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, 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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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

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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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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