Foundation Staff


Chris Lewis
Executive Director


Chris Lewis is Executive Director of the Great American Songbook Foundation, a role he assumed in January 2017 after five years as Director of Programs. He oversees all the organization’s activities, including management of the Songbook Archives & Library, the Songbook Exhibit Gallery, the Songbook Hall of Fame and all educational and outreach programming. 


During his tenure, Lewis has spearheaded the national expansion of the Foundation’s most prominent education program, the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive, as well as the development of Perfect Harmony, a research-based program of therapeutic musical activities designed for people living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.  Lewis also cultivated the Foundation’s relationship with the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®, which now recognizes the Foundation as one of its five Cultural Affiliates around the world.


An accomplished musician with professional vocal experience, Lewis holds a master's degree in education from Mercy College and has worked as a history teacher and special education liaison for the New York City Department of Education. He earned a graduate certificate in nonprofit executive leadership through the IUPUI School of Philanthropy and is a graduate of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy.  Lewis is a member of the Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators, the National Association of Music Educators, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Jazz Education Network and the Recording Academy.

Lisa Lobdell


Archivist Lisa Lobdell has had a life-long interest in preserving and organizing things dating back to her childhood when she used rainy days to reorganize her coloring books and games. She worked in banking, manufacturing, and property management prior to returning to her first love. She joined the Great American Songbook Foundation in May 2010 after completing her graduate degrees in library science and history.


Since joining the Songbook Foundation, she has moved the collections twice, provided input on the design of office space, and serves as both head librarian and museum curator along with her archival duties. Today she oversees a team of volunteers and interns who work to make all of our collections accessible in a variety of ways to our user community.


In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her four grown children, grandchildren and friends, preferably outdoors.

Renée La Schiazza

Director of Programs

Renée La Schiazza joined the Great American Songbook Foundation in February 2018. Though a new staff member, she was no stranger to the Great American Songbook Foundation, as she was a 2012 Songbook Academy Alum and interned for the organization in 2013.  Renée holds a B.F.A. in Music Theatre and a B.A. in Arts Administration from Elon University.  She is an accomplished performing artist with experience as a professional actress, associate director/music director and choreographer at regional theaters and performance venues throughout the country.  Prior to joining the Songbook Foundation staff, Renée worked at Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina, in Marketing and Development.


Since joining the Songbook Foundation, Renée's main focus has been to grow the organization's two premier programs, the Songbook Academy and Perfect Harmony.  Additionally, she has spearheaded and designed two caregiver workshops for healthcare professionals to learn about the power of music, managed the public tours and auction of the personal property of Asherwood Estate and facilitated an international musicology conference with visiting academics from seven countries.


Marissa Nielsen
Individual Giving Officer

As someone who has dedicated her career to strategic philanthropic giving, Marissa brings to the Great American Songbook Foundation a well-rounded background in Arts, Health, Education, Environment & Civic Engagement philanthropy. Prior to joining The Great American Songbook Foundation, Marissa served as a Philanthropic Advisor for the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), managing a portfolio of over 100 donor-advised funds representing approximately $32 million. She previously worked as a graduate intern for the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and in staff positions for other community, family and private foundations.  Recently, Marissa advanced her 21/64 Certification which recognizes youth and multi-generational family philanthropy as an area of expertise.


Marissa holds a master’s degree in philanthropy from Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Spring Arbor University in Michigan. She has been active in Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and has participated in many workshops and training opportunities through American Fundraising Professionals.  


Chelsea Reynowsky
Program Coordinator


Chelsea Reynowsky joined the Great American Songbook Foundation in 2020 as the organization's Program Coordinator. After earning her M.M. in Voice Performance (2015) from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Chelsea relocated to Indianapolis and shifted her focus to humanities and research. Prior to her work with The Great American Songbook Foundation, she served in administration at Opportunities for Positive Growth, Inc., which is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of peoples with disabilities. Chelsea's work with Butler's Music First! program―a study on how personalized music affects sundowning symptoms for older adults living with Alzheimer's―provided data for future adaptations of the program. Since returning to her native city, Chelsea has created a presence in the Indianapolis music community―lending her talents to sacred music, benefit concerts, and recording sessions with Aire Born Studios.


In her personal time, Chelsea enjoys traveling the U.S. and abroad with her partner to experience culture, live music and support professional women's soccer.