Biographies of Board of Directors and Staff

CVNC Board of Directors

William Weisser, PhD, Co-Secretary

Dr. William J. Weisser now retired as Minister of Music at Edenton St. United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC where he had been responsible for seven singing choirs, three handbell choirs, three dance ensembles and instrumental ensembles with over 460 participants for over 35+ years. He was the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Capital Area Chorale, a mixed voice community choir for 11 years. He was an Adjunct Assistant Professor on the faculty of North Carolina State University where he directed the University Singers for 5 years. He served as Interim Director of Music at Centenary UMC in New Bern, NC 2011 – 2012.; as the Interim Music Minister at First UMC in Rocky Mount, NC 2012 – 2013; an most recently Interim Director of Music and Organist at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC, and Interim Organist at Hayes Barton UMC in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Weisser is now substituting as needed in churches of various denominations in the Raleigh and Wilmington areas.

He has served as Dean of the Joliet, Ill. and Central North Carolina Chapters of the American Guild of Organists. He is a member of the Chorister's Guild serving as President of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter; The American Guild of English Handbell Ringers;  The National Association of Teachers of Singing;  The American Choral Director's Association;  and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts which he served as National President and many other Conference, Jurisdictional and General Church agencies having served as the Chairperson for the North Carolina Conference Worship Commission.

Dr. Weisser has performed with the Chicago Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony. He has performed many organ recitals in the Southeast and is in demand as an accompanist for oratorios as well as a Choral Conductor. He has served on the faculty of Louisburg College and was Interim Conductor of the Raleigh Oratorio Society.

He was the founding Director of the Children's Choir of Duke Chapel. He has published with Abingdon Press. Dr. Weisser was invited to give a pre-concert lecture on the life of Felix Mendelssohn and his Elijah for the North Carolina Symphony.

In August, 1986, the Edenton St. UM Church Chancel Choir sang the publisher's premiere of John Rutter's Requiem, with the composer conducting. In May, 1989, his Chancel Choir was invited to sing at a Memorial Day Concert at Carnegie Hall performing Mozart's Requiem with the Manhattan Philharmonic conducted by George Albrecht of Hamburg, Germany. In 1993, his Chancel Choir was invited by the Russian Government to sing on a special state sponsored concert series in Moscow. The Chancel Choir was invited to sing at the International music festival, Piccolo Spoleto, USA in Charleston, South Carolina during May 2001, 2002 and again in 2006. For Memorial Day 2008 the Chancel Choir sang Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. under the direction of Andre Thomas.  In 2011 the Chancel Choir sang the Requiem by Maurice Durufle at the historic Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah, Georgia.

He was selected to appear in Who's Who in the South and Southwest and Who's Who in Religion, and named International Man of the Year for 1992/1993 and 1996 by the International Biographical Center in Cambridge England. In 2001he released a CD of 20th century organ works titled “Music for A Sunday Afternoon”

Paul Gilster Treasurer

Paul Gilster is a full-time writer who focuses on space technology and its implications. He is one of the founders of the Tau Zero Foundation, an organization that grew out of work begun in NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program and now supports research into advanced propulsion for interstellar missions. Gilster is the author of seven books, including Digital Literacy (John Wiley & Sons, 1997) and Centauri Dreams: Imagining and Planning for Interstellar Flight (Copernicus, 2004), a study of the technologies that may one day make it possible to send a probe to the nearest star. He tracks ongoing developments in interstellar research from propulsion to exoplanet studies on his Centauri Dreams Web site ( In past years, Gilster has contributed to numerous technology and business magazines and has published essays, feature stories, reviews, and fiction in a wide range of publications both in and out of the space and technology arena. He is a graduate of Grinnell College (IA) who performed graduate work in medieval literature at UNC-Chapel Hill before going into commercial aviation (flight instructor specializing in instrument and commercial training). He turned to full-time technology writing in 1985.

Joel Adams, Co-Secretary

CVNC Director Joel Adams, retired Enloe High School choral music teacher, 1991 recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts and former state chairman of the choral section of North Carolina Music Educators Association, served as the founding general director of Capitol Opera Raleigh, and is on the board of the North Carolina Master Chorale.

Barbara P. Sawyer, Co-Secretary

After completing a thirty-year career with IBM, Barbara Sawyer started a second career seventeen years ago as a full-time volunteer. Currently, she has been volunteering her time working with a community action awareness team for Stop Human Trafficking.  For over twenty (20) years Barbara has been a volunteer at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women (NCCIW) in a number of areas. She also is an active member of the Woman's Club of Raleigh and the Cary Woman’s Club. Barbara is past-Chairman of the Community Resource Council at NCCIW, past-President of the Cary Woman's Club, and past-President of Capital Opera Raleigh. In addition to her numerous volunteer activities, she enjoys a variety of creative art activities and has been hired by art convention vendors and art shops to demonstrate/teach various art products/techniques. Barbara and her husband George have lived in Cary, NC for the last 23 years. They are the proud parents of a distinguished Opera singer.

Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D.

Joe Kahn

Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at North Carolina State Univeristy. A member of the NCSU Biochemistry Department for 28 years, active in both research and teaching. He has eighteen years of experience writing program notes for music organizations around the country. From 1991 to 2001 he was, together with Elizabeth, classical music reviewer for The Independent Weekly. For ten years he hosted the classsical music request program for WCPE in Raleigh, NC. He organized the pre-concert lectures for the North Carolina Symphony's classical concert series in Raleigh for ten years, as well as presenting some of these lectures with Elizabeth. Their musical writings are geared to the interested lay person and aim to be both informative and accessible.

Thomas Gregory Ward

Tom Ward was educated at The College of William and Mary and The Catholic University of America. He currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Raleigh City Museum. His professional work was centered in Tom Ward and Associates, which concentrated primarily in the field of public school education planning, standards development, in-service training and preparation of training manuals, program evaluation, consensus building, and meeting planning; his clients included Glencoe/McGraw Hill, the New York State Education Department, and the National Council for the Social Studies. Earlier, he worked for the Fairfax County (Virginia) Schools, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Education Consortium.

He has served on the boards of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, Carolina Ballet, Friends of the [NCSU] Library, Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, and the North Carolina Museum of History Associates.

His numerous publications include Outlook, A Presidential Classroom for Young Americans (annual editions 1994-1998); Preliminary Draft Framework for Social Studies, New York State Education Department (1995); U.S. History Framework for the 1994 National Assessment of Education Progress, Council of Chief State School Officers in conjunction with National Assessment Governing Board/U.S. Department of Education (1994); and A Framework for Humanities in Virginia's Schools, Virginia State Department of Education with funding from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy (1986).

CVNC Staff

Carolyn Kohring, Executive Director

Carolyn Kohring

Carolyn Kohring joined in November 2005 and assumed the position of Executive Director on July 1, 2012. Carolyn was an Illinois State Scholar at Southern Illinois University where she received a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Chemistry. While there she worked in the Humanities Libary and was the paraprofessional responsible for the Readers' Services at the SIU School of Law Library.  She worked for many years as a research assistant in lunar and planetary science and in administration at a nonprofit scientific organization under contract to NASA. While in Houston, she also began her graduate education in computer science at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, with special concentration in networking and graphics. From 1999 until 2004, she was Business Manager of the Triangle Brass Band and their Youth Band. Carolyn has led multiple committees in her volunteer activities both at her church and her sons' schools. She has been a Deacon, Church Clerk, Website Administrator, and Chair of the Publicity Committee at her church.

Matthew Hager, Theatre and Calendar Editor

Although a native of Louisville, Kentucky, Matthew Hager has called North Carolina home since 1998. Matthew is a graduate of UNC-School of the Arts (High School, Drama, 2005) and UNC-Chapel Hill (BA Dramatic Arts, 2011). He also has trained at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA and DePaul University in Chicago. Matthew has acted with local theatre companies including Burning Coal, Manbites Dog, Theatre in the Park, Koka Booth, Urban Garden Performing Arts, and Bare Theatre.

Maggie Pate Duffey, Music & Dance Editor

Maggie Pate Duffey

Maggie Pate Duffey is a native North Carolinian with an extensive background in the performing arts. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from East Carolina University, attended Berklee College of Music, and obtained a M.S. Ed. from Sunbridge College, New York.

Having been on both the North Carolina and Washington State Visiting Artist rosters, Maggie has performed throughout the United States in both classical and jazz genres and as well in musical theatre and dance. Some of her most noted local performances include the soprano soloist of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and spearheading a concert for Sights and Sounds at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Maggie is a member of the North Carolina Master Chorale.

Maggie has worked for professional organizations within the arts including the Thelonious Monk Institute, WHR-Wilmington, Performance Support Services of Seattle, Long Leaf Opera Company. She also held several positions with Crossroad Herder Publishing for six years. Maggie is currently the North American Sales Representative for Oxford University Press Music.

John W. Lambert, Assignments Editor & Senior Contributor

John W. Lambert

Since 1977, CDR John W. Lambert, USN, Ret., whose studies included violin, piano, voice, and music history, has written over 3,500 reviews and articles published, variously, by The News and Observer, Leader, Spectator, Fanfare, Fi, and CVNC. A sketch of his thesis, on the North Carolina Symphony's first 50 years, was published by Greenwood Press, in Symphony Orchestras of the United States: Selected Profiles (ed. Robert R. Craven); and his liner notes for several Toscanini Lps were published by Music and Arts Programs of America, Inc. A recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts, the Durham Symphony's "Share the Music" Award, and a 2005 Triangle Arts Award, known as an Indie Award. Lambert is an avid collector of recordings, concentrating primarily on great artists of the past. Current projects encompass recordings by conductors Cantelli, Mitropoulos, Reiner, Stokowski, and Toscanini; pianists Hofmann, Kapell, Kilenyi, and Zitterbart; and vocalists De Lucia and Podles. Lambert is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. He retired as a purchasing and contracting specialist in NC's Department of Health and Human Services in September 2010 and as's Executive Editor in June 2012.