Staff Bios

Kiran Shelat
Executive Director

Kiran Shelat is the Executive Director of Classics 4 Kids, a position she has held since 2016. Under Ms. Shelat’s leadership, Classics 4 Kids has made tremendous strides through increased grant funding, added staff positions, growth in programs, and increased community outreach and partnerships. Over the past ten years, Kiran has served in numerous leadership roles and brings a deep understanding of nonprofit management and philanthropy through positions at The American Red Cross, Jewish Family Services, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky and World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati. Kiran was a finalist for the 2018 Business Leaders Under 40 from the San Diego Business Journal. In addition to her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies from Northern Kentucky University, she as attained certificates in Nonprofit Management, Human Resource Management, and Leadership Development from the University of the Pacific.

Dana Zimbric
Artistic Director and Conductor

Dana Zimbric celebrates her 15th season as the Artistic Director and Conductor for Classics 4 Kids in 2018. As a regionally recognized expert in music education, Ms. Zimbric has presented at the Association of California Symphony Orchestra’s Annual Conference on curriculum based-educational programming and was a 2015 finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Awards. Her High School Alma Mater in Rockford, Michigan inducted Mrs. Zimbric into their Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 2014 for her work as a conductor in the field of classical music.

As guest conductor, Ms. Zimbric has led the San Diego State University Symphony Orchestra and various Honor Orchestras for the San Diego Unified School District, including the 2011 High School Honor Orchestra.

Previously, Ms. Zimbric has held conducting positions with Orchestra Nova San Diego, San Diego Youth Symphony, Avanti (Youth) Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Wisconsin Chamber and Symphony Orchestras.

She is also a frequent coach, judge, and guest conductor at festivals and schools throughout southern California. In addition to her work with Classics 4 Kids, Zimbric is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the California Chamber Orchestra in Temecula, CA. Mrs. Zimbric holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Corrine Huber
Program Coordinator

Corrine Huber joins Classics 4 Kids as the Program Coordinator. Corrine is the newest member of Classics 4 Kids, recently moving to San Diego from Richmond, VA. In Richmond, VA she worked for a small non-profit, Conexus Vision, for four years as a core member of the programs team. Corrine brings experience in customer service, partnership management, and program coordination.

As program coordinator she will work to market and expand the C4K in school workshop program to bring this music education opportunity to schools and students all over San Diego County.

Corrine attended school at James Madison University earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In high school she was also an active member of the marching band, and strongly believes in the value of music in shaping and enriching the education experience. She brings a passion for helping others and her community.

Carol Pelkner

Music Residency Instructor

What I bring to the classroom is a method for helping students connect to the music. What exactly are we hearing? How does this bring meaning to us individually? I use the marimba and at least 40 other smaller percussion instruments from the U.S. and around the world to help students hear what it is that makes up music. Students participate in abstract, hands-on activities to work with the elements of music, such as rhythm, beat, tempo, pitch, timbre and dynamics to understand the tools that composers use to assemble music and how these elements come together to bring images to our minds and thoughts and feelings to our hearts. We may be transported to another time or place, all while remaining seated in a chair in the classroom. This is the power of music.

To begin to more deeply understand rhythm, for instance, each student receives a 5″ X 5″ piece of newspaper and tears a set of long and short sounds. Each student creates something unique! We quickly realize that the sounds may have spaces of silence in between, that some of us want to arrange the sounds around a framework (beat) and that we want to hear a change in sound. The students may be inspired to shake or crumple the paper which is working with the quality of the sound, timbre. These sorts of activities gradually lead to abstract class compositions, using some of my instruments and some found objects.

I firmly believe that there is a creative musician inside of each of us. Music has brought incredible meaning and beauty to my life. The only thing better is to share it with others.

April Leslie

Music Residency Instructor

April Leslie is a San Diego native who plays the clarinets and saxophones. April received her Masters in Music from Azusa Pacific University. She is an in-demand freelance  musician both locally and internationally performing various styles and genres of music (classical, jazz, pop, etc.). Some of the groups she performs in include: the Classics Philharmonic, California Chamber Orchestra, Diversions Trio, Left Coast Quintet, JAMB, San Diego Symphony, The Saxations, The Sully Band, Stellita’s Grove, Manny Cepeda Orchestra and the Ira Liss Big Band. April also has a successful private lesson studio where she loves sharing her passion for music with her students!

David Savage

Music Residency Instructor


Bassoonist David Savage has been performing with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and musical theater groups for 40 years. In addition to bassoon and contrabassoon he also performs on other woodwind instruments, like flute, recorders, saxophone, etc. He has been a musician with Classics 4 Kids since it was founded.

Based in the San Diego area, he has performed regularly with ensembles throughout Southern California, Mexico, and Oregon. He has performed in a wide variety of musical shows, concerts, and educational venues.  His performances range from very old to very new, and from traditional, popular, and classical, to modern experimental music.

Over the years some of the groups have been the Harry Partch Ensemble, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Civic Light Opera, Lyric Opera San Diego, Orquesta Baja California, Suriver Music Festival, Oregon Coast Music Festival, South Coast Chamber Orchestra, California Chamber Orchestra, Temecula Valley Symphony, Pacific Lyric, SONOR.  In addition to the larger ensembles, there are several wind quintets and other chamber groups which have  performed extensively and recorded on O.O. Discs, CRI, Neuma,  New World Records, American Composers Forum, and Old King  Cole Productions.


Melanie Medina

Music Residency Instructor

Melanie Medina is a multi-instrumentalist currently residing in San Diego, California. While her areas of expertise are guitar and electric bass, she is also proficient in piano, ukulele, drums, and voice. Melanie started playing guitar when she was 12 on a rather questionable First Act acoustic and has not stopped since. Her musical engagements span a multitude of genres and occasions, including but not limited to musical theater, Latin jazz, R&B, rock, funk, straight-ahead jazz, blues, hot jazz, bluegrass, and even Nigerian highlife. She can be found playing in venues all around San Diego, recording guitar or bass with local bands, and helping singer-songwriters flesh out their compositions with her arranging expertise.

Melanie graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies in 2017 from San Diego State University. In addition to performing, she also teaches private music lessons and composes original music, including her song “Recently”, which will be out on February 1st. Aside from her musical endeavours, Melanie also enjoys travelling, reading, and trying new food.


Francesca Savage

Music Residency Instructor


Violin and Viola are two of the voices of Francesca Savage. She was educated at SDSU and continued her musical explorations at UCSD. She has performed orchestral and chamber music in Europe, Mexico and throughout Southern California. Her passion is helping others find their “musical” voice.


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