Alistair Donkin’s first appearance with the Society was the summer of 1982. He’s been back with us every summer since, adding directorial duties since our 1985 Iolanthe. It is difficult to imagine our Society without the infusion of knowledge, skill and talent Alistair shares with us every summer. Alistair was fortunate to be able to leave his career as a solicitor in England to pursue a professional career in theatre with the original D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1979. Whilst with that Company he played as both chorister and principal in all the operas in the D’Oyly Carte repertoire. That dual capacity gave him a unique insight into the Savoy Operas and has enabled him to create and pursue a career directing and performing those operas in a way in which he hopes W. S. Gilbert would approve - overtly traditional but with modern allusions to allow them to reach a 21st Century audience. Many of his productions have received national and international accolades. His first foray into directing non-G & S was with the UK Northern Amateur Premiere of La Cage aux Folles, but the list now includes The Sound of Music, The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, Oklahoma!, The King and I , Brigadoon and Camelot to name but a few. Having been spoilt by Gilbert’s dialogue, Alistair particularly enjoys directing other shows with a good “book” such as My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver.
Brian Runnels joined the Society in 2008. He holds a Master of Music degree in church music and choral conducting from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestra conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He took additional conducting studies at the world-renowned Hochschule of Musik Mozarteum Institute for Conductors in Salzburg, Austria and also with renowned conductors Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt. He has led numerous operatic performances including La Boheme, Magic Flute, Marriage of Figaro, and Die Fledermaus. He was an adjudicator for the Tommy Tunes Awards program for Theatre Under the Stars for many years and has conducted numerous musical theater productions, including Into the Woods, Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes, The Most Happy Fella, Guys and Dolls, Music Man, Oklahoma!, and many others. Dr. Runnels served as Department Chair in Music at both Bemidji State University in Minnesota and Murray State University in Kentucky, also conducting orchestra, oratorio, musical theater, and opera productions, and as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Houston Baptist University. Attendant his several academic positions, he has been a presenter at numerous scholastic conferences and symposiums. He has articles focusing on music, music education, and aspects of administration in higher education published in several academic journals. He is currently orchestra director at George Bush High School in Richmond and Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Rosenberg. Since 2006, he has been Music Director of the Houston Civic Symphony, a community orchestra that began performing concerts for Houstonians and surrounding communities in 1967. Dr. Runnels is pleased to be working with the organization that first introduced him to Gilbert and Sullivan many years ago.
Ken Robertson-Scott has been with the Society since 1999. He started his professional career in 1975 joining the world famous D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Highlights of his time included two tours of North America and the company’s first visit to Australia and New Zealand. In 1976, he was the youngest Stage Manager on Broadway at the age of 21. In 1980 he joined BBC TV, directing many shows specialising in Children’s Drama. In 1998 he left the BBC and has directed many stage shows in the freelance world, including all the G&S titles. He also was a Director of the Magic of Gilbert and Sullivan, which brought together ex-D’Oyly Carte principals and choruses. He also has been involved in all but two of the hugely successful Gilbert and Sullivan Festivals in Buxton, UK.
Rob Seible is founder and artistic director of VOX - The Rob Seible Singers. Recently retired as choral director at the High School for the Performing Arts, Rob taught in public schools for thirty-four years and continues his work in choral music with VOX, and as choirmaster at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. He is currently adjunct faculty for HSPVA, HGO summer camps, and HGO high school vocal studio. In the past, he has been faculty for AFA (American Festival of the Arts), artistic director for the Bay Area Chorus, and musical director for the Galveston Outdoor Musicals.