University of California, Davis and his MM in Music Education from San José State University.
Massimo Chisessi Marketing Director
Massimo Chisessi was brought on board as marketing manager for the 2011 Summer Fest and was named San Jose Jazz’s Director of Marketing in September 2011.
Scott Fulton Special Projects Manager
Tricia Fornesi Director of Sponsorship Development and Corporate Engagement
Tricia Fornesi originally joined SJZ in 2010 and left in 2012 to spend more time with her growing family. In 2017, she returned as the director of sponsorship development and corporate engagement where she works with local and national brands for Summer Fest, Winter Fest and our year-round activities.
Misa Wong Supporter Program Manager
Wally Schnalle Director, Summer Jazz Camp
Wally Schnalle joined us as Summer Jazz Camp Director in 2014, but his history with San Jose Jazz as a teacher and performer go back much further. A highly respected drummer, composer and educator, Wally leads three ensembles including our SJZ Collective, which he helped form in 2018.
Dr. Aaron Lington Director, High School All Stars
Grammy Award winning baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington has been the director of our High School All Stars program since 2011. The Jazz Studies Program director at San Jose State University, Aaron is a well-known educator, composer and performer, with seven albums as a bandleader to his credit.

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