About the NMF

Board of Directors

The mission of the National Music Festival 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

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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Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor graduated from St. Paul’s College with a degree in Organizational Management and later studied Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An early job as a radio announcer followed by a brief stint as a newspaper reporter launched Charles on a 37-year communications and media relations career encompassing the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Charles has served as a senior corporate communications representative for Pepco and Dominion Virginia Power, a government media relations manager for Arlington County, VA, and a writer at the National Association of Counties in Washington, D.C. Since retiring in Chestertown last year, Charles has immersed himself in the community and fostered his love for music by serving on the county’s Social Action Committee, the Marketing Committee of the National Music Festival, and by singing with the Chester River Chorale.  He also plays the bassoon.

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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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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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Robert Johnson, Chair

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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Jeff Weber

Jeff Weber spent most of his professional career in the field of investment banking, where he provided investment management services to institutional funds such as endowments,  pension plans, trusts, charities and mutual funds. He also founded three businesses; two of them, SEC registered investment advisory firms, and a computer consulting/management company. Jeff was also an Honorary Lecturer for the University of Liverpool, where he taught graduate economics, finance and investments to online students throughout the world. Jeff, and his wife, Kathy, vacationed around the Eastern Shore for many years, and the move here from Central Pennsylvania, after retirement, was an easy choice. Chestertown is also a close drive to the Philadelphia area, where their son resides. Jeff serves on the boards of Main Street Chestertown and the Garfield, and is a photography/videography hobbyist. Jeff’s educational background includes undergraduate and MBA degrees from The Ohio State
University. In addition to other professional designations, Jeff earned and is currently  credentialed as a Chartered Financial Analyst by the CFA Institute.

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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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Shelby Strudwick

After 35 years in San Francisco, Shelby Strudwick purchased a house and moved to Chestertown to be closer to her mother who lives in Heron Point. While in San Francisco, Shelby was active in all areas of fund raising in her children’s schools. When they went off to college she shifted her focus to a personal passion: The San Francisco Ballet. In the years that she was in the ballet auxiliary, she enjoyed running the operations of the ballet’s opening night Gala. The Gala is one of the highlights of the San Francisco social scene: a black tie and
cocktails sit-down dinner for 1,200 and a post performance party for 3,500 attendees. In 2015, Shelby was the Gala Chair of this event. Under her leadership, the Gala became a sold-out event for the first and only time in its history. Every ticket level was sold out a month before the event. Shelby is, rightfully, very proud of this accomplishment. In 2016, when Shelby moved to Chestertown she was asked to be on the Yachting and House Committees of the Chester River Yacht and Country Club. She is also a member of the Special Events Committee for the Sultana Foundation. Shelby has hosted National Music Festival musicians for the last two summers and is thrilled to maintain her connections with these musicians whom she admires and adores. She looks forward to Board membership as a privilege. She feels that it would afford her an opportunity to work with a group of people with whom she has great respect, people such as Laura Wade and Sandy Ryan who have made the National Music Festival a special part of Kent County culture and history.

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Michelle Humphreys

Michelle Humphreys, timpani & percussion, teaches at Towson University, where she will advance to the position of Assistant Professor of Percussion this fall. She is principal percussionist with Opera Lafayette of Washington, D.C. and performs regularly with many of the region’s top early music and modern ensembles including Washington Bach Consort, New Music Ensemble at Towson University, Folger Consort, National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare of Philadelphia, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, National Music Festival Orchestra and Chesapeake Orchestra at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Highlights of recent seasons include Michael Daugherty’s Concerto for Timpani and Wind Ensemble, Raise the Roof, and a performance with the Maryland Band Directors Band of James Curnow’s Concertino for Solo Percussionist. Also a versatile performer on early music percussion, Humphreys was recently featured on several Spanish Baroque chamber music programs, including The Bach Sinfonia’s Nuevo Mundo Barroco and Harmonious Blacksmith’s Music of the Iberian Peninsula.

Recent seasons have included performances at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Royal Opera at the Palace of Versailles, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington National Cathedral, Cornell University, and Kenyon College, where she performed for the biennial meeting of the American Bach Society. She has recorded seven French Baroque operas with Opera Lafayette for the Naxos label, including several modern-day premieres. Notable releases include Rebel’s 1745 Zelindor, Roi de Sylphes and Monsigny’s 1762 Le Roi et le Fermier, which required creating percussion parts based on historical performance practices. She also can be heard on recent Chandos recordings with Philadelphia’s Tempesta di Mare, as well as DC-based Cantate’s 2012 release of Andrew Simpson’s Crown of Stars, and Patrick Roulet’s 2012 CD, Michael Colgrass Percussion Music 1951-1957.

Michelle is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team, a frequent clinician, and a proud endorser of Grover Pro Percussion and Zildjian cymbals.

Email: michelle@percussionpro.com

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Bruce Hartwig

Bruce Hartwig, Hospitality Committee Chairperson

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Beryl Kemp

Beryl Kemp, President, Chestertown Garden Club

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Sue Matthews

Silky smooth, honey-toned, expressive, her voice has captivated audiences and critics alike. Great American Songbook vocalist Sue Matthews first appeared in 1991, releasing the traditional jazz album Love Dances. Her smoky croon caught on with audiences and within a few years released When You’re Around, scoring another hit, achieving “top 20” berths on the Gavin and R & R Jazz Charts. Her love of interpreting the American Songbook is apparent in Matthews’ releases One At A Time and Live at The Mainstay, as she continues to garner national and international acclaim.

These offerings include jazz standards, blues, a little cabaret and traditional pop, “… a well chosen repertoire, allied as it is to the singer’s unerring ability to find exactly the right approach to each song, and then to deliver it meaningfully” (Jazz Journal International), “…her laid back effortless delivery and smoky voice is something to be savoured and enjoyed… a jazz vocalist deserving more attention on both sides of the Atlantic” (The South Wales Evening Post).

Stepping out of the Jazz genre, Matthews recorded an album of contemporary Irish ‘pop’ songs with the Irish Champion Harpist, Lynn Saoirse. They are accompanied by top Irish musicians on the release, L’annmoor. ….haunting, graceful, a listener’s pure delight.

Matthews’ performance credits include top Mid-Atlantic jazz clubs, concert halls, jazz festivals and television studios.

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Turner Smith

Turner Smith comes to Chestertown and Kent County from Baltimore, where he has been campaign chair of the Peabody Institute of Music, president of the South Charles Investment Corporation and vice-chair Anthony Deering, president and CEO of The Rouse Company.  He has also been closely affiliated with the Friends School of Baltimore, Centerstage and WC-All.  Mr. Smith is also an accomplished guitarist.

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