Director, Marching Band (she/hers)
Marita Begley, the director of The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band, was born in love with all things band. From her first parade at the 1972 Miss America Pageant as a clarinetist in the Holy Spirit High School marching band on to serving as squad leader in Syracuse University’s Pride of the Orange Marching Band from 1976-1980. Marita joined The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps in 1982 and has served the band well both as drum major and director for several years.
In addition to her time with the LGBAC, Marita has also been honored to serve as artistic director for the international Lesbian & Gay Band Association massed band in the Village Halloween Parade (2008); to conduct The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band at the invitation of former artistic director Brian Worsdale (2006, 2007); and to serve as Artistic Director (2013) and drum major (2009) for the LGBA massed band in the Presidential Inaugural Parades for Barack Obama.
Marita lives in New Jersey with her wife Ana, son Rich, daughter Jade, and their too many cats. She dedicates every performance to the memory of her beloved parents and godmother, as well and her dear friend and former fellow drum major Duane Allen. And she is forever indebted to her amazing fellow band members, whose talents make it possible for her to look like she actually knows what she’s doing, and to the Marching Band Goddess, who makes the magic possible.
Director, Symphonic Band (he/his)
A native of South Africa, Henco Espag came to the U.S. in 2007 to further his musical studies at Berklee College of Music.
Henco has worked on numerous projects as composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, accompanist, music director, and session musician. He has been commissioned by choirs to write music that received international acclaim, including an arrangement for the World Choir Games in Xiamen, China and an original composition for the National ATKV Choir Competition in Cape Town, South Africa. Henco received the Georges Delerue Scholarship for outstanding achievement in film scoring at Berklee College of Music and was also awarded two bursaries from the South African National Arts Council. He also worked as an orchestrator for the feature film The Runner from Ravenshead by Little Crew Productions.
Henco was a part of the Musical Theatre Department at Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University, where he served as faculty, staff accompanist, vocal coach, and music director. He also serves as the new Music Director for Judson Memorial Church at Washington Square in Manhattan.
As music director and conductor, Henco has worked with directors Robert Johanson and Norbert Joerder, and performers Sally Struthers and Tony Award-nominee Meg Bussert. Henco served as the resident music director for the 2013 and 2014 seasons of Surflight Theatre, a professional regional theatre on Long Beach Island, NJ.
Henco served as the Artistic Director and Conductor for the Philadelphia Freedom Band from 2011 to 2016 and was appointed as the new Music Director and Conductor for the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band in May 2016.
Henco composed a full scale-musical that had its first public reading in the Fall of 2015 at Rider University and he is also working as composer with librettist John Olin on a new American opera.
As Composer-in-Residence for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, Henco’s recent premieres include choral compositions On Children (text by Kahlil Gibran) and Wild Flowers (poem by Mary D. Brine). During his tenure, the Philadelphia Freedom Band premiered Henco’s compositions (Sirkusoptog, Onheilspellende Nagwandelings [solo trumpet & band]), arrangements (Dueling Percussionists [two percussion soloists & band based on The Little Drummer Boy]), and, at their Spring 2016 concert, an arrangement of Afrikaans, (South African) folk tunes with accordion.
Board of Directors
Chair: Jason Gilbert
Vice Chair: Ana Del Campo
Secretary: Blair Eisenhart
Treasurer: Russ Ebersole
Member-At-Large: Sylvia Espinoza
Member-At-Large: Loriana Kolb
Member-At-Large: Sarah Read
Member-At-Large: Alec Sim
Counsel: Maria Campigotto
Director, Program Services: Leslie R. Becker (Marching)
Director, Program Services: Lindsay Becker (Marching)
Director, Program Services: Dana Robbins (Symphonic)
Director, Donor Relations: Ana Del Campo
Librarian, Marching Band: Rusty Riker
Librarian, Symphonic Band: Eli Ramirez
Social Media Coordinator: Louisa McMurray
Director, Marching Band: Marita Begley
Head Drum Major: Michael Tolliver
Drum Major: Brian Luke
Assistant Drum Major: Tara Fayazi
Assistant Drum Major: Steve Albanese
Director, Symphonic Band: Henco Espag
Assistant Conductor: Royden Ringer
Program Services Committee
Marching Events Coordinator: Leslie R. Becker
Marching Membership Coordinator: Jeanette Sears
Symphonic Events Coordinator: Steven Lewis
Symphonic Membership Coordinator: Brian Shaw