A Nurse Midwife by profession, Bonnie is a founding member of the society. She sings in a local band and loves the music festival experience. “My first festival was Wheatland in 1979. Ever since, my summer vacations have been planned around great festivals like Bliss and Hiawatha. My vision is to bring a first class festival experience to Northeast Michigan and introduce people from around the state to Alpena’s natural beauty, friendliness, and opportunities.”
Jeff Shea - Vice President
Jeff is the Alpena city assessor by day. His night job is playing with The Birch Road Band. Jeff has participated in the Folk Festival for the last 3 years.
A retired utility forester and certified arborist, Lee is well known on the local music scene as an accomplished singer/songwriter. His interest in folk music goes way back. “I started a folk group in high school. We called ourselves the Back Porch Singers. We played hootenannies." Lee is a founding member and tireless worker for the society. His enthusiasm is contagious; "I’ve been associated with these wonderful people at TBFS since the beginning. My goal is to assist in any way I can to help make this organization grow and be part of the best music festival on the US 23 Historical Corridor.”
Stephanie Suszek - Treasurer
Stephanie is an accountant with Straley, Lamp, and Kraenziein P.C. in Alpena. She brings 6 years of experience as a non-profit controller to our board. Keeping the society in the black and on a sustainable course is her aim. “We can’t fool ourselves, that’s the first thing to remember. If we’re going to grow and realize our vision we’re going to need substantial sponsors who share the vision. I believe this can and will happen."
Joel Choate Jr.
Joel Choate Jr. wears many hats in our community. He is a musician, music instructor and works at the family music store: Joel's Guitar Shop on State St. in Alpena. In his spare time he also works as a waiter and bartender at Burgie's. Joel ran sound for us on The Porch Stage at the 2015 and 2016 festival.
Joan Prentice is the owner of Health Connections at the corner of Chisholm and 1st St. in Alpena. She is a naturopathic doctor and Reiki master. She has been an active supporter of the society for over 2 years, coordinated food donations and fed over 100 musicians the best food they'd had in months at the 2015 and 2016 festival.
Paul Conger has been active with the society since it’s first year. He is a drummer and ran a monthly drum circle for us in the 2nd year. Then he got super busy with his wife Kris as they opened The Black Sheep Pub, a popular hang out in Alpena. Paul has run our Drum Kiva at the festival both years, and done drumming workshops for us too.
Nichola is the resident artist for the Folk Fest and prepares all the directional signage for the Festival. She has been very active in the Folk Society since its inception and Chairs the Spring Fling Committee.
Laura owns Frawley Law Office, is a judge in the 23rd Circuit Court, and 81st District Court. She is a member of Inspiration Alcona board, is a singer/song writer/guitarist, and will be performing at this years Spring Fling event.