Board of Directors

MICHAEL SCACCO | PRESIDENT

Mike arrived in the desert in October of 1991 direct from NYC. He is a former High School Spanish teacher (1968-1980), a professional actor in NYC (Equity, SAG and AFTRA) (1980-1991), and the Youth Diversion Counselor for the Cathedral City Police Department (1992-2010). He became a founding member of Modern Men in 2013 and  has served as a member on our board from June of 2015 to June of 2019 (VP and President). Now in retirement, his proudest moments are singing with the Coachella Valley Men's Chorus know as Modern Men.

STEPHEN OWENS | VICE PRESIDENT

Stephen Owens is a founding member of Modern Men in 2013 and has been an active member ever since.  A bass singer, Stephen has an extensive choral background, starting in high school chorales, many years in the Barbershop Society, various community choruses as well as small ensembles. He was a founding member and sang with ‘Equal Voices’ in San Francisco, a 12-man ensemble, for over six years. A previous member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and their small ensemble, Vocal Minority. Additionally, Stephen was a member of the Orlando Gay Chorus in Florida. A move to Palm Springs allowed Mr. Owens to join the newly-formed Modern Men. Additional local participation in Harmonic Voices and Schola Cantorum allowed him to showcase his ensemble skills. Stephen has a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge and a Teaching Certificate from California State University, Fullerton. A retired Special Education teacher, he is looking forward to sharing his experience and history with the board of Modern Men, where he can help shape the future of the organization, to enhance the presence of the Chorus in the Coachella Valley arts community, and assist in the forming of a solid, well-run choral organization.

DAVID PALUS | SECRETARY

David came to Palm Springs in 2016 from Seattle, with his husband Sal, of 33 years. Originally from Ohio, David earned a Bachelor's degree in Business and French, and worked in publishing for 11 years before joining the Seattle King County Sheriff's Office in 1993, working in the Communications Division. In 2000, he became a deputy assigned to street patrol, then took on recruiting duties in 2008, continuing his patrol assignment until his retirement in 2016. David joined Modern Men in 2019 and sings Baritone in the chorus.

MITCHELL LAKS | TREASURER

Mitch sang in many choruses throughout his school and work lives. He is proud to have been a founding member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus (CGMC) and sang with them for more than 30 years. He served on the CGMC Board of Directors for more than 10 years serving as President and General Manager. Aside from singing, during his time on the Board he helped to update the Constitution and Bylaws, was part of the Search Team recommending a new Artistic Director when the Founding Director retired, helped reorganize CGMC’s financial records and witnessed the transition from a managing Board to a governing Board.

DENNIS CHASE | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Dennis is originally from Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA and moved to California in 1991. He sang with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus from 1998 under Dr. Stan Hill's direction until 2020, when Dennis moved to Palm Springs. During that time he also performed in musical theater and operetta with various SF Bay Area companies. Dennis has been on the board of several non-profit organizations, including chapters of the NAMES Project and Toastmasters. He currently works as a biotech project manager with a global firm, helping solve unmet medical needs. He looks forward to the rewards and challenges of helping to deliver Modern Men's mission and achieve our goals. On the lighter side, Dennis has appeared on Wheel of Fortune and was a Jeopardy! champion in April 2021. He is a member of PS Cookbook Bears and hopes to make it onto an amateur TV baking show one of these days.

DR. E. DAVID JANSING | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

David is originally from Louisville, KY where he was active in many different choral and theatre organizations, including directing several church choirs. After graduate school, Dave moved to the Washington, DC/Baltimore area, living there for nearly 20 years. He joined the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC in 1999, singing Bass.  He was active for many years with GMCW, serving as Membership Chair, Vice-President and President. He has had the honor and privilege of performing at Symphony Hall (Boston), Carnegie Hall (NYC) and the Kennedy Center (DC). David worked as a choral director at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, a respected Catholic Church in Baltimore. Professionally, he works as a scientist, professor, and author at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School for Engineering. David moved to the Coachella Valley in 2016 and is extremely excited to be singing Bass with Modern Men.

PETER KOSTROBALA | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Peter is a career Information Technology professional with over thirty years in the field, the last 11 as a C-level consultant with Ernst & Young, CapGemini USA and independent contracts. He has volunteered, often in leadership positions, for most of his adult life. While mostly for theatrical companies in the earlier years (production and tech), he has also volunteered at DAP Health and AAP offering IT, organizational and logistical expertise. More recently he served as Board Member and Treasurer for Let’s Kick A.S.S. Palm Springs, and is in the final six months of his term as Vice President with Palm Springs Leather Order of The Desert. His service with Modern Men features dedication, integrity and willingness to take on challenges. 

RANDY LERNER | MEMBERSHIP CHAIR

Randy served as 2nd Tenor section coordinator for San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus for 15 years and for the last three years in the same position with Modern Men. From 2014-2017 he served on the Board of Directors as VP of Membership for the Redwood Chordsmen, the Santa Rosa chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and was the recipient of the 2015 President’s Award for OutstandingService and the 2015 Espirit de Corps Award.