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More about our Great Board of Directors!

Deb Russell


Retired from Non-profits Directorship

Deb has lived in the Kalamazoo area since 1972 having attended and graduated from Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University with a Master of Public Administration degree and gerontology specialty. Her career was in nonprofit management and executive directorship. She worked for the area agency on aging followed by Kalamazoo County Human Services Department and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, as a health access consultant, advocate and analyst, and director of an Early statewide project through The Arc Michigan. Her final career positions were as Executive Director of Widowed Persons Service of greater Grand Rapids and CEO/President of Community Advocates (The ARC chapter of Kalamazoo County for people with Developmental Disabilities). Her volunteer board work includes as a three terms elected school board member at Gull Lake Community Schools, appointments to the Kalamazoo community mental health board and human service department board, YWCA Children's Center advisory board,  Governor-appointed Michigan Early On Council for handicapped infants and toddlers, as well as state advisory committees and task forces in the Departments of education, special education, public health, social services, and mental health and developmental disabilities. Currently, she is involved as a Vestry member and the Senior Warden at her local Episcopal Church and for the past six years as a board member of Kalamazoo Bach Festival. 

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Laurie's bio is coming soon!

Laurie Atwater

Vice President

Community activist

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Susan Wiersma Uchimura graduated as class valedictorian with degrees in Theory and Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with esteemed pedagogues Jack Radunsky and Eunice Podis. After receiving her Master of Music Degree in Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, she moved to Kalamazoo to begin a career at Western Michigan University as Artist in Residence with the Merling Trio.  In that capacity, she performed in over 40 states, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. The trio appeared on prestigious series at venues such as Merkin Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art, to broad critical acclaim. Susan’s private students maintain a high profile in competitions such as the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist Competition. An avid reader, she founded Kalamazoo’s Knowledge is Power book club.

Susan Wiersma Uchimura 


Pianist, Teacher


Lee Kirk has been active in the Kalamazoo music community for over 30 years. He joined the KBF chorus in 1991 and has sung with the chorus intermittently ever since. He has also sung with the Bach Collegium and Early Music Michigan. Personal highlights include singing in the chorus with the Kalamazoo Symphony in performances of Turandot and Carmen. He is currently Treasurer of the KBF Board of Directors, and previously served on the Fontana board for 10 years, nine of them as an officer. Lee led a team that chartered Community Promise Federal Credit, one of a handful of credit unions created during the recession. He was one of the founders of the Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition, and he brought together a team of community organizations to support Kalamazoo’s rental housing inspection ordinances in both the courts and the state legislature. 

Lee Kirk


Retired Attorney and Community Activist

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Khady Brumblay is a Research Scientist interested in issues of racial, gender, socio-economic, and age inequities in the US and abroad. She is currently the President of Delphi Global Health, a small research consulting firm, and an Adjunct Professor at Kalamazoo College where she teaches Global Health, Epidemiology, and Public Health. She has volunteered for organizations since she was 14, in Senegal her native country, in Vermont, Ann Arbor, and now, Kalamazoo MI. Khady is a founding member of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, a grass-roots organization that provides services and support to recent immigrants and refugees in Vermont, and of Orchestra Jammbo’Laya, a collaborative youth orchestra, which brings to the fore music by Black composers the world around. Khady is also the Chair of the Healthy House Board of Directors, which provides safe and structured housing to women whose lives were derailed by adverse life events. In her free time, Khady enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and friends traveling. She is also an amateur ceramist.

Khady Brumblay

President, Delphi Global Health Research, Adjunct Professor Kalamazoo College


Marti Fritz has sung with the Bach Festival chorus since she auditioned for Judy Breneman in 1986. She first joined the Bach Fest board as a chorus liaison, then served two additional terms, several years as vice president. Her husband Warren also sings with the Bach chorus and has served on the Bach board. She earned a masters degree in organizational communications from Western Michigan University in 1988. After having worked at both Kalamazoo College and WMU, she enjoyed 17 years in marketing and communications at Kalamazoo Public Library. Marti and Warren are active community members, volunteering in numerous organizations since moving to Kalamazoo in 1974.

Marti Fritz

Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Retired from Kalamazoo Public Library

Grace Gheen

Director of Communications,

OutFront Kalamazoo

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Grace Gheen is originally from the Detroit area. Her current position is the Director of Communications at OutFront Kalamazoo. She has an extensive background in education and nonprofit management. Her previous positions include Adult Education teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools and the Director of Choral Operations and Donor Relations for the Kalamazoo Bach Festival. Prior to working in education, Grace worked for the University of Michigan in the CASL Development office. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in
Anthropology and Psychology; a Masters's in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University; and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Cleary University. Grace has been part of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival choir since moving to Kalamazoo in 2013 as an Alto. She enjoys performing choral music as well as secular pieces. Grace also enjoys performing sketch comedy, performing with local Kalamazoo musicians, and listening to live music. She is very thankful for her three sons and husband, and her two cats, Wednesday and Turnip for always supporting her in all her endeavors.


Gail Griffin is an essayist, memoirist, and poet. Her nonfiction book "'The Events of October': Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus" studies the deaths of two Kalamazoo College students in 1999. She explores the experience of traumatic loss in "Grief's Country: A Memoir in Pieces."  Her first collection of poetry, "Omena Bay Testament," winner of the Wilder Prize from Two Sylvias Press, appears in 2023. Gail has offered community workshops on anti-racist whiteness and on writing memoir. She spent 36 years teaching literature, writing, and women's studies at Kalamazoo College, where she won awards for teaching, creative work, and long-term contribution to the college community. In 1995 she was Michigan Professor of the Year. .Gail is a Detroit native who has lived in Kalamazoo since 1977, after earning a B.A. from Northwestern and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She sang for twenty years with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus.

Gail Griffin

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Kirsten is a speech pathologist at Bronson Methodist Hospital, treating patients of all ages in the hospital setting. She grew up in Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, and Panama, with short stints in the United States. After completing undergraduate training in Linguistics and Spanish at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, she moved to Kalamazoo to attend Western Michigan University’s College of Health and Human Services. Kirsten sang with the Women’s Glee Club at the University of Michigan under Dr Julie Skadsem, serving as the vice president and concert manager, and has sung with mass choirs under Eugene Rogers, Jerry Blackstone, Andrew Koehler, and Julian Kuerti. She joined the Kalamazoo Bach Festival’s soprano section under Dr Jim Turner in 2010, and initially joined the Board of Directors as a chorus liaison, later serving as Secretary for six years.  She lives in Portage with her husband and two sons.

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Kirsten Haverberg

Speech Language Pathologist

Cindy Hunter

Director of Music, First Congregational Church; Adjunct Professor, Western Michigan University School of Music

Cindy Hunter is the Director of Music at Kalamazoo First Congregational Church where she directs the Chancel Choir and Academy Ringers Handbell Choir. She has held similar Director of Music and organist/pianist positions locally at Kalamazoo First Presbyterian, Portage United Church of Christ, Sunnyside United Methodist, and St. Catherine of Siena Church. In addition, Cindy is an Adjunct Faculty member at Western Michigan University where she teaches Musicianship for Musical Theatre Performance majors, and is a collaborative pianist for classical voice majors.
Cindy has served as the Guest Director of the Kalamazoo Singers and has prepared choirs for performances with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, and BeethovenFest. She is a sought-after music director; her numerous credits include musicals with the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Farmers Alley
Theater, The Barn Theatre, Kindleberger Festival, and Whole Art Theatre. Cindy recently retired as the Director of Choirs at Portage Central High School and Central Middle School in Portage, Michigan, where she directed 6 award-winning choirs and was the Music Director and Orchestra Conductor for over 25 musicals. While with Portage Public Schools, she received numerous grants for professional development and special projects with her students. She is the recipient of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Excellence in Education Award and Portage Public School’s
Most Influential Educator Award. Cindy is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Michigan School
Vocal Music Association, and American Guild of Organists.


Christina Martinez is a retired Portage Public Schools teacher and longtime resident of both Kalamazoo and Portage.  A graduate of Loy Norrix High School, she went on to study at Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Returning to Kalamazoo, she completed a Masters Degree in Counseling and Guidance at Western Michigan University.  Christina has long pursued volunteer opportunities with both the Bach Festival and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival.  She has participated in a variety of KSO choral productions under Maestros Takeda and Harvey, and has been a member of the Bach Festival Chorus since 2006, joining the board in 2020.  Christina lives in Portage where, in addition to her roles as singer and volunteer, she continues to enjoy a wide range of activities and interests.

Christina Martinez

Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Retired Public School Teacher

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Laurel's bio is coming soon!

Laurel Palmer

Kalamazoo College Fund,


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Karen Trout is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A. in Fine Arts), Western Michigan University (B.M. in Music Therapy) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.S in Library and Information Science). She is the Community Engagement Librarian at Kalamazoo Public Library. Karen is also a musician and vocalist, having performed with The St. Olaf Choir, The Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Kalamazoo Singers, and the Bach Festival Chorus, and she has volunteered in productions by the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and All Ears Radio Theatre. Previous board service includes YWCA of Kalamazoo, the Stulberg International String Competition, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, and Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK).

Karen Trout

Community Engagement Librarian, Kalamazoo Public Library

Richard A. Van Enk, Ph.D. (he, him), is a microbiologist and hospital epidemiologist, the Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology for Bronson Heathcare.  Dr. Van Enk grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his professional career has taken him to Bowling Green, KY; Kansas City, KS; Chicago, IL; Dayton, OH; and Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Richard is a life-long amateur choral ensemble bass-baritone.   He has performed with over 12 auditioned choral ensembles in a 45-year career and has been a singer in the Kalamazoo Bach Society for over 25 years.   He is interested in the organizational and leadership areas of community arts ensembles and has served several terms as board member and board chair of our Kalamazoo ensemble.  He enjoys performing in many musical styles, and also plays a variety of percussion instruments.  His musical interests range from classical choral masterworks to jazz, worship music, world music, and music from marginalized communities; almost any music when voices join together to form community and communicate important things.

Richard Van Enk

Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, Bronson Methodist Hospital

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David's bio is coming soon!

David Wells

Realtor, retired business manager, musician

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