Who We Are

Steering Committee


Sara Hess, Chair, is retired from a 35-year career in Ithaca, working in social work, youth services, and early childhood education.  For the past 10 years, she also served as Financial Manager for the non-profit organization, Social Ventures (the fiscal sponsor for CompassionHarp) and is active in many social and environmental justice groups. Above Sara’s desk a sign reminds her:  “Love is all there is. – Rumi and Bob Dylan”





Camille Tischler, Secretary/Treasurer, work life included co-founding a socialist-feminist bookstore and art gallery, Finance and Personnel Director of Planned Parenthood, and being a self-employed program evaluator, and public and private mediator. She has also enjoyed volunteering on the Ithaca City School Board,at the Advocacy Center, and Loaves and Fishes. Camille believes that Compassion Harp embodies love, harmony and beauty, bringing all three to those at the threshold of the tangible and intangible worlds.




Kate Potteiger served as Planned Parenthood CEO during the 1980’s and as a manager in Cornell’s Development office for 18 years. She was recruited to serve on the Compassion Harp advisory board by her friend Camille. Since then, Kate has been inspired by Jayne’s work and the commitment of Compassion Harp to bring therapeutic harp and “music as medicine” to underserved populations.





Rev. Tim Dean is the Director of Spiritual Care at Cayuga Medical Center where he has worked as chaplain since 2007, and currently chairs the Ethics Committee. He is a third generation minister who was raised in Massachusetts, with family roots in Tennessee. A graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, and Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Tim describes himself as a “Baptist with Buddhist leanings.” Tim’s personal interests include serving as an instructor for Cornell Outdoor Education (hiking, paddling, XC skiing), and on his own time he’s learning to sail through the unpredictable winds of Cayuga Lake.




Cynthia Lunine brings an eclectic mix of experience to the community of Ithaca: Abilene Christian University, BA in Art; MLa (Landscape Architecture) from the University of Arizona; an aerospace career ranging from sheetmetal assembly to product assurance engineering; volunteer work as ski patroller, EMT and firefighter, land use activist. She now volunteers with Hospicare, is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Paul’s UMC, practices meditation, engages in visual design activities, study of piano and voice, and local amateur performing. Support of local organizations that emphasize music and healing is a priority.




Special Adviser: Dr Michael Eisman, Director of Medical Staff, Seneca Skilled Nursing facility



CompassionHarp Practitioners:

Jayne Demakos, CTHP, Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner, provides therapeutic harp and voice in health care facilities in Central New York. Jayne is a certified Therapeutic Harp practitioner at Hospicare and Palliative Care Services in both Tompkins and Cortland Counties. She studied Contemplative Musicianship and Music Thanatology (music for the dying) with Therese Schroeder-Sheker and is a candidate for certification in Music Thanatology through the Music Thanatology Association International. She studied Gregorian chant with Musica Sacra: Church Music Association of America as well as through her studies in Music Thanatology where Gregorian chant is part of the core repertoire. She has performed widely in many venues across the Southern Tier including the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts Summer Concert Series at Cornell University. Jayne consulted and performed for the World Conference of Religions and two Ithaca Interfaith Services honoring the Dalai Lama of Tibet. She has released two CDs: “Hush, for Harp and Voice”, and “Beauty Crowds Me: An Homage to Beauty”, a collaboration between Hospicare and the Ithaca College Music Department and the Gerontology Institute. Whether as singer, pianist, harpist, teacher, or director, Jayne strives to create an environment by which we can feel our humanness more deeply.



Pamela Goddard, CTHP 2018, Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner, provides therapeutic harp and voice in health care facilities in Central New York. She has worked as an historian, musician, educator, writer, and municipal town clerk. Pamela has expanded her studies into Contemplative Care, completing the Foundations of Contemplative Care course through the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Pamela has also been a performing musician with two CDs to her credit: As Time Draws Near (American traditional songs) and Quietness (meditative and spiritual music). She has performed at venues and music festivals across New York and New England. In each of these roles, Pamela strives to build connection and understanding. Her motto is, “When words fail, music speaks.”




Our Sponsor

Social Ventures, Inc. a not-for-profit that helps individuals who work on social justice issues. Social Venture’s mission is to address the various needs of our community, especially those resulting from racism and poverty, as they affect young people and adults. CompassionHarp has a not-for-profit status under the umbrella of Social Ventures.