The Leadership

Classical Kids Music Education NFP is fortunate to have a strong group of professionals who are dedicated to our guiding organizational philosophy and who believe strongly in our ability to inspire an excellence in children that can reach beyond themselves and their own potential.

  • The Board of Directors


Alan Salzenstein


Alan Salzenstein is a Professor at DePaul University in Chicago, as head of the MFA/Arts Leadership and Performing Arts Management programs; and is currently President of the international academic organization, Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE). Salzenstein has held various Executive Director positions for a wide array of arts organizations over the past thirty years, and is pleased to bring his skills in organizational development, fundraising, and arts law to Classical Kids Music Education. In addition to a long history of theatrical producing, he has devised and overseen many special events and maintains an active consulting service for artists and arts organizations. He is a frequent invited speaker on topics of arts management and legal issues in the arts, having presented across North America, Europe and Asia. Salzenstein is also an attorney, focusing on issues relating to the performing arts industry.

Paul Pement


Paul Pement serves as Executive and Artistic Director of Classical Kids Music Education, a non-profit arts organization focussed on introducing children to the extraordinary lives and musical masterpieces of the great classical composers. A BFA in theatre from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and professional experience as an actor, singer, dancer, director, choreographer and stage manager have enabled Paul to achieve success with Classical Kids LIVE! programming – the leader in the field of family concert programming presented by orchestras throughout North America and abroad. Over the past decade Mr. Pement has led the organization in processes that include strategic planning, board and committee development, financial accounting, funding development, community engagement, and marketing and communications. Together with the help of dedicated consultants and passionate board and committee members, Paul is excited to create the organization’s newest project, Gershwin’s Magic Key – the first-ever symphony concert production that introduces future generations to the legacy of this great American composer.

Natalie Berg

Vice President

Natalie Berg is the former President of Julius Meinl North America, serving for 4 years as Managing Director and 8 years as Director of Marketing. She lends her 12 years of marketing and management experience towards Classical Kid’s development, fundraising and community events. Natalie’s involvement with Classical Kids began as a performer in the Tchaikovsky Discover’s America production, adding her 23 years of professional acting skills to the company in 2006. Natalie has seen first-hand the impact these productions have on the thousands of children and families in attendance and cannot ignore this company’s need to reach more children. Natalie continues to serve abroad with Kids Alive International in Guatemala and fundraises for International Justice Mission annually.  She is pleased to be able to partner with Classical Kids on the board level and is most excited for the creation of the newest production, Gershwin’s Magic Key. Natalie and her husband, Matthew Packer, live in Chicago, Illinois.  Together they support the arts and work for every child to have an equal opportunity at life’s blessings.

Tim Holbrook


Tim Holbrook is honored to serve as Board Treasurer for Classical Kids Music Education. He is currently the Associate Director for Financial Analysis at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He arrived at Kellogg after a decade in various arts management positions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Primary Stages (NYC), and the Bienen School of Music (NU, Evanston). Tim is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Administration and holds degrees in performing arts administration (MA, New York University) and business administration (BS, Illinois State University). He is an active amateur musician and particularly enjoys singing with the Wicker Park Choral Singers and playing piano for his two-year old daughter, Tessa.

Jason Shadle


A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Jason Shadle earned degrees in music education from Miami (Ohio) University (B.M.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.) before making the commitment to support meaningful arts appreciation, engagement, and participation through work in non-profit administration. He currently serves as operations manager in Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music where he oversees production details, planning, and scheduling for all concert venues and activities. Prior to moving to Chicago, Mr. Shadle managed educational programming and community engagement for The Philadelphia Orchestra, using his prior experience in teaching to cultivate diverse audiences for orchestral music through collaborative learning and outreach.

Linden Christ

Director of Education & Outreach

Linden is the Director of Education and Outreach for Chicago Opera Theater, working with AfterSchool Matter’s and the middle school program, Opera for All. Also a professional opera singer and artisticdirector of the opera outreach company, Chicago Opera Playhouse, she completed her Master’s Degree in VocalPerformance and Musicology from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she isnow an Adjunct Faculty, and conducts the University Singers.

  • The Committees


Funding Development

Gina Sparacino (Chair)
Maria Gray
Paul Pement (Ex-Officio)
Alan Salzenstein (Ex-Officio)
Amy Aldrich

Marketing & Communications

Natalie Berg (Co-Chair)
Gina Sparacino (Co-Chair)
Jim Jensen
Paul Pement (Ex-Officio)
Alan Salzenstein (Ex-Officio)
Mike Rieman

Education & Community Engagement

Linden Christ (Co-Chair)
Kara Kane (Co-Chair)
Jason Shadle
Will Martin
Paul Pement (Ex-Officio)
Alan Salzenstein (Ex-Officio)


Tim Holbrook (Chair)
Seth Parker
Paul Pement (Ex-Officio)
Alan Salzenstein (Ex-Officio)

Advisory Council

Jim Jensen (Business)
Sara Murphy (Development)
Gideon Blustein (Political)
Jason Shadle (Educational)
Susan Hammond (Creative)
Jan Kallish (Producing)
Gary Griffin (Artistic)

  • The Artistic Center


Paul Pement

Executive & Artistic Director
paulpementPaul Pement
Executive & Artistic Director

As Founder, Artistic Director and Executive Director of Classical Kids Music Education, NFP, Paul Pement puts forward his passion for the exploration and understanding of the human experience combined with his commitment to do good, give back, and help to make the world a better place.

As a child, Paul was drawn to all things music related. Singing with his musically talented family, especially his sister, laid an early foundation for his future as a professional actor and singer. Years in band and choir fed his developing musical passion. Musical Theatre became his performing platform. A Bachelor’s Degree in Acting from the University of Illinois combined with voice lessons and dance classes provided the training necessary to achieve membership in the professional actor’s union, Actor’s Equity Association, and perform in over 50 productions throughout Chicago and abroad. Even as an adult, his boyish appearance led to countless kid roles in Theatre for Young Audience productions. His connection to children’s entertainment led him to produce two award-winning children’s educational music CDs. And so it seems fitting that the demands of Classical Kids culminated to this point, uniquely calling on all of his past experience and passion. As he puts it, “It’s interesting, when you feel you aren’t sure where you are going, to be able to look back and see a clear, seemingly deliberate path that led you to exactly where you are now.”

Paul’s professional theatrical training and experience as an actor, singer, musician, dancer, director, stage manager, arts administrator and producer as well as his instinct for choosing and working with talented collaborators who possess strong artistic and working values, make him all things central to the philosophy and decision making of the organization.

Seth Parker

General Manager

Seth has been involved with Classical Kids at various levels for over 10 years and has helped the organization grow over the years by providing a range of supportive services, including bookkeeping, graphic design, website design and creation, information technology, organizational management, grant writing, fundraising, and marketing. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities to the organization, Seth also serves on the Finance and Funding Development Committees. He has a Bachelor’s degree (Honours First Class) from the University of Otago in New Zealand, a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently undertaking a post-baccalaureate certificate at Northwestern University for pre-medicine.

  • Leadership Support


Internal organizational support is provided by our valued consultants.

Kristin Patton

Ensemble Consulting

Board Building & Organizational Development / Arts Action Research Philosophy.

Bruce Thibodeau

Arts Consulting Group

Strategic Planning.