The TACO LA Team
FOUNDER of TACO, DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR for TACO SILICON VALLEY
Cathy Humphers Smith
Cathy and her husband Kent founded the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra with the first sessions in their living room. They wanted to create an open, welcoming place where anyone who wants to, can play great symphony music, without the usual barriers of audition, rehearsals, pressures of perfection and performance.
Cathy started piano and violin lessons at a very young age, and continued studying piano seriously through college. She enjoyed folk music and her introduction to choral music came with the experience of singing with the Coro Juvenile de Rosario as an AFS exchange student in Argentina, 1972-73. While a music major at CSU Sacramento, she sang in the chorus, before transferring to UC Santa Cruz, where she obtained a BA in Latin American Studies and continued to study piano. She went on to earn an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, where she also sang with the University of Chicago Chorus.
To develop her conducting skills, most recently Cathy participated in the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute with Diane Wittry and Anna Edwards. Prior to this she studied with Tom Gentry (CSUS), Charlene Archibeque, Jeffrey Benson, Ed Harris (all of SJSU).
After taking a leave of absence from clinical social work to raise two boys, she found opportunities to return to her love of music through involvement in the public schools, which led to a second career as a music educator. She worked for Music for Minors, for several years as a docent, and then as staff Program Director. An active volunteer in the local high school music program, she also led independent after-school children’s choruses and had a brief stint as the director of the San Jose Peace Chorale.
Her work as a piano accompanist for a local middle school orchestra, led to a productive relationship with Vivian McNulty (retired middle school music teacher) who joined TACO for several years, helping to build the TACO music library and share conducting responsibilities.
Cathy was the recipient of a Gardner Award for Community Service in recognition of her work establishing TACO. She is a frequent guest conductor and advisor to TACO Los Angeles, run by Jazmine Rampas. As the Director of TACO, Cathy looks for every opportunity for musicians to experience success and joy in making music.
CONDUCTOR, MUSIC EDUCATOR & FREELANCE MUSICIAN
Lori Musicant Kozubek
Lori is a Los Angeles-based music educator and freelance musician. Currently the Band/Orchestra Director at Van Nuys Middle School, Lori also directs the Wind Ensemble at Los Angeles Valley College and has previously been the director of band/orchestra programs at John Muir Middle School (Burbank) and Olive Middle School (Baldwin Park). Lori has taught on faculty at Arrowbear Music Camp, Cazadero Music Camp, the Claremont Clarinet Festival, and the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, as well as many courses in the Los Angeles Community College District, including Applied Clarinet, Current Musical Events, Fundamentals of Music, Wind Ensemble, and Woodwinds Instrument Instruction. An active freelance clarinetist/bass clarinetist, Lori was a founding member of the Avenel Chamber Players, former principal clarinetist with the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir, and has played with many orchestras and chamber ensembles in the Los Angeles area. She received her Bachelor in Music Education from Michigan State University and her Master in Clarinet Performance from Florida State University, where she was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship in clarinet.
Lori has been conducting TACO LA since August, 2022.
DIRECTOR of TACO LOS ANGELES
Jazmine holds a B.A. in Music, with an emphasis in Music Industry Studies from Cal State Northridge. She worked full-time as an Orchestra Assistant for the El Camino Youth Symphony (ECYS) in Palo Alto for two seasons before pivoting to a tech career. Jazmine worked as a Web Application Developer at Pepperdine University and in other technical positions before her current role as a Product Solutions Consultant at Google.
Jazmine discovered TACO in 2015 to encourage her sister to play the violin again. After leaving her role at ECYS to pursue software development, she searched for groups to play in but found it challenging to commit to orchestras that required regular practice and rehearsals. Realizing the need for casual groups like TACO in her community, Jazmine contacted Founder Cathy Humphers Smith in March 2019 about starting TACO in LA. With TACO's support, Jazmine launched the first TACO LA session in Burbank on October 6th, 2019. She promoted the group through social media and gathered 150 signups before the first gathering. TACO LA relaunched in December 2021 and relocated to Pasadena.
Jazmine reluctantly plays the 1st violin part in TACO. She is learning classical guitar and the double bass. The TACO community gives Jazmine immense joy and inspiration, and she looks forward to continuing its mission in providing inclusive, low pressure music-making!
FINANCIAL ADVISOR & ANALYST
Alicia is a valued advisor and volunteer for TACO LA. She is a Senior Operations Data Analyst at Entertainment Partners and has 10+ years of experience in the payroll industry. Alicia provides her professional skills to TACO LA with financial planning and data analysis.
Alicia does not play any instruments but would like to learn piano someday. She has an appreciation for classical music and enjoys seeing the LA Philharmonic. She is also an avid fan of the Angel City Football Club (ACFC) and Mexican singer-songwriter, Natalia Lafourcade.