Lisa Risner is a decades-long devotee of music. As early as fifth grade, she could deftly maneuver on the Chicago “L” with an upright bass. She was one of the youngest members of the Chicago Youth Symphony and received a scholarship to study voice while still in high school at the American Conservatory of Music. As a vocalist, she won first place in a national competition and was invited to perform a recital at Carnegie Hall. She was awarded a scholarship, which allowed her to attend Indiana University School of Music and had the great privilege of studying under legendary Virginia Zeani. She also studied Psychology and earned a B.S. She performed extensively in Chicago as an alto soloist in oratorios and regional opera roles including Endymion in La Calisto at DePaul Opera Theater. She studied directing with renowned director, Harry Silverstein, and was his assistant in directing opera scenes workshops. She then went on to direct Amelia Goes to the Ball at the DePaul Opera Theater. She later moved to Germany where she sang the role of The Muse in an original production of Romeo and Juliet in Saarbrucken, where she was offered a contract as the house mezzo. After her first child was born, she moved back to the States. Years later, when her daughter and her daughter’s friends fell in love with jazz, she created Jazz Juvenocracy, a non-profit organization to educate and mentor kids in jazz. The program garnered generous support and afforded the students mentorship experience with many legendary artists. Jazz Juvenocracy went on to garner international recognition with invitations to perform at many prestigious venues including Montreux, Umbria, Jazz a Vienne, Jazz a Juan, North Sea, and Clearwater Jazz. Lisa is thrilled and honored to serve on the board of Jacksonville New Music Society with all that it offers the Jacksonville cultural community and to lovingly witness her former Jazz Juvenocracy alumni take their art to new and exciting levels.
Josué A. Cruz
Josué A. Cruz has spent his lifetime thinking about the intersections of multiculturalism. As a young student in U.S. schools, he often wondered why it was so difficult for people to pronounce his name correctly. He learned that most important skill, which any multicultural child must learn: cultural code-switching. Since that moment, he has lived purposefully to step across cultural boundaries and encourage communication.
Josué earned a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and a M.S in International Intercultural Education from Florida International University. He has taught in both under-served and high performance high schools. He worked at the university level helping students and faculty travel abroad, as well as facilitating negotiations between international universities. He has been a C-level executive at high-profile educational NGOs and has extensive sales experience in both the public and private sector.
Today, Josue is a founding member of LPT, a 10-piece salsa orchestra based out of RIverside, Jacksonville, Florida. He is the managing partner of LPT SALSA LLC and applies all skills learned throughout a robust career to bringing salsa music to audiences around the world.
He is an husband, father, educator, writer, musician and surfer.
Shawn Pfaffman has a B.A. in economics and jazz studies from Auburn University. He was the founder of the First Coast School of Music in Jacksonville, FL. He is a writer and instructor for irocku.com, a Chuck Leavell company (the Rolling Stones pianist and musical director). He was a 2017 International Blues Challenge semifinalist. He was a chairman on the Arts Advisory Council for Duval County Public Schools from 2017 to 2019. He is a National Recording and Performing Artist for UAAMusic. You can visit his website at www.shawnpfaffman.com.