Kelly Ruggirello has led the Long Beach Symphony – celebrating its 88th season - since March, 2013. During her tenure, the Long Beach Symphony has enjoyed tremendous growth and financial stability. Located in one of the most diverse communities in the nation, including the nation’s largest Cambodian population, under Kelly’s leadership, the Symphony launched new, artistic collaborations celebrating the varied musical artistry throughout the region. With the hiring of Music Director Eckart Preu, now in his 6th season, Southern Californians enjoy a Classical series at the 3,000-seat Terrace Theater and a Pops series at the 5,000-seat Long Beach Arena. A former music educator, Kelly launched a new Family Concert series which augments the Symphony’s robust commitment to music education, including busing 12,000 students annually for concerts at the Terrace Theater and a popular school ensemble concert series, serving a total of 60,000 community members annually.
In recognition of her transformative work, the Symphony won the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Award for Outstanding Non-profit in 2015 and Ms. Ruggirello won Mayor Garcia’s Go Long Beach Award in 2016, the award for outstanding arts management by the Arts Council for Long Beach and the NAACP Founders Award, both in 2017. In June of 2018, Ms. Ruggirello won the 40 Inspiring Leaders Award by the Nonprofit Center of Southern California. Dedicated to a thriving cultural landscape for all arts organizations in the region, Ms. Ruggirello was appointed by Mayor Garcia to the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force commission resulting in the City Council approval of a world-class amphitheater, aka “The Summer Home of the Long Beach Symphony” on Queen Mary Island.
Formerly the President & CEO of the nationally-renowned Pacific Chorale in Orange County, during her nine-year tenure she achieved an 86% increase in contributed revenue and a 50% increase in ticket revenue. Under her leadership, the Chorale relocated to the world-class Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, produced seven recordings, commissioned nine world premieres, won the highly coveted ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and operated with a balanced budget for seven consecutive years. During her tenure, Ms. Ruggirello was nominated for the 2013 Women in Business Award by the Orange County Business Journal.
Previously serving as Vice President of Development, Marketing and Public Relations of the Orange County School of the Arts, Ms. Ruggirello raised over $39 million during her tenure, including a $25 million capital campaign. A former teacher and arts mentor for Downey USD where she won Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years, she also has held positions with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, both from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Dedicated to strengthening orchestras and arts managers, Ms. Ruggirello served as President of the Board of Directors of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras and was a faculty member for the national service organizations, Chorus America and the League of American Orchestras. Having raised nearly $80 million during her career, she actively consults with local and national orchestras and choruses and serves as a presenter at state and national conferences. Committed to community service, she is a Rotarian and was elected once again as Vice President of the Long Beach Rotary in 2022/2023. She has been a proud Long Beach resident for over 35 years with her two children.
Vice President of Finance
(562) 436-3203 ext. 236
Samuel (Sammy) Balimbin brings over 20 years of extensive and diverse experience in financial reporting, analysis, forecasting, budgeting, cash management, auditing, internal controls, and tax for non-profit, public, and privately owned companies. He began his career in entertainment in a variety of roles, culminating in Head of Finance and Corporate Controller at Digital Domain, an Academy Award winning digital production studio. After his tenure in entertainment, he joined the J. Paul Getty Trust where he transitioned his career to align with his passion for non-profit. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Applied Science-Mathematics/Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sammy holds a lifelong love of classical music, in large part due to the Long Beach Symphony. As a fifth grader, he received his first experience of a professional orchestra through the Long Beach Symphony’s Youth Concerts program. A Long Beach resident of over 30 years, Samuel is an avid fly-fisherman, amateur photographer, and musician.
Vice President of Development
(562) 436-3203 ext. 226
Christina Hall joins Long Beach Symphony as Vice President of Development after serving as the Director of Development for the CSULB College of the Arts. She brings a successful career of over twenty years in fundraising and development. Prior to CSULB, Christina served the Los Angeles Philharmonic as senior major gifts officer.
Christina sees her role as a matchmaker: connecting those who want to support the arts with funding opportunities in the arts. She has raised millions of dollars—across the arts, healthcare, and higher education—working directly with individual donors, foundations, and corporations, utilizing special event models, and successfully managing annual and leadership giving programs.
Christina’s professional practice is committed to diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and accessibility (DEI&A) across all facets of development, fundraising, arts programming, and stakeholder engagement. Through her DEI&A work, Christina understands that her role as a development professional is to secure funding to help break down financial and systemic barriers and to amplify the transformative power of the arts and social justice so that everyone who wishes can access the beauty and power of the arts—in all its forms.
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from Arizona State University. In 2013, she moved to Long Beach where she met her husband through their mutual passion for sailing. When not on the water, they can be found enjoying their backyard with family, including their beloved rescue mutt and kitten.
Vice President of Operations & Education
(562) 436-3203 ext. 228
Issy Farris has served as Vice President of Operations & Music Education for the Long Beach since 2017. She served as the Director of Special Events & Education in 2016. She started her tenure with the organization as the Manager of Operations & Education in 2014. Each season she produces each of the Symphony’s Classical, Pops, and Education concerts. She also oversees LBSA’s extensive music education programs reaching over 27,000 students each year. Mrs. Farris implemented the Symphony’s Educators Advisory Council with LBUSD to work with teachers to create music integrated core curriculum lesson plans accessible online. She also started the Symphony’s internship program in partnership with Cal State Long Beach Bob Cole Conservatory.
Issy served on the Long Beach Music Council where she was a founding member of Make Music Long Beach, part of the international celebration of music. She has been a member of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras since 2006, serving in a variety of roles including session speaker, peer forum leader and as conference host.
Issy grew up on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo where she started her careen with in Arts Administration at the San Luis Obispo Symphony in 2005. By the age of 21 she climbed the ranks to Director of Operations for the San Luis Obispo Symphony and Youth Symphony. During her 9-year tenure at SLOS she started a successful internship program with Cal Poly State University Music Department. She produced a recording of Glosas commissioned from Grammy Award Winning Composer Craig Russel and performed by famed Spanish Guitarist Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey. She managed youth symphony tours to Vancouver B.C., Chicago, Copley Hall in San Diego, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. She also launched a high school music camp called the Summer String Workshop at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, CA.
Her background in choral music inspired her love for the performing arts and arts education. When not producing concerts and putting instruments in the hands of cute little kids she enjoys being outdoors with her husband and two big dogs, or anything to do with the ocean, especially fishing and diving.
Director of Donor Relations
(562) 436-3203 ext. 222
John Cross oversees all Long Beach Symphony special events inclusive of our annual gala, Crescendo, the December Golf Classic, and our newest annual event, Twilight on the Green. Working closely with the Development team, John also focuses on increasing the Symphony’s financial support through the strategic growth of the Annual Fund.
John brings a wide variety of experience to the Long Beach Symphony. He began his career as Athletics Ticket Manager at Western Michigan University, then spent nearly 20 years in ticketing and fundraising software sales at Irvine-based, Paciolan Inc. With a focus on selling solutions to college and university performing arts and athletics departments as well as other independent performing arts organizations, John also played an integral role in the expansion and implementation of Paciolan software into markets as far away as Asia - helping to open the Singapore Sports Hub, a multi-venue sports complex. More recently, John got his first taste in working for a non-profit with Great Minds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), overseeing business development for MentorNet, an online mentoring service aimed at supporting first-generation and under-represented students pursuing a STEM college degree.
John grew up in Fairborn, Ohio and received both a Bachelor of Science and Master's degree from The Ohio State University. He has resided in Long Beach for many of the last 30 years and loves great music, sports, travel and an occasional glass of wine.
Manager of Sales
(562) 436-3203 ext. 232
Florita Davis is the woman to speak with when you want tickets for Classical or POPS! concerts. She personifies the Symphony's "welcoming spirit." Florita says: "I'm fun-loving, strong and, at times, a force to be reckoned with! My nickname around here is Flojo because I'll go the extra mile for our patrons. I love to fish, eat and hang out with my family and friends. If you ever need me, just holler, "Hey, Flojo!" Florita crossed the incredible milestone of 30 years with the Long Beach Symphony this season!
Manager of Operations & Education
(562) 436-3203 ext. 224
Allison Mamann is thrilled to say the Long Beach Symphony has given her her first full-time job! After graduating from California State University Long Beach with a B.A. in Theatre in 2016, she consistently freelanced in live entertainment in all positions ranging from Stage Manager to Prop Master to Electrician. Allison has gained experience working at La Mirada Performing Arts Theatre, The Long Beach Playhouse, The Norris Theatre, The Geffen Playhouse, FivePoint Amphitheatre, and the Little Fish Theatre. During the pandemic she worked a few TV shows as a COVID Compliance Officer, including “Undercover Boss”, “The Real World: Homecoming”, “RuPaul: Secret Celebrity Drag Race”, and “Surviving R. Kelly”. Allison happily resides in Long Beach.
(562) 436-3203 ext. 220
Petrina Walker has lived in Long Beach for most of her life, and she is delighted to work for the Long Beach Symphony Association. She brings three decades of vocational experience to the Symphony, having worked in the fields of banking, education, and library technology. Before joining the Symphony, her last job was temping at City Hall, where she discovered her love for Long Beach and her desire to serve the people in it.
A singer from infancy, Petrina’s greatest joy is singing in the Orange County Women’s Chorus. She loves to listen to many kinds of music, from Gregorian chant to classical to modern film scores. When she isn’t riding a Long Beach Bike Share bike to or from work or church, she is spending time at home with her family.
(562) 436-3203 ext. 231
Orchestra Personnel Manager
Carrie Holzman-Little has been a busy free-lance violist here in Southern California for the past 30 years. She received a Bachelor of Arts from University of California at Santa Barbara. Carrie has been the assistant principal violist of the Pasadena Symphony for 25 years. She coaches the viola section of PYSO, Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra. She also coaches the viola section for VYMA, Verdugo Young Musician’s Association. Carrie has been a member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since its inception. She is the Personnel Manager for the Long Beach Symphony as well as the Orchestra Santa Monica and hires musicians for churches and other small groups as well. Carrie also teaches private viola lessons and plays on soundtracks for movies and television. In her spare time, she likes to compete in triathlons. Carrie lives in a 100-year-old house in Pasadena with her cellist husband, Dane Little and a 21 year cat named Yammy.
Assistant Stage Manager