Ina Shivack (born Ina Kilstein, also known as Ina Gillers)
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ina has always been grateful for the excellent education she received in the city's public university system, where she majored in English and dabbled in music, theater, education and sociology. Her early professional life encompassed varied work as a writer and editor, leading, eventually, to her position as Director of Public Relations for a major New York medical center. After serving in that capacity for several years, she broadened her area of responsibility to direct an extensive volunteer program. She spearheaded a number of innovative work/study and work readiness programs that introduced young people, recent immigrants and others joining or returning to the work force to job possibilities in the health field. She was able to secure grants for some of these programs which were used as models for other institutions. Ina has always enjoyed working collaboratively with peers, and her leadership ability has always been recognized. She has assumed key roles in just about every organization she's become involved with, becoming President of The Greater New York Association of Directors of Volunteer Services and the Hospital Public Relations Society of Great New York, among others.
In addition to her 'day job,' Ina has always had a parallel life in the performing arts. She began singing as a child and, throughout her school years, loved being part of a chorus, recognizing from an early age that 'the whole is great than the sum of its parts.' Being a member of the elite All City High School Chorus in New York City was a formative part of her life, introducing her not only to a broader range of music, but to a more diverse group of students than she met in her neighborhood high school. She loved all of it and continued her choral activities into adulthood, spending more than twenty years as a member of the renowned New York Choral Society, serving on its Board of Directors and (no big surprise here) eventually becoming President, which she often described as having a second full-time job (without pay). She learned a lot about arts administration and enjoyed a wealth of performing opportunities, singing regularly (sometimes as soloist) in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other prestigious venues, touring in foreign countries, and doing concerts and recordings with stars of the opera, pop and folk music fields, such as Jessye Norman; Samuel Ramey; Peter, Paul and Mary; Harry Belafonte; Pete Seeger and many others, and working with conducting luminaries like Robert Shaw, Eduardo Mata, Dennis Russell Davies and Leonard Bernstein.
A new chapter unfolded in 1996, when Ina and her husband, Ian, decided to move to Tucson. Ina not only continued her choral activities, but returned to the acting that she had put on hold some years before. She soon became a 'regular' with many of the town's theater companies and has appeared in comedies, dramas and musicals. She also undertook a number of volunteer activities, including service on the Arizona Supreme Court's Foster Care Review Board and educational and adoptions work with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. As a relatively new desert dweller, she enjoys exploring her beautiful new habitat through walking and hiking.
Together, Ina and Ian enjoy puzzles and word games (especially anagrams) and participating in education opportunities, many of them connected with Ian's profession, psychiatry. They are pleased that two of Ian's daughters, Judy and Nadia, have relocated to Tucson and the third, Michele, is not too far away, in Portland, Oregon.