Board & Staff
GFBLA Board of Directors
Joseph is a systems engineer specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the aerospace and defense industry. After moving to Los Angeles from living abroad in Germany, Joseph joined GFBLA in 2018 to return to making music and to find a supportive, welcoming community within the Greater Los Angeles area. Since joining the Board of Directors, Joseph has helped provide the critical IT infrastructure to support GFBLA's growth and evolving needs. In his free time, Joseph looks after his plants, goes on hikes, video games, and does crosswords.
Melissa has been a member of GFBLA since 2012 and has served as the flute section leader for the past four years. She holds a BA in French and Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and works as an Operations and HR manager in retail. Melissa enjoys attending Dodger games, playing the flute, jet skiing, and wake boarding in her free time. As a board member she is eager to support GFBLA logistically to promote the band's mission of acceptance, equality, and inclusion through the love of music.
Director of IT
Henry Csaposs plays in the trombone section. Originally from Davis, CA, Henry has lived in the LA area since 2020. He works as a park ranger, specializing in partnerships and problem-solving, and holds a B.A. in History and Environmental Science from Willamette University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, swimming, hiking, and exploring the city. Henry serves on the board because he is passionate about the band and wants to contribute to its welcoming, inclusive community.
Member at Large
Andy Núñez joined GFBLA as a percussionist in August 2022. Growing up in Downey, Andy was heavily involved with music and studied keyboard percussion, bassoon, and clarinet. He is currently a Senior Research Analyst for the USC Race and Equity Center where he develops quantitative racial equity and campus racial climate surveys and presents research at academic and professional conferences. He holds a B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA. In his leisure time, Andy enjoys cooking, supporting local cafés, and attending Zumba classes.
Justin Raines is an award-winning composer of music for the stage and screen. His works have been featured on international recordings and streaming services worldwide. As a film composer, Raines has composed the scores for films and trailers through Voltage Pictures and Hollywood Media Bridge as well as independent projects including the short film Buffalo, which was accepted to the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film category in 2016. As a conductor, Raines has had the pleasure of conducting the Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles from 2012 through 2022 and the Peninsula Symphonic Winds since 2017. As an educator, Raines currently works through the Los Angeles Community College District as an Instructional Assistant and a Music Theory instructor. Having both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition, Raines hopes to start a composition studio through LACCD and his current position at Los Angeles Harbor College.
Director of Communications
Mandi is a native Texan but has called Los Angeles home for the last 12 years. Mandi works as a TV Music Executive for Amazon Studios and teaches yoga as well. In her spare time, Mandi loves playing tennis and her saxophone whenever she can. Being on the Board of Directors, Mandi hopes to increase the visibility of GFBLA and all that the band does to our LGBTQ+ and Greater Los Angeles Area communities.
Director of Membership
Austin holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and currently works as an engineer in the healthcare industry. He joined the GFBLA trumpet section after moving to the Los Angeles area in 2021. In addition to music, Austin loves backpacking, cooking, tutoring math, and exploring LA on rollerblades. As a board member, he is excited to grow GFBLA's membership and continue to create a welcoming and fun environment for our community.
Member at Large
Michael Salas is a professional clarinetist, music administrator, and teacher based out of Los Angeles, California. He is an active performer with experience in orchestral music, chamber music, contemporary classical, opera, and musical theater. Currently, he serves as the Program Manager for The Harmony Project’s Musicianship Program and as Executive Director of the South Coast Chorale, the LBGTQ chorus of Long Beach. Michael has also served in the LA Phil, The Whittier Regional Symphony, and CalArts. He has a true passion for equity in music, and believes that music should be accessible to and celebrated by all. Michael received his BM from the University of Hartford, Hartt School, and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Herb Alpert School of Music. He currently attends Claremont Graduate University in pursuit of his DMA with Dr. Margaret Thornhill. In his spare time Michael is an active beach-goer, a Disneyland passholder, and Power Rangers mega-fan. He of course enjoys spending time with his partner, friends, family and his yorkie Rocky.
David Burch was a member of the first Board of Directors for the Freedom Band Foundation of Los Angeles in 2002 and has served on the board since then. He is retired after serving 23 years as a librarian at Loyola Law School. David Burch serves on the board because he believes that community bands are important.
Director of Development
Kelsi has been a professional hornist for 10 years and moved from Oregon to Los Angeles in 2019. They love to cook (and eat!) new things, garden, and watch bad movies with friends. In Oregon, Kelsi also supported the musical community through union work, arts administration, board participation, and educational outreach. In Los Angeles, they hope to do more of the same with Gay Freedom Band!
Director of Operations
David Gonzalez has played tuba in the GFBLA low brass section since 2018. Originally from La Puente, CA, David presently resides in Eagle Rock. He holds a BA in Cinema/Media Studies from The University of Chicago and is currently a Senior Marketing Managed Services Specialist at Capital Group. He was recently nominated as a Capital Emerging Leader. In his free time, David enjoys trying obscure beers and wines, exploring LA on foot and watching old drum corps videos.
Member at Large
Ðạt Peter Tôn is a Houston based queer theatre director, video and sound designer, playwright, and filmmaker. Ðạt Peter recently directed and co-wrote (with Mai Le) a new play, Song of Me, about Vietnamese American millennial siblings dealing with their dual identities, which had its world premiere at Stages in Houston in June 2022. As a director, his works focus on uplifting historically underrepresented voices both on and behind the stage. His love of other mediums such as film, photography, and graphic design also influence his directorial work.