2023-24 Board of Directors
President/Tucson Folk Festival Director – Matt Rolland
Vice-President – Greg Aiken
Secretary – Don Copler
Treasurer – Claud Blackburn
Board of Directors Meetings are currently be held virtually the first Monday of every month from 7:30-9:00 p.m.
If you would like to attend the Meetings open to Members, Staff and Volunteers, please request to be added to the ZOOM distribution list by emailing the President , here.
You can contact the officers and/or board members using the contact form here.
JOIN THE BOARD
The Tucson Folk Festival is produced by a passionate group of volunteers and Board members that include a diverse group of professional backgrounds. Being a part of the team who produces the annual Tucson Folk Festival is a rewarding and meaningful experience. We’re always looking for new community members interested in service! The Board is currently made up of 13 members-at-large and 4 officers on three year terms. New board members are elected each summer at the annual member meeting, or to fill a vacancy. Applications are open to the public and due June 30 of each year.
STAFF & COMMITTEES
All Board members sit on at least one project committee, working alongside many passionate volunteer staff to plan the annual Tucson Folk Festival and our year-round programming.
BOARD MEMBER BIOS
Matt Rolland enters his fourth year as TKMA Board President and sixth year on the Board. Matt is the bandleader and fiddler for Tucson-based bands RISO and Run Boy Run and is the Director of Programs at SAACA (Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance). He is committed to cultivating the festival while respecting its roots and community-focused mission, intending on building a strong foundation for the Tucson Folk Festival’s next decade.
Greg Aiken begins his third term as TKMA Vice President and seventh year as a Board member. Following retirement from his role as Operations Director at Salpointe Catholic High School, Greg looks forward to his expanded role with the festival. For years, Greg has been a true “working member” of the TKMA Board, leading the charge on ground operations for our fest.
Don Copler is a long-time contributor, performer and volunteer with the Tucson Folk Festival. He currently serves as the TKMA Board Secretary, and also assists in maintaining our membership database. Don has been a member of the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra since 1985 and has been part of the Stringbean Folk Orchestra for the last five years.
Claud Blackburn continues his long-standing role as TKMA Treasurer. He enjoys traveling out to the Folk Alliance International conference most years. When he isn’t keeping up-to-date records of TKMA finances, he is living his best life in Cottonwood with wife Tieann.
Mohammed Al-Sammak begins his second term as TKMA’s Tucson Folk Festival Volunteer Coordinator, and his first term as a TKMA Board Member. He first worked as the Festival Volunteer Coordinator in 2023, when he fell in love with the Tucson Folk Festival. He has experience in community outreach and management in the non-profit sector and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona in Linguistics specializing in Arabic syntax.
Melissa Hall Cohn is a former service center VP, figure skater, and race car driver who currently teaches yoga. In her service center days, she led a team of 300-600 people, created/managed large budgets, and drove process improvement projects of all sizes. In the figure skating world, she committed 3-6 hours/day to train for 10 years, served as a Gold level judge for 25 years, and was a contributing member of the St. Louis Skating Club board for 4 years. She competed in the Sports Car Club of America for 4 years (SSC Toyota MR2), and her volunteer work with the St. Louis Region earned her the Worker of the Year Award and the Regional Executive Award. She also covered the Sports Car Club of America’s National Runoffs for Sports Car magazine for 6 years. Melissa discovered yoga in 2012 as a way to balance her Type-A personality, and she started teaching in 2018. She currently is RYT® 500 certified and enjoys a gentle physical practice, pranayama, and yoga philosophy. Melissa always has loved music, and while she played piano, violin, and flute as a child, she now prefers to listen to talented musicians like those at the Tucson Folk Festival!
Brett Dooley is an engineer/account manager/business development representative for Bosch-Rexroth, who has a loving family here in Tucson, with two children aged 7 and 9. “Music has been an integral part of my life since my early years, with piano lessons and participating in middle and high school bands. However, it wasn’t until I left my service in the Navy in 2008 that I discovered my passion for folk music. Since then, I have devoted large amounts of my time to writing, performing, managing, and promoting original music groups. Recently, my focus has been on my band, the Whiskey Treats, and my solo music. Whiskey Treats is a folk trio specializing in upbeat music, both original compositions and popular cover songs while my own solo material is slower and drawn from my life.” Visit his website for more info.
Jonathan Frahm is SAACA and TKMA’s Marketing Coordinator. He is also an author, podcast host, and long-time freelance music journalist and promoter whose byline includes PopMatters and For Folk’s Sake, as well as several local outlets. With our new season approaching, he is excited to continue his work preserving TKMA’s mission while working with board and staff to expand its reach. He is currently spearheading monthly TKMA First Sunday Brunches and the April 6th, 2024 Performance Showcase at Monterey Court, as well as the Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Competition Committee.
Sophie Gibson-Rush has been an active performer, community radio host, and music organizer in Tucson since 2014. She has cultivated a passion for music and theatre into a multi-faceted career. Currently, Sophie works with Arizona Arts Live, where she spearheads the Tucson Studio project, and is the band Female Gaze’s creative producer and manager. In 2022, she brought her own musical project, Holy Faint, to life!
Aspen Green has worked at Arizona Arts Live at the University of Arizona for over 11 years as an event coordinator and Artist Relations Coordinator. She brings to the board decades of experience working with touring groups, taking care of all their arrangements from contracting to load out. She is a past TKMA / Tucson Folk Festival Board Member and has handled festival headliner contracts, program design and ad recruitment, fundraiser planning, and creates many of the posters, flyers and Facebook promotions for TKMA.
Ryan Green is best known as one half of Tucson-favorite acoustic duo, Ryanhood. An acclaimed musician, performer, and bandleader, Ryan has played in four separate continents and has been named “Best Guitarist” twice in the Tucson Music Awards.
Ron Pandy is a beloved singer-songwriter who has been an active part of TKMA since its very inception. During the First Annual Tucson Folk Festival, he played along with his singing dog! Now, Ron continues his long-standing role as Board Member, helping to cultivate community events like our member social gatherings. He has also performed in the Tucson Folk Festival’s Family Show.
Eric Schaffer is a Tucson-based singer-songwriter, business owner, and leader of the band, Eric Schaffer and the Other Troublemakers. A long-standing friend of TKMA as performer, MC, and more, Eric looks forward to formally bringing his combined experience to the Board.