The Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Shellie Stuart as Executive Director of the Siletz Bay Music Festival.
Many fans of the festival, and particularly Lincoln City residents, know Shellie well. For those who do not, she brings an impressive record of work in related endeavors to her new job. She traveled the world before deciding Lincoln City was the absolute best place to be. She grew up in Puyallup, Washington and studied at Washington State University and La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico, where she obtained degrees in Linguistics, Education, and Foreign Languages and Literature. Early in her career she taught English in Japan and then high school Spanish and Japanese near Seattle. Most recently she led the nonprofit Georgia Council for International Visitors, where she oversaw the design of professional visits to the state of Georgia for current and emerging world leaders. Her extensive nonprofit leadership experience includes strategic planning, board management, fundraising, budgeting, and volunteer development.
Since moving to the Central Oregon Coast, Shellie has served as Executive Director of Lincoln City’s Bay Area Merchants Association, where her role included management of day-to-day operations, communications expansion of organizational capabilities with its online presence, social media strategies and development of south Lincoln City revitalization efforts.
The festival board is proud of the work it’s done the last three years without an executive director, managing daily operations as well as mounting a live, in person festival in the midst of a pandemic. With that success behind it, and knowing that, if necessary, it could be done again, the board set out to find someone who would once again take the helm. Shellie’s vast experience, organizational skills and creative thinking made her a perfect choice and a welcome addition to the festival team currently in place.
In her new role, Shellie will direct a broad range of activities, including fundraising, community engagement, and liaison with public officials, local businesses, media and the public. She will devise and implement the organization’s marketing plan and oversee all committee activities while engaging with and energizing the festival’s volunteers.
When asked about Shellie’s appointment, Artistic Director Yaki Bergman said: “We are very fortunate to find someone with Shellie’s experience who is a resident of the festival’s hometown. Her familiarity with the community, her energy and creative ideas will be an invaluable addition. She’ll play a key role in our plans to introduce some very exciting new ideas for the 2022 festival.”
NOTES OF SPRING
Plans for a spring fundraising event were well underway when Shellie Stuart joined Siletz Bay Music Festival as its Executive Director. With less than a month on the job, she dove in to spearhead this annual event.
Swing into Spring was the theme for the benefit and what better entertainment could there be than the Taft High School Jazz Band. Arriving at the job of music teacher / artistic director of the Taft music program at the start of the pandemic lock down, Collin Stegner has pulled his students together into a tightly knit, well oiled, music making machine. Seventeen students and a couple of guest players kept toes tapping and heads bobbing for over forty minutes. Apart from the overall excellence of the ensemble, Collin pointed out the difficulty of switching from one style of jazz to another, but the musicians pulled it off with grace and aplomb.
Events can be planned and organized and promoted and marketed until every detail is a note on a page and then … there is magic. From the beginning, there was talk of ‘special guest appearances,’ but as of the day of, it was not clear what – or who — might materialize. And then we were introduced to Dr. Alexander Tutunov, pianist extraordinare, who came to the dinner as a guest. When asked, he graciously agreed to play for the audience and blew everyone away with a one-handed rendition of a two-handed piece while holding a glass of liquid which he insisted was only a prop.
Yaki took the stage to announce some highlights of the upcoming September festival. The opening night gala recital will feature Mei-Ting Sun celebrating the tenth festival in which he is taking part. The other big news is the expansion of Native American programming, a dream of Yaki’s since the festival first took the name of Siletz. For the closing concert, Siletz Tribe member Fish Martinez will perform Native American hip hop accompanied by the full Siletz Bay Festival orchestra. Fish was at the Swing into Spring event and offered to perform a song which he had written on the occasion of the birth of his first son. It was profoundly moving and gave the audience a taste of things to come. Again … magic.
The board is appreciative of all who contributed to the event – those who organized and those who turned out to fill the room, to eat, drink and make merry, to bid on auction items and raise their paddles. Events like this could not take place without the support, time and energy of the volunteers who check folks in, sell tickets, monitor the auction, and serve the food. The delicious dinner was catered by Chef D.J. Mendivel who pulled it off beautifully, despite the unexpected challenge of a power outage during the afternoon. Board member Heather Haugland transformed the Cultural Center auditorium into a veritable garden with giant blooms gracing every wall.
Any fundraising event is important for the festival, not only because it is a main source of earned income, but also because it gives the festival an opportunity to give back to the community that provides so much love and support. As important as the question, Did we bring in any money? is the question, Did people have a good time? The board had a great time putting on this event and hopes that everyone in attendance had as good a time as well.
Sue Parks-Hilden, a founding member of Siletz Bay Music Festival, early executive director, and active board member over the years has made the decision to leave her seat to spend more time with family and pursue other activities. Sue has played an important role at pivotal times in the festival’s history and she will be missed. The board will not be the same without her but she assures us that she will still be an active volunteer, continuing with the work she has been doing over the years. When you see her at concerts in the fall, please thank her for her years of service with the festival.
The 2022 Siletz Bay Music Festival will take place from September 2 – 11 at Lincoln City Cultural Center, the Lincoln City Congregational Church, the Doerfler Family Theatre in Newport and at the B’Nai B’rith Camp. The complete program is not quite ready for public scrutiny, but fans can expect the traditional chamber, jazz, cabaret, Musical Tapas and orchestral offerings, some old friends and favorites, as well as some new and exciting guests and programming. Updates and more information can be found at siletzbaymusic.org.
It was wonderful to see old friends at the benefit dinner and it was exciting to see many new faces — new to the area and new to the festival. It gave us an opportunity to show folks what we do and to see how much fun service to the festival can be. Several people expressed interest in volunteering for the festival in September and there are many ways to participate.
Volunteers can house or help prepare meals for musicians. They can monitor rehearsals in case there are unforeseen needs. Volunteers can help with set up and strike of venues, checking folks in, handing out programs and surveys, and in some cases, serving drinks or food at special events. Volunteers play a huge roll in the success of the festival. It was determined in 2021 that volunteers provided over $80,000 worth of in-kind contributions.
Siletz Bay Music Festival lost two great friends and supporters recently. They will be missed.
Alan Bennett, a longtime friend of the festival, passed away on April 12 at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer. Alan and his wife Sherry have been huge fans and supporters of the festival for many years; most recently he served as one of our advisors. Alan had an incredibly full life and we were fortunate enough to share a part of it with him. Many musicians will never forget the after-concert parties the Bennetts threw for them at their home in Lincoln City. Alan was a wonderful and kind man, always ready with a laugh or a story. We loved him and will miss him. Our hearts go out to Sherry and the family.
After a long fight against COPD, our much-loved Elaine passed away about an hour before the fundraiser started on April 23. She suffered from breathing issues as long as we knew her. She and her husband, Duane, were strong and consistent supporters of the festival and Elaine served on the board. They moved to a retirement community in Eugene a few years ago but they always kept in touch. She was a wonderful volunteer who never said no. She was there for us from the beginning and she spent many, many hours creating fabulous desserts, sculpting a mosaic piece of the festival logo, housing musicians and donating. A funny and giving person, she will be missed.
“Bringing multi-genre world class music performed by outstanding musicians to the Central Oregon Coast; to reach across race, culture, age, social and economic barriers, to uplift and educate all people seeking extraordinary musical experiences.”