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Board of Directors

Frances Levine, Vice-President
Treasurer
Secretary

Steve Brown
Tom Gibson
Jerry McEver
Dr. Cameron "Chip" Crotts

Dr. Brent Runnels, Executive and Artistic Director

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About our Board of Directors

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Fran Levine, CFP®, CRPC®
Second Vice President, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
http://fa.smithbarney.com/fran_levine

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Steve Brown

Steve Brown is Director of Guest Satisfaction for InterContinental Hotels Group plc. Always striving to create Great Hotels Guests Love, IHG is a global hotel company operating seven hotel brands – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Prior to joining the global brand management team at IHG, Steve worked mainly on new product development with roles in engineering management, business development, product management, and in project management consulting. Companies include Philips Consumer Electronics Corp., GEC-Marconi Avionics, Avionic Displays Corp., Universal Avionics, and EG Technology Inc.

Steve has BA and MS degrees from DePauw University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. His interests outside the hospitality industry include aviation and music. He is a commercial pilot with instrument and glider ratings and is active with Southern Eagles Soaring, Inc. as a member and towpilot, and with the Yellow Jacket Flying Club. Steve first became a working musician as a bassist while in high school and has appeared with Mary Lou and the MGs, Nick Craig and the Sentimental Journey, the John Sox Jazz Quartet, Bill and Susan Hayes from Days of our Lives and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra during the World’s Fair season. He appears regularly in Atlanta with the Tom Olsen trio and is also active as a volunteer church musician participating in choral music, piano accompaniment, and the Parson’s Pickers bluegrass ministry at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Peachtree Street.

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Tom Gibson

Dr. Tom Gibson has earned a reputation internationally as a performer, conductor, teacher, and clinician. Formerly a trombone soloist with The United States Navy Band in Washington, DC, he moved to Atlanta in 2000 to be the Brass Department Coordinator at Georgia State University. In 2007, he resigned that position to pursue other musical interests. In 2001, he helped co-found The Piedmont Trombone Society, and in 2004 this group was awarded the "Kai Winding Jazz Album of the Year" by the International Trombone Society.

Tom can be heard on dozens of commercial recordings, including TV spots, movie soundtracks, and albums. He has performed and/or recorded with The Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Opera, The National Symphony, The Boston Brass, Wayne Newton, Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, The Temptations, The Four Tops, James Taylor, Spoon, Zac Brown Band, Kingsized, and many others. He has performed at The White House, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wolf Trap and most of this country's finest musical venues.

He has performed in the Broadway tours of: Wicked, The Producers, West Side Story, Hairspray, White Christmas, Annie, Chicago, South Pacific, A Chorus Line, Mary Poppins, and others. He performs as a regular member of: The Neons, The Joe Gransden Big Band, The Atlanta Superband, Il Brasso Magnifico, Mercury Orkestar, The New Birth Posse, The Atlanta Pops, and the Augusta Symphony.

Dr. Gibson is presently on faculty at Kennesaw State University and Mercer University, and he recently completed a semester of teaching at The University of Michigan as Guest Artist.

Many of Dr. Gibson's students have gone on to professional careers as performers, professors, public school teachers, conductors, and composers. He is very proud of the accomplishments of his students and has seen them gain admission to the finest conservatories and Graduate schools in the nation. These include: The Juilliard School, The Eastman School, Cleveland Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, University of Michigan, Northwestern, and more.

Dr. Gibson is the host of www.trombonelessons.com, one of the most popular trombone-related websites on the Internet with over 1 million visits each year. Through the website and his Video Podcasts, he has become a well-recognized voice in the brass world. He resides in Powder Springs, GA, with his wife Katlyn and their 2 children, Bryce and Ella.

Dr. Gibson is a sponsored Performing Artist for Eastman Winds.

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Jerry McEver

Jerry McEver is an instrumental recruiting specialist in the Metro Atlanta Public and Private schools. In the last twenty years Mr. McEver has introduced more than 20,000 young people to the instruments of the Band and Orchestra throughout the Southeast. With his expertise in this area Mr. McEver has assisted music educators in the recruiting and instrument selection process for their students as well as providing instruments and supplies as an Educational Representative for Draisen Edwards Music.

Jerry McEver received his BA in Tuba performance from Jacksonville State University studying with Joel Zimmerman, Bayne Dobbins and Dr. Dave Walters. After earning his degree at Jacksonville State he continued his studies, serving as Graduate Teaching Assistant to the esteemed Dr. Randal Faust at Auburn University, performing in the Faculty Brass Quintet, teaching Applied Music and Music Appreciation. As a performer Jerry started his professional career at age 16 as an extra with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the legendary Robert Shaw and touring with the ASO to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Since that time he has performed with many of the finest ensembles in the southeast, backing up the likes of Joni Mitchell, Moody Blues, Brian Wilson and Joe Gransden. He recently participated in a CD recording with Il Brasso Magnifico at Spivey Hall. Currently Mr. McEver is active as a freelance musician and as a member of the national champion Georgia Brass Band.

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ChipCrotts

Dr. Cameron "Chip" Crotts

is Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Director of Bands at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, GA. A GRAMMY nominated musician, Crotts has performed and recorded for the Disney Company in Europe and the United States, and maintains an active career as a first call musician for national touring shows and orchestral dates throughout the United States. Chip has toured and worked with numerous international artists over the years, including Boston Brass, The Manhattan Transfer, Jamie Cullum, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, The O’Jay’s, Frankie Valli, The Temptations and Maynard Ferguson, among others.

He received his undergraduate degree from East Carolina University, a Masters of Music in Orchestral Performance from Penn State University, as well as the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trumpet Performance with a Jazz Emphasis from the University of Texas-Austin. Previously, Crotts served on the faculties of Samford University, Jacksonville State University and The University of Texas at Austin.

A Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician, Chip resides in Acworth, GA with his wife Kelly and daughter Abigail.

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Brent Runnels
Executive and Artistic Director

Brent Runnels directs the Jazz Orchestra Atlanta big band. He has fashioned a broad and diverse musical career as a performer, arts administrator, educator and musical entrepreneur.

As a pianist Brent Runnels has won critical acclaim for his performances in the US, Europe, Australia and Russia as an orchestral and recital soloist, chamber musician, and jazz pianist. He is the top-award winner of the New Orleans International Piano Competition and the Jacksonville Classical Piano Competition. Mr. Runnels has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the Atlanta Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Kosice State Philharmonic, Ural Academic Philharmonic, Slovak Sinfonietta of Zilina, Florida Orchestra, Florida Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Mansfield Symphony, Brevard Symphony and the Gwinnett Philharmonic. He has given recitals in London, Prague, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney and Atlanta.

Chamber music and jazz performance are a significant part of his performance career. He performed for 13 years with The Inman Piano Trio, an ensemble with the late violinist Beth Newdome and cellist David Bjella. The Inman Piano Trio was known for performances of the masterpieces of the trio repertoire as well as unusual and rarely heard chamber works. Brent Runnels has performed extensively as a jazz pianist and has appeared with such jazz artists as Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, Gene Bertoncini, Lou Soloff, Laurie Holloway and Warren Covington. In 1993 and 1994 he toured central Europe with John Whitney as the Runnels/Whitney Jazz Piano Duo. He is currently director of music at Temple Sinai in Atlanta, where he directs the High Holy Day choir and performs services and concerts. He is also a member of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Brent Runnels maintains a strong commitment to arts education and support for the performing arts. From 1993-1999 he was founder and Artistic Director of the Orlando Jazz Festival. He has been a frequent guest at the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic and has given masterclasses for the European Piano Teacher's Association in Prague, Brno and as guest artist at the Urals Summer International Academy of Arts in Novouralsk, Russia. Mr. Runnels has taught on the music faculties of Rollins College, Concordia College, the Manhattan School of Music and Georgia State University. Brent Runnels is currently on the music faculty of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

Brent Runnels trained with Constance Keene and John Browning as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. There he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as well as the school's highest graduate honor, the Harold Bauer Award. A native of Rockville, Maryland, he is a member of the international roster of Steinway Artists.

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