Staff and Board

STAFF

Jack Kolb-Williams – Executive Director, Co-Founder – jack@catalystmusic.org

As a music educator and performer, Jack spent the last 12 years composing, developing curricula, leading ensembles, and teaching students of all ages. As an active musician, he has played hundreds of live shows across the country and contributed to several recording projects. In addition to teaching and performing he has honed his skills in the music industry by working as a booking agent, venue manager, artist manager, and promoter rep.

Nicole Breidel – Director of Operations & Community Outreach – nicole@catalystmusic.org

Nicole Breidel manages and oversees operation of THE GARAGE live performance space who also spends her time volunteering for Minneapolis Sofar Sounds and working for Live Nation concert productions. She has worked previously at the Varsity Theater and at the music venue Honey where she helped manage, connect, and promote local artists who needed help getting started.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Craig Freeman – President

A Twin Cities native, Craig spent his teenage years driving in from the suburbs to every all-ages show he could find. Now a married father and attorney living in St. Paul, Craig joined Catalyst Music with the goal of providing teens the access he didn’t have in the 90s. When he’s not busy chasing after his young son, Craig can be found either at a local club listening to punk or hip hop (the angrier the better) or watching the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Twins break his heart. Again.

Logan Adams – Vice President, Co-Founder – logan@catalystmusic.org

Logan is a published writer and critic who has taught and mentored young people for fifteen years—as camp counselor, middle school teacher, high school tutor and coach, and university instructor. He trained new teachers for the national nonprofits Teach for America and The New Teacher Project, as well as designed and piloted curriculum for Teach for America.

Amir Berenjian – Treasurer

Amir was first influenced by music at a very young age when his parents taught him how to read music on an upright piano (with a bit of help from the notes written on the keys).  After picking up percussion in middle school, Amir eventually learned to play the drums and was quickly hooked on making music with his friends. Regretfully, he never played a gig at a venue as cool as THE GARAGE. As a Minnesota native and University of Minnesota graduate, Amir spends his days as an investment banker at a Minneapolis-based boutique; however, he has not completely given up on the dream of becoming an internationally respected rock star. Amir currently resides in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis with his wife Molly and pup Charlie.

Steph Jacobs – Secretary

Steph’s music career peaked early in her life when she sang her rendition of “Leader of the Pack” in 4th grade choir. But her love of music has only grown since then. In Minneapolis, Steph has found an awesome community of live music lovers. You’ll find her out at a concert most nights (and if you do, please say hello). She’s always on the search for new things to listen to. Steph is the resident nonprofit nerd on the board. Her background is in nonprofit capacity building and she has a passion for building and developing leaders in the sector. She teaches two nonprofit courses at the University of Minnesota and will happily talk your ears off about board governance. Steph lives in the Longfellow neighborhood with her corgi Cooper.

Georgina Chinchilla

Georgina is the Grants and Institutional Support Manager at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Originally from Honduras, she grew up playing violin and piano. Her love of classical music led her through different obsessions, from Baroque performance to the Beatles and beyond. She has degrees in Violin Performance and Musicology, and completed  she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan. Prior to joining the SPCO, she worked primarily as a youth work professional planning and implementing programming for underrepresented youth. She recently completed an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, where she focused on social entrepreneurship. She lives in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul with her husband Greg, son Santiago and their very anxious black lab, Berlitz.

Cyrena Denniston

Cyrena is originally from Seattle, WA where she obtained her B.A. degree in Music Vocal Performance from Seattle Pacific University while on a track & field scholarship. She is a proud wife to her husband of almost 16 years, and mother to their daughters. Her heart and motto is to always remain a passionate, intentional woman set out to make a positive impact on the world through love, music, fashion, and fitness.

Ali Elabbady

Ali is a Producer & CEO of Background Noise Crew a hip hop collective and label venture based in the Twin Cities. His knowledge and connections in the local hip hop community are integral as Twin Cities Catalyst Music continues to provide opportunities for underserved youth.

Jerome Rankine

Jerome grew up in Portland, OR, where he recorded his first songwriting efforts with a tape recorder the size of a shoebox. Since then he’s been in classical choirs, jazz trios, rap duos, 10-piece ska outfits, and a number of barely googleable NYC indie bands. Upon moving to Minneapolis in 2009, Jerome spent several years producing music and sound design for advertising and other visual media. He now works as a communications specialist for hire in the non-profit sector, while continuing to release his own music from his home studio. Jerome lives in south Minneapolis with his wife Kyrra and their two kids, both of whom are kazoo virtuoso’s.

Shannon Robinson

Shannon L. Robinson is a seasoned non-profit arts professional with nearly thirteen years of experience working primarily in the field of fundraising. She is currently the Managing Director at the Jungle Theater where her ultimate career goals is to connect people to their artistic communities and inspire them to make thoughtful choices that enrich and diversify their lives and the lives of others. For the past seven years, she has worked at the Guthrie Theater focusing on individual giving strategy and general operations of the development department. Shannon worked at The New York Pops, an 80-piece orchestra with one of the highest selling subscription series at Carnegie Hall, for nearly six years prior to moving home to Minnesota. She has a degree in music, and tries to see as much theater, dance and music as this town has to offer.

Carrie Shaffer

Carrie grew up in Green Bay, WI where she spent most weekends hanging out at record stores and punk shows. Her love of music (especially of the live variety) grew fast and furious and drove her to Minneapolis to attend the University of MN where she studied Communications. She fell in love with the city and has been here ever since. She’s held a variety of professional roles all centered around relationship management, but her true love remains live music. She has instilled that passion in her two teenage daughters who both attend an arts school in Eden Prairie. You can find all of them in their south Mpls neighborhood frequenting their favorite spots as well as traveling to shows all around the country.

Jennifer Sorenson

Jennifer Sorenson is the Campus Director for Brightmont Academy, an accredited private school offering one-to-one instruction for students in grades 6-12, and tutoring for students in grades 3-12.  She operates the Apple Valley, MN and Plymouth, MN campuses where she oversees all operations including student success initiatives, academic outcomes, staff development, and effective internal and external relationships. Her background includes operations, recruiting, and creating, implementing and facilitating an executive development program.  She is passionate about providing all young people access to an education that allows them to pursue their chosen path.

 

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