Festival Board of Directors

Philip Capra

Executive Director



It wasn’t until he was about 40 years of age that Philip began singing in choirs; up until that time he had little use for sacred choral music. However, after learning his first sacred anthem, “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Fauré, he was “converted.”  In the years following, he began to notice, with others, that as the culture was changing, so was the focus within many churches, their worship services and their choirs. Along with wise counsel and encouragement, Philip joined with about a half-dozen musically trained friends and helped give birth to a new community choral group, Over the Mountain Festivals. Now semi-retired, Philip has been married to Teresa since 1979 and has three grown children.

Dave Balius

Board Chairman/Webmaster



Dave is one of our founding members who has served as our Webmaster from the inception of the Festivals. He added chairing the Board beginning with the 2022–23 season. A longtime member of the Birmingham choral scene, Dave has sung with the Alabama Symphony Chorus for over 25 years and served as President of the Birmingham Concert Chorale, the predecessor of the Alabama Symphony Chorus. He has also sung with several Birmingham area churches and other choral groups. He and his wife Trisha, married the last day of 1976,  have two daughters and five grandchildren. Colossians 3:23

Rusty Chastain



A Birmingham native, Rusty has been singing for most of his life. Starting with the Ruhama Baptist Church choirs, he continued with the Warblers Club of Woodlawn High School, the University Chorale at Samford University, Independent Presbyterian, and First Presbyterian, Birmingham. While on active duty in the United States Navy, he sang with Singing City of Philadelphia. He also met Beth, his wife of over 40 years, while in Philly. They have two sons–one a US Navy vet/one a US Marine vet–and a daughter who teaches school in Georgia. Rusty began singing with OTMF in 2017. Proverbs 3:5–6

George Hodges



George returned as Board Treasurer in 2022. He is a veteran of OTM Festivals, having sung in its first concert in 2009. Soon after moving to Birmingham from Miami, Florida in 1977, George began singing with the Briarwood Presbyterian Church choir and, except for a brief time living in another city, has sung with them ever since. George recently retired from Wells Fargo Bank which gives him plenty of time for the honey-do’s that Janet, his wife since 1979, has for him. They have 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.


Jan Shultz



Jan hails from Florence, Alabama, but has been in Birmingham 40 years. She was in the audience for the first Festival concert and knew then she wanted to be singing in the next one. She has sung in every concert since then. Though she has participated in church choirs since junior high, they were always small groups. Jan is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist who works at UAB. She and her husband Tim were married in 1982. They enjoy kayaking and birding. They have no children, but do have 7 rescued cats....(please, no more!)

Festival Planning Committee

Cathy Henry



Cathy started her music journey early in life singing with her father and ‘Uncle’ Jim as they plunked on their banjos on family vacations in Pennsylvania. Soon after she began singing in the youth choir at church. Since then she has always sung with a church choir, the last twelve years at Riverchase United Methodist Church. She sang for several years with Cahaba Chorale under the direction of Dr. Michael Meeks. She performed at Carnegie Hall with one of Terre Johnson’s pilgrimages there. Cathy has been married to Bill for 41 years. They have three adult children and one cat.

Paul West



Paul has been with OTM since the 2018 season. His choral experience began as a young boy with the Columbus (GA) Boys Choir and continued with the Jacksonville State University A Cappella Choir, Church chancel choirs at Trinity and  Eastminster Presbyterian, and currently with the Trussville First United Methodist Chancel Choir. He also began playing trombone in junior high school and now enjoys playing with the Kings of Swing, the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, Celebration Winds, and a small brass ensemble Brass4HIM. Now retired, he enjoys working in the yard and tinkering on various home projects. Paul and his wife, Joanne, have been married since 1987 and reside in Trussville.

Kay Harris

Spiritual Care


Kay has been singing since she was a little girl. One of the highlights of her singing was being a part of the Samford University A Cappella Choir during college and she joined the alumni choir on two tours of Germany. The first time she heard the OTM choir, she knew she wanted to be part of the group. She loves the harmony of choral music. Kay has been married to David since 1973. They have two children and two grandsons.

In Memoriam

Gaston White


Over the Mountain Festivals board member Paul Gaston White, 93, of Birmingham, passed away November 2, 2023. Gaston was a founding member who first discussed the concept of Over the Mountain Festivals with Philip in the Spring of 2008. Even upon retirement he remained an invaluable resource, advisor, and faithful friend of the Festival who was designated as a Board of Directors Emeritus.


Gaston was born July 10, 1930 to Mary Ellen Grant White and Henry Paul White. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1953 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He married Eva Frances Clapp in 1951 and together they had four children. After serving in the Air Force 1954–56, he returned to Birmingham and worked for Rust Engineering, Simons Eastern, and Southern Company Services during his long and distinguished career. He was an instructor for Industrial Ventilation Conferences for over 40 years.


His avocation of choral conducting led him to interim positions in several churches in the Birmingham area. In those years he also sang with many choral groups. In addition to serving on the founding board of Over the Mountain Choral Festivals he was a Vice Chairman of the National Sacred Harp Convention. He participated in his church (Briarwood Presbyterian PCA) serving in many positions including elder. He expressed his love of his Savior and sacred choral music participating in four music mission trips to Odessa, Ukraine.


Gaston's other interests included travel, photography, crossword puzzles, fine restaurants, Alabama football, and telling a good story.


He was preceded in death by his wife, Eva Frances Clapp White; his siblings David Michael White and Eva Judith White Duncan; his parents Mary Ellen Grant White and Henry Paul White. Surviving are his four children: Paul Gaston White, Jr. (Joan); Eva Denise White Richardson (Guy); Mary Ellen White Whitehurst (A.D.); Julie White; four granddaughters: Eva Katherine Richardson Moore (Nathan); Joy Fleming Richardson; Mary Rose Vaillancourt Lane (Sean); Sarah Ellen Greta Wolfe; and one great-granddaughter: Eva Charlotte Moore. Gaston is buried at Southern Heritage Cemetery and is greatly missed by those of us at the Festival.


Jim Roy


Over the Mountain Festivals bid farewell to James S. Roy (Jim) on June 20, 2020. A founding member, Jim was one of the Festival’s staunchest supporters, serving on the Board of Directors and in many other capacities as a non-singer: in support of his singing wife, Margaret, and through his faithful monetary support. He was one of a small group of individuals from the beginning that helped make the Festivals possible, and he is greatly missed.


Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas on June 28, 1935 to his parents, Sarah Spencer Roy and Kenneth Bennett Roy, Jim is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Margaret Howard Roy of Birmingham, AL; his two sons, Kenneth B. Roy III (Carla) of Arley, AL; and James Spencer Roy Jr. of Opelika, AL; one grandson, Nathan Thomson; and one brother, Kenneth B. Roy, Jr. of Anniston, AL.


Jim’s attention to detail was his strength and was made manifest in his insistence that our concerts be undergirded by an orchestra of Alabama’s finest musicians. He faithfully reached out to his associates and friends for their support setting the example with his and Margaret’s generous giving.


To remember Jim’s contributions to Over the Mountain Festivals, the Board of Directors has voted to establish the James S. Roy Musicians Fund. The money directed to this fund will help maintain the high quality of music professionals that have served this organization so well over the years.


Don Voss


Donald Lee Voss (Don) of Birmingham passed away on September 8, 2020. Don served faithfully on the Board of Directors and as our Director of Spiritual Care for many years. He was a constant source of encouragement and prayerful support. His passing leaves us diminished, though enriched by his contributions while with us.


Left to cherish his memory is his beloved wife of over 54 years, Joan Cooper Voss; daughters, Amy Voss Monahan (Michael) and Ginny Voss Matthews (Alan); seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is also survived by his brothers, Michael Voss of Grand Haven, MI and Greg Voss (Gayle) of Milford, MI, along with many nieces and nephews.


Don was a talented instrumentalist but singing is what he loved to do most. Among the choral groups in which he participated was the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Adult Choir, Faith Presbyterian Church Choir, and of course, the Over the Mountain Festivals Choir. In addition to the joy he received from singing, he also treasured the relationships he built with the different directors he sang under during the 12 years he sang with Over the Mountain Festivals.


To acknowledge and remember Don’s service to its organization, the OTM Festivals Board of Directors has voted to establish the Donald Lee Voss Directors Fund. The money directed to this fund will help maintain the high quality of artistic directors that has served this organization so well over the years.


John Holcomb


John Veto Holcomb, born on January 30, 1952, in Birmingham, Alabama, passed away on October 22, 2021, at the age of sixty-nine. John was preceded in death by his parents, Veto Holcomb and Joe P. Holcomb, and his sister JoAnn Holcomb Gaylord. He is survived by his loving wife Rosemary E. Holcomb, his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren.

John was a 1970 graduate of Woodlawn High School and a 1974 graduate of Auburn University. He was known as a “salesman of the first order” and was a long-time employee of Metro Trailer in Pelham, Alabama. He enjoyed fishing, reading, photography, and spending time with family and friends. He was a faithful servant of his church, Cahaba Springs Presbyterian, where he sang in the choir and served as an Elder. He also enjoyed singing in the choir and serving as Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Over the Mountain Festivals.

John was also a faithful servant of Alcoholics Anonymous and freely shared his personal story with countless others as a message of hope. At the heart of this message was a lesson to “die to self” and take it “one day at a time.” Community, service, and fellowship were important to John. He volunteered at the Jimmy Hale Mission, a homeless shelter in downtown Birmingham, and would often give people a ride to church from JHM on Sundays. John is and will continue to be greatly missed!



Print | Sitemap
© 2023 Over the Mountain Festivals, Inc.