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 Chair 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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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 as President of the Chester River Chorale and on the board of the Animal Care Shelter for Kent County. She previously served on the music grant review panel of the Maryland State Arts Council.

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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. Recent engagements include concerts with the Kaerntner Symphony Orchestra, The Festival Música nas Montanhas, the Bahia Blanca Symphony and the Vancouver Island Symphony, The OneWorld Festival; Acadiana Symphony, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Prince George’s Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Bahí­a Blanca, Orkestra Academic Başkent, Orquestra de Câmara de Cascais e Oeiras and the Orquestra de Camara Eleazar de Carvalho, Torun, Dubrovnik, &c.

Richard’s experience includes study with composers Mario Davidovsky, Krzysztof Penderecki and Carlos Surinach; clarinet with Gervase De Peyer and Georg Hirner; theory with Charles Burkhardt, George Perle, and Carl Schacter; opera staging with Roger Brunyate and Boris Goldovsky; choral conducting with Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Robert Shaw and Elmer Thomas, and conducting apprenticeships with Eugen Jochum, Friedrich Cerha, Gerhard Samuel,  Otto Werner Mueller, Gunther Herbig, Julius Herford, Carlos Kleiber, Giuseppe Patané, Wolfgang Sawallisch (Bavarian State Opera), Jerzy Semkow and Leonard Bernstein (New York Philharmonic). He was an active participant in master classes with Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Jussi Jalas, Lorin Maazel, Julius Rudel, Sir Georg Solti and Walter Weller.

In 1988, he was awarded a Rackham Fellowship to work in Europe with Sir Roger Norrington and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. His training also includes studies at Yale University with Otto-Werner Muller, the Peabody Institute-Johns Hopkins University with Frederik Prausnitz, the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan, the Aspen Music Festival with Paul Vermel, at the City University of New York with Fritz Jahoda, Cincinnati College-Conservatory with Gerhard Samuel and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena with Franco Ferrara.

He has taught at the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning.  Maestro Rosenberg has recorded ten compact discs of American music for the Naxos Records label, including one with the National Music Festival to be released in 2020, and produced several CDs for the Yale School of Music and with jazz legend Dave Brubeck. 

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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 was born and raised in San Francisco, California. After graduation from San Jose State College, he went to work with Electronic Data Systems as a System Engineer. After moving from San Francisco to Dallas to Des Moines to Indianapolis back to San Francisco to New York and finally to Madison, Wisconsin, he began a career as an independent computer programmer on mini-computers; remember DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Wang Laboratories and Burroughs Corporation? After the micro-computer took over the market he and others began a company that was an independent supplier of IBM PCs.

After the sale of that company, his career took a divergent path. Upon entering and graduating from seminary, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister serving churches in Columbus Ohio, Oak Hill Ohio and Bethesda Maryland.

He retired in 2013 to Chestertown and is currently active as the treasurer of the town bocce league, active golfer at the country club, active pickleball player, and on the board of the National Music Festival.

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Beryl Kemp

Beryl Kemp

Graduate of Springfield College and Ohio State University.  Consultant with Probe
International prior to a 30-year career with Georgia Pacific.  Director of National Sales
and International Liaison Sales.,  
Winner of multiple awards including GP Sales Excellence Awards,  GP Sales Hall of Fame and Atlanta Ga. Woman of Achievement.  International Foodservice Manufacturers Association Award.
Led seven Business Professional Teams to Ukraine for Sales & Business Education seminars over a seven-year period.
Past President for the Chestertown Garden Club, Past Co- Director of the RiverArts Studio Tour.
Winner of State of Connecticut Greening Award,  Conservation Commissioner, Inland Wetland Commissioner, Planning and Zoning Commissioner.

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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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Susannah Chase

Susannah Chase has honed her skills in a career focused on development and management in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She was a development director at Washington College from 1999 to 2005 and has served on the College’s Alumni Council and Alumni Board. She held positions as vice president of philanthropy and partnerships, and as vice president of the US Lacrosse Foundation; executive vice president of sales and marketing for Innovative Wellness Solutions (IWS) in Baltimore; and director of development for Baltimore’s Living Classrooms Foundation. Most recently, Ms. Chase was executive director of the Maryland region of the New York–based One Love Foundation.

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