About the NMF

Board of Directors

The mission of the National Music Festival at Washington College is to present world-class celebrations of music and to provide affordable arts education and entertainment year round; as well as to foster economic development by contributing to the greater Kent County community as an arts and entertainment destination on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

More information about the OuterArts Maryland, Inc. Board of Directors:

Board Members

Sandra L. Ryon, Chair

Sandy moved to Chestertown four years ago from Bucks County, PA. Music has always been an important part of her life. She was involved with the Philharmonic of Northeastern, PA and the Riverside Symphonia in Lambertville, NJ. She has numerous children and grandchildren who she loves spending time with. She also enjoys needlepoint, gardening, cooking, and reading. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of the National Music Festival since its first season in Chestertown.

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Robert Emling, Vice Chair

Robert Emling has been a Board member of the Lower Merion (PA) library, and the Chester River Yacht and Country Club since 1991. During that time he has served as Vice Commodore, Commodore, member of the House Committee, Yachting Committee, and chair of the Pool Committee, Vice President Board of Directors, and is the current Director of the new Chester River Sailing School located at the waterfront. During 2007 and 2008 he served as President of the Lions Club. He and a partner headed up the year-long celebration of the 300th Birthday of Chestertown, MD with a committee of 40 people, and received the Key to Chestertown from Maryland’s Governor.Professionally, he has a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky and is former Assistant Dean of Admissions and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine. He is a founder and the current Senior Editor of the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, and a member of the American Association of Dental Research, the International Association of Dental Research, and the American Association of Dental Editors. He has published over 70 academic articles and a textbook in its 5th Edition. Bob enjoys sailing and international travel with his wife, Robin.

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Liz Gross, Treasurer

Liz Gross (treasurer) was born in England, but was transplanted to Canada as a child. She came to the U.S. in 1992, after her marriage to Grant Gross. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in oceanography from McGill University in Montreal, and taught undergraduate biology courses there, and at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia before becoming involved in the management of major international research programs in the areas of oceanography and global change. She says, “I gradually made the strange transition from scientist and teacher towards administration, and spent 20 years as the Executive Director of an international oceanographic research organization. I “retired” in 2000 and my husband Grant (also an oceanographer) and I moved to Chestertown on a full-time basis then. My volunteer and post-retirement activities have included positions as Treasurer of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, the Chester River Chorale and the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown, where I now work part-time as Financial Specialist. My retirement from a hectic schedule of international business travel allowed me to develop my love of music, in particular choral music, as a member of the soprano section of the Chester River Chorale. Grant and I have a widely-scattered merged family of 5 children and an increasing number of grandchildren. We love Chestertown and music and are committed to the success of the National Music Festival here.”

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Georgiana Evans

Georgiana Evans was born and raised in Princeton, NJ. She has spent every summer of her 74 years in her grandparents’ house on the Chester River, outside of Centreville. Upon retirement, she and her husband, Alfie Evans, moved permanently to Centreville and became involved with the Festival, hosting the same family for four years. While raising her three children in Englewood, she ran for mayor, chaired the planning board for nine years and served on many local boards, including a nature center and Planned Parenthood of Bergen Country. After the children left  the nest, she ran four campaigns for Congressman Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) and when not campaigning, she was his office manager and chief fundraiser. Her final job was PR Director for a local contractor in Fort Lee, NJ. She also chaired the Planning Board for five years in that town. Her hobbies are reading while listening to music, knitting, and swimming. Her involvement with NMF has expanded her knowledge of classical music.

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W. Dorsey Hammond

We are pleased to welcome Dorsey to the Festival Board! His photo and bio will be posted soon.

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Sue Matthews

Sue Matthews. As a ‘standards’ jazz vocalist, Sue Matthews has been delighting audiences in Kent County as well as around the Globe, for over 30 years. Her 8 full-length record releases have garnered the attention and praise of both national and international audiences and published critics. Her silky smooth croon and infectious vitality have entertained audiences in top jazz clubs, concert halls and music festivals around the world: Calgary Philharmonic, Annapolis Symphony, Tampa Symphony and NYC’s Town Hall; for Sofitel, performances in Amsterdam, Holland and Buenos Aires, Argentina; a ‘Fly-On’ Entertainer for the Carnival Cruise Lines; T.V. appearances; National and International Music Festivals, ie: Clifden Artsweek in County Galway, Ireland, The Saluzzo Music Festival, Italy, Rehoboth Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, The Chestertown Jazz Festival, Berks Jazz Festival, The W.C. Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Artist In Residence for the Augusta Festival. Ms. Matthews self-produced shows to highlight the lives and music of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Richard Rogers, Gershwin, Porter, Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen and Sinatra have become a favorite of her fans and performance venues.

Presenting such a showcase at the W.C. Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama, “…from extraordinary vocalist Sue Matthews with pianist Robert Redd… a musical biography of Johnny Mercer that was to my taste, one the finest conceived and most beautifully executed and transporting tributes one could hope to hear.” –Just Guitar No. 78.

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Jane Jewell

Jane Jewell has been the Executive Director of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. She is married to writer Peter Heck.

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Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is currently serving as board member and marketing committee chairperson for the National Music Festival. In January of 2015 and again in 2016 he organized and led the NMF board in the development and revision of the organization’s strategic plan.

Robert has been active in a number of community organizations. He has been a mentor to Kent County Public School teachers and administrators for the past six years. For the past four years he has served as a children’s sailing instructor during sailing camp at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club. His interest in boats and service attracted him to membership in the Coast Guard Auxiliary where he served as a boat safety instructor, taught the Maryland Safe Boating Course, and was a Commander of the Chestertown flotilla.

His hobbies include sailing, photography, travel, SCUBA diving and hiking. He is an active member of the Chestertown Photography Club and the Tidewater Camera Club in Easton.

Robert spent his professional career in education. He taught junior high and high school social studies for ten years and for the next twenty-seven years was a high school assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent in school districts in the Pittsburgh area. He has extensive leadership experience in Pennsylvania and nationwide and holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Robert lives with his wife Jeanne in Chestertown. They have two grown sons, Todd, who lives in the DC area with his wife and two children; and Drew, who lives in Yangon, Myanmar.

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Deborah “Debbie” Nevins

Deborah “Debbie” Nevins, her husband and two children lived all their life in the Philadelphia suburbs. She worked in business at Whitman’s Chocolates and in the family business. She enjoys all sports including golf, tennis, boating, skiing, and is presently a member of the Rock Hall Garden Club. She sang with The Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Her past experience in Development has been at the Baldwin School Board, the Berkshire School and Philadelphia Orchestra. Upon retirement in 2005, Debbie and Tiff moved to Rock Hall. She joined The Chester River Chorale in 2006 and then joined their Board in 2007. She has been Development Chair of the Chorale for the past five years. Last season she served as Housing and Volunteer Chairman for The National Music Festival and is looking forward this year to another wonderful season with the Festival.

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Caitlin Patton

Caitlin Patton received her Master of Public Administration degree at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where she focused her studies in Arts and Nonprofit Administration. She was the graduate assistant in the Arts Management program, where she worked on graduate student recruitment and with the Charleston Jazz Initiative. Upon her graduation, she was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national public administration honor society, and received the MPA program’s Outstanding Student Award in recognition of her 4.0 cumulative GPA and involvement in the MPA community. She was admitted to Washington College at the age of 15 and graduated magna cum laude four years later with majors in Humanities and Music and minors in Creative Writing and English. Both during and after college, she taught violin and horseback riding lessons and trained horses professionally. Her arts administration experience includes positions with Spoleto Festival USA, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (at the Tanglewood Music Center) and as the first Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Her training includes a Professional Certificate in Arts Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Arts Extension Service, and the Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar at the League of American Orchestras. Caitlin serves on the music grant review panel of the Maryland State Arts Council, and on the Boards of Directors of the Chester River Chorale and the Humane Society of Kent County.

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Richard Rosenberg

Richard Rosenberg is the artistic director of the National Music Festival and the Union Symphony Orchestra. Previous music directorships include the Corpus Christi Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of California, the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony, Hot Springs Music Festival and the Pennsylvania Ballet. He also served on the conducting staffs of the Baltimore Symphony, the Oakland Symphony, the London Classical Players and the Aspen Music Festival, and as Acting Director of Orchestras at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As a guest conductor, Mr. Rosenberg has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, Miami City Ballet, and symphony orchestras and ballet companies throughout the United States, Europe and South America. His upcoming engagements include concerts with the Kaerntner Symphony Orchestra, The Festival Música nas Montanhas, the Bahia Blanca Symphony and the Vancouver Island Symphony. Mr. Rosenberg’s teachers include Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Sir Roger Norrington. He has recorded ten compact discs of American music for the Naxos Records label, and has produced several CDs for the Yale School of Music and with jazz legend Dave Brubeck. He has taught at the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning.

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Mary Anne Shea-Reynolds

Mary Anne Shea-Reynolds spent her professional career in Washington, D.C. working in both the private and public sectors focusing on matters relating to health and human services. She served as a Senior Aide to Cabinet Secretaries at HHS as well as Director of Scheduling and Special Projects. She currently spends time pursuing her interest in the decorative arts, traveling and volunteering for various charities.

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Laura Lewis Wade

Laura Lewis Wade: “Retiring after 10 years as an administrative assistant in the Washington, D.C. office of a major financial services corporation and then buying a second home in Chestertown, Maryland, in 1995 was the beginning of a new life for me. While my husband and I kept an apartment in Washington, D.C. where he worked as an attorney, I became a full-time resident of Chestertown. My first project was overseeing the renovation our 109 year old home and gardens in the historic district. Once the renovation was complete, I became involved in the Chestertown community. I served on the boards of the Kent County Historical Society and the Schooner Sultana. I have served on the vestry of Shrewsbury Parish Church and I am currently a member of the Foundation for the Kent County Public Library. Becoming a member of the board of the National Music Festival means a great deal to me. My father, Arthur Lewis, was the principal trombonist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and it’s personnel manager for 25 years. I have attended symphony concerts my entire life and we currently have season tickets to the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. I am enthusiastically looking forward to serving on the National Music Festival board and with my love of classical music and Chestertown I look forward to helping make the Festival a success.”

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Dana Goode

Dana Goode, violinist, began touring and performing at age 16 as a member of a chamber ensemble under the direction of the brilliant Latvian cellist Lev Aronson. Early concert locations included the amphitheater at Carthage in Tunisia, St. Cecilia’s in Rome, and performances in Athens, Greece. The group also toured Israel and Jordan. Ms. Goode relocated to Germany to study with Dr. Guenther Kehr, founder and conductor of the Mainzer Kammerorchestor. While a member of the Staedtisches Orchester Mainz, she continued her studies at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. After returning to the U.S., she completed a Bachelor of Music degree while studying at the Peabody Conservatory with Berl Senofsky, and a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance in 1986 with Mitchell Stern of the American String Quartet. Ms. Goode also holds an M.A. degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, (’91). She currently teaches and conducts at The College of Notre Dame and at Stevenson University in Brooklandville, where she is concertmaster and assistant conductor of The Greenspring Valley Symphony, led by Dr. Robert Suggs. A member for many years of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra, Ms. Goode’s extensive experience includes performing with Annapolis Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Washington Concert Opera, National Chamber Orchestra and Opera Vivente in addition to several local chamber ensembles. Her two children, ages 16 and 14, are constantly presenting new musical hurdles to be overcome.

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