Coming to Oregon from New York City, at the suggestion of Paul Simon in 1970, Jack has been actively involved in media, musical productions and non-profit organizations. Jack conceptualized and produced the first concert series ever held in a zoological institution. “Your Zoo and All That Jazz”, held annually at the Oregon Zoo, is now in its 33rd year. This concept has now been adopted by many zoos worldwide. Jack, along with his business partner, started the Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz. In addition to hosting numerous television documentaries during his career, Jack and his wife, Jan, co-directed the statewide volunteer environmental organization, SOLV for 18 years, leading it to become one of the largest volunteer non-profits in the Pacific Northwest. Jack has been accorded the Oregon Statesman Award, the Portland First Citizen Award and has received an Honorary Doctorate from Pacific University for his work in preserving Oregon’s livability. Jack and Jan were married in Camp Sherman in 1986 and, fulfilling a 25 year dream, finally moved to Sisters in 2008. With his continuing volunteer work with other non-profits, Jack also serves as Chair of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s statewide Community Advisory Board in addition to holding a position on OPB’s Board of Directors.
Joining the board in 2014 Kerry’s focus has been on industrial arts programs in the High School including the Americana Luthier program and modern manufacturing skills including 3D printing and automated CNC routing. In the Luthier program, he has focused on helping the students with sophisticated inlays. He retired to Sisters 7 years ago from the Portland area where he had a 30 year career in the high tech computer industry. His other interests include photography, woodworking, computer, and electronic projects.
Debbie is a native of the Sisters area, born and raised on the Metolius River in Camp Sherman. She recently retired from 35 years of service in the public education system, beginning as a teacher, then school counselor and student services employee, and finishing as a program administrator operating educational and life skill programs for at-risk and developmentally disabled students. Debbie became a member of the SFF board to support and contribute to the educational programming that happens through the folk festival organization. She hs been involved in the Americana music program since it’s inception and believe it has changed the lives of many student participants.
Sue has lived in Sisters over 6 years. Prior to that she lived in Bend for 14 years. For over 35 years, Sue has worked in the park and recreation field, and currently works for Bend Park and Recreation District as a recreation manager. She enjoys giving back to the community and has served on many volunteer boards. When she’s not working she can be found at either her daughter Maddi’s running events or her son Eli’s baseball or soccer games. Her favorite pastimes are listening to live music or cooking and having friends over. She is excited to be part of the SFF Board!
Jim Cornelius is a co-founder of the Sisters Folk Festival. His passion for music grew out of his love for good storytelling, and his musical heroes tend to be storytellers — Tom Russell, Dave Alvin, Steve Earle, Guy Clark. He makes his living with his pen as the editor of The Nugget Newspaper in Sisters, Oregon and is himself a songwriter and performer with the band “The Anvil Blasters.”
Jay Mather brings to Sisters Folk Festival his skills as an internationally recognized photojournalist. His passion for documentary photography began while he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia in 1969-70. He worked at newspapers in Denver, CO, Louisville, KY and Sacramento, CA. before retiring to Sisters in 2007.
In 1979 he and fellow journalist Joel Brinkley traveled to the Thailand-Cambodia border to witness the massive exodus of refugees fleeing the wrath of the Khmer Rouge regime. This was the beginning of what the world would come to know as the “Killing Fields.” Their work, “Living the Cambodian Nightmare,” for the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Jay also enjoys playing his old Martin guitar, woodworking and cycling.
Jim is a retired United Airlines pilot and former commander of the Oregon Air National Guard. His family has lived in the Sisters area for more than twenty years, and is active in several non-profit organizations. He plays guitar and banjo, and his passion for the music and community arts development is evident in the organizational skills he employs to support the festival and the Americana Project.
Steve’s Undergraduate training was in painting and illustration. He began his career as a staff artist for a publisher of Western magazines. After years of being a “monk,” he found his passion in teaching art, eco-sytem management and educating students from high school through graduate school. After conducting extensive research in high-risk students, he spent the remainder of his career working to lower drop-out rates. He and his wife, Jan, retired to Sisters in 2000, where he’s volunteered in the art program at Sisters High School for the past 9 years.
JoAn Mann, a three-decade-plus Central Oregon resident, has a wide background that started in the performing arts and teaching, then getting down to business with an MBA, focusing on Human Resource Management and statistics. Like most in Central Oregon, JoAn has run her own business; she travels around the US, Europe and occasionally to Asia teaching and consulting in intercultural management, personality assessment and specialized HR topics. Her passion is folk music, and she’s been a longtime supporter of the arts, education and the Folk Festival in Sisters. She is delighted to be a Bend-based conduit for the mission and outreach of SFF. She has two grown children, loves songwriting and guitar, hiking, ballet, swimming, X-C skiing, travel adventures and a few moments of peace…
Susie is a native Oregonian. Growing up in a family who were very active in all the outdoor recreational sports, she loves the mountain lifestyle and the artistic and musical spirit she found in Sisters. Listening to all the exceptional music in this community is her regular past time. She and her husband Dan bought property in Sisters in 2001 and built their dream home and studio here. She moved here full time from Eugene, upon his untimely death in 2010.Susie early on got involved in giving back to this community in 2002, by donating to the My Two Hands auction, and has donated significantly each year since.
Susie attended Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon, and received most all of her commercial art training from the Academy of Art, in San Francisco, California. Trained as a commercial artist and Fashion illustrator, then Fashion Photo Art Director, she was the first person hired to develop the in-house Advertising Department at the Emporium Department Store Chain, and worked for them for over 24 years in their Advertising Department.
It was a scholarship she received to attend the Academy of Art in San Francisco while at the U of O , that so inspires her to want to give back, and help create opportunities for kids to receive opportunities they might otherwise not have. She feels passionately that exposure and involvement to the arts is necessary to the over-all mental health and well being of our children.
Now and for the last 14 years she spends time in her very successful business, Z Glass Act LLC, making fused glass lighting fixtures and architectural glass pieces for the home building industry from her studio in Sisters. She sells to many national accounts and private collectors. She brings her creative skills as an entrepreneur and successful small business owner to the Folk Festival Board.
Susie considers being on the Sisters Folk Festival Board of Directors one of the biggest honors of her life!
Recognizing his complete lack of musical talent, Jay joined the Sisters Folk Festival board in 2015 to be a voice of the loyal audience-members. Jay and his wife, Vanessa, were married in Sisters almost 20 years ago. They moved from Portland over 4 years ago to be a part of the Sisters community. Their daughters currently attend Sisters Middle School and are students of the Americana Project, ukulele lesson participants and regulars at the festival. After serving in the Army as an Apache helicopter pilot, Jay earned his MBA and spent time in strategy and general management roles at companies ranging from small start-ups to Nike. Locally, Jay is proud to serve on the Sisters Coffee Company board and coaches youth lacrosse.
In 2008, Shawn and his wife, Katie, decided to make a change. Born and raised in the Portland area, they wanted to slow life down, be closer to the outdoors that feeds their souls, and experience small-town living for their daughters. They settled in Sisters, a decision they will never regret. They love having access to hiking, biking and all the beauty the outdoors has to offer. But more importantly, being a part of a community that cares so much for its children is invaluable for them as parents. Shawn has worked in the public schools for 15 years as a school counselor, and through his work in the Sisters schools got connected with Sisters Folk Festival. His daughters have benefited from the SFF programs such as the Americana Project at both the middle and high school levels as well as the music festival and countless community events they enjoy as a family. Shawn sees the Sisters Folk Festival organization as a critical partner in the schools and our community, enhancing the lives of those who call this place home. He is excited to be a part of such a dedicated board and organization and looks forward to seeing Sisters Folk Festival grow and thrive for many years to come.
Jayson is a maker of stringed instruments, whose work has been featured on the cover and in the pages of various guitar magazines, won various industry awards, and can be found on some of the biggest stages around the world. Jayson is a native son of Bend Oregon, one of the last babies delivered in the old Catholic hospital “on the hill”. A product of his environment, he grew up biking, fishing and canoeing along the Deschutes River gaining appreciation of the natural environment from his father who was the Naturalist at the Sunriver resort. As a teen, he discovered a love of making things with his hands and left high school at an early age to pursue knowledge of manufacturing techniques to apply to his love of crafting bicycles components and frames. As a student of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University, he was introduced to woodworking for the first time in 1994 and fell instantly in love with the medium. His thesis project for a course on wood bending was a carved top two point mandolin, his first musical instrument. Returning to Central Oregon, he discovered that Breedlove Guitars was actively manufacturing guitars in the area. He entered into a traditional 3 year apprenticeship under Kim Breedlove which turned into a 15 year engagement with the company. Jayson worked his way through various positions within the company before becoming production manager and a lead product developer in 2004. In 2006, he co-founded the Luthier Program at Sisters High School with woodshop instructor Tony Cosby. To date, over 300 guitars have been built through the program, with a 98% completion rate. He continues to actively volunteer-instruct and donates materials and resources the program annually.
Jayson founded Bowerman Guitars in 2010 and focuses his skills on making custom acoustic stringed instruments of many types for performing artists and aspiring musicians. His work with Breedlove Guitars has twice been lauded as “Best in Show” by the NAMM industry association, as well “Acoustic Guitar of the Year” in 2015 for his most recent major label project named the “Oregon Series”. That design continues to be a top seller, and is credited with introducing players worldwide to Oregon Myrtlewood as an instrument wood of choice, featuring a design similar to many of the guitars built at the Sisters High School.