We are thrilled to welcome long-time Youth in Arts supporter, Janine Simerly to our board! Janine’s youngest son, Sean Simerly of Happnstance joined Youth in Arts’ Til Dawn A Capella group when he was a sophomore in high school. Janine remembers his experience fondly, “Sean had a lot of interests. He was a busy kid. Without doubt, the thing that ‘lit him up’ like no other was ‘Til Dawn. It was, from my vantage point, the most transformative experience of his high school years. He learned so much, not just about music and voice and harmonies (and beat boxing). ‘Til Dawn embodied everything that is wonderful about a team sport — without the orthopedic injuries.
One of the greatest joys in my life was attending ‘Til Dawn performances and watching these kids grow and blossom over the years, from nervous, awkward kids into seasoned professionals, so comfortable on stage with a mic in their hands.”
She also has a tremendous amount of respect for ‘Til Dawn director and mentor, Austin Willacy. ”Austin Willacy is incredible. The man is a genius. He not only taught these kids about music and discipline. He also taught them to support and love one another. I could go on and on.”
Janine, a partner at the Miller Law Group in San Francisco, plans to bring her incredible energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the YIA Board, as well as, “an irreverent sense of humor. Sometimes that comes in handy.” Her goals as a YIA board member are to be, “a productive and valuable member of the board. To contribute. And hopefully pay back a little of what YIA has given to me (and Sean) over the years.” We feel very lucky to have her on our team!
Growing up in New Orleans, Janine had access to a well rounded arts education that included visual art, theatre, and music. Though she doesn’t consider herself an “artist” today, she is an avid gardner, champion Chili-maker, and she loves to sing and perform. “In my high school and college days, I had a blast performing in musicals. I’m told that I really nail ‘Big Spender’ from Sweet Charity.” We’re hoping she’ll grace us with a performance very soon.
Thank you, Janine!