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New Board Members 2023

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Aloha Bluegrass Hawaii Members and Friends,

Nominations for the new Board members closed on January 31st. We had seven nominees and one carryover from the current Board. Since we had nine positions open, there is no need to hold elections on February 19th as previously scheduled. Therefore, all eight nominees are appointed to the Board, effective immediately. In accordance with Bluegrass Hawaii Bylaws, the new Board will appoint the officers for the next term. The board members' Bios and photos are included below. Please join me in congratulating our new Board members, and thanking them for their commitment to Bluegrass Hawaii. I would also like to thank the outgoing Board, including MIchelle Steuermann (Vice-President), Bob Hayes (Treasurer), Virginia Hayes (Co-Secretary), Andrea Stanton (Co-Secretary), and Gary Jennings (Director), for their service to Bluegrass Hawaii. It has been our pleasure to serve on the Bluegrass Hawaii Board. The past several years have been difficult, but most of our pre-pandemic activities (and some new ones) have started up again, with good turnouts. We will be holding our second official post-pandemic campout the weekend of April 21-24, 2023 at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. See You Down the Road! Jim Bersson


CANDIS THOMAS, PRESIDENT


Aloha! I joined Bluegrass Hawaii in 2011 after attending my first Bluegrass Hawaii Campout at Ho’omaluhia. A couple years later I bought a mandolin and began taking lessons. It has been a humbling and rewarding experience learning to pick amongst so many talented musicians here on Oahu. I’ve attended almost all of the Bluegrass Hawaii Campouts since then. After every Bluegrass Hawaii Campout I’ve returned home inspired and motivated by the experience.


One of my primary objectives to pursue on the Board is to maintain and elevate the Bluegrass Hawaii Campout experience. The Campouts have not fully returned to their original glory since the covid lockdown. One reason for this is the implementation of new management policies at Ho’omaluhia. I am grateful to Jim Bersson and the current Board who have worked to maintain good relations with the management at Ho’omaluhia during the last couple years. I hope we may continue to host at least one campout per year at this beautiful treasure of a park. I have also been gathering information on alternative locations for this and other potential events.


I have decades of experience as an event organizer and I will bring my unique skill set to the board as we re-imagine what’s possible and co-create the most enjoyable and instructional campouts, workshops, performances and of course, jams!


Additionally, I have a beautiful music venue and event center in Waimanalo where Bluegrass Hawaii can host a variety of events throughout the year.


I am dedicated to serving our special community and growing Bluegrass Hawaii as an organization to sustain future generations of Pickers and Bluegrass Music Lovers


DARLYNN "DD" DONOHUE, CO-SECRETARY


DD was born and raised in Pearl City until she was 12 when her family moved to Hawaii Kai. She graduated from Kaiser High in 1976 and joined the US Air Force at the age of 17. She spent 6 years in the military, and most of her adult years in the Mainland. She moved back to Hawaii a couple of times over the years, but her career continued to take her back to Colorado and Arizona.


In 2019, DD returned to Oahu and lives in Mililani where she is the Secretary for the Olaloa Garden Club. She has a Master’s Degree in Math and Computer Science, and currently works for StratasCorp as a Project Manager/Software Developer at Camp Smith.


Prior to returning home, she lived in a little town called Black Canyon City (BCC), Arizona where she was the Secretary for Arizona Bluegrass Association (ABA). DD loved music from a young age and learned to play the ukulele in the 5th grade. Throughout the years she played the ukulele, guitar, and a bit of the harmonica, off and on. She mostly loved Hawaiian, Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Country music.


In 2016, she retired from Lockheed Martin where she worked as an Engineering Program Manager and becoming a better guitar player was on her bucket list. She started playing music with the praise team for a little community church in BCC, which led her to playing at the local bluegrass jam sessions where she fell in love with bluegrass music because the bluegrass jam sessions reminded her of the “kanikapila” jams in Hawaii.


Her first encounter with Bluegrass Hawaii was at the 2019 Bluegrass Festival at Ho’omaluhia State Park where she became a member of the organization, continues to support Bluegrass Hawaii and she joins the local jam sessions whenever she can. Because of her love of Bluegrass music and the wonderful friends she has met from the jam sessions, DD looks forward to serving as a board member for Bluegrass Hawaii.


MEGAN AHO, DIRECTOR


I showed up at a half-fast bluegrass jam seven years ago and I've been an active member of Bluegrass Hawaii ever since. I perform music for kids and families (www.mollywhuppie.com) with a focus on traditional folk songs that have stood the test of time from generation to generation. I love being a part of building our community and connecting with people through a shared love of good music.


PUNA FYRBERG, DIRECTOR


My passion for Bluegrass began as a child in Georgia listening to Bill Monroe and Herman Horsehair Bug Fuzz. I was thrilled beyond belief to find Bluegrass at Thompson Square many years ago and to meet Caroline Wright and many others. I have never missed any of our wonderful camp outs. All of our jams are joyful! I love everyone in our Bluegrass community and feel like we are a family.


CAROLINE WRIGHT, DIRECTOR


Aloha y'all! Here's a little of my background... I was raised in Upstate New York, and my folks helped establish the Adirondack Bluegrass League in 1972. I moved to Hawaii in 1990, and following in my parents’ footsteps, I founded Bluegrass Hawai‘i, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the promotion of traditional acoustic and bluegrass music in the islands, in May 2003. This year marks our 20th anniversary! In September 2009, I organized Bluegrass Hawai‘i's first jamming festival at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens, which we eventually renamed Bluegrass in the Ko‘olau.


I'm a former editor of Bluegrass Now magazine and I also worked for IBMA as Publications Editor & Special Projects Director. I'm co-author, with Tim Stafford of Blue Highway, of Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story, the authorized biography of the pioneering bluegrass guitarist. And I am also the co-host, with Mike Kear from Australia, of the Bluegrass Today Weekly Top 20 Countdown, a new podcast. I live in Kea‘au on Hawai‘i Island with my family, and I love hosting jam sessions and instigating bluegrass music! I'm happy to help Bluegrass Hawai‘i in any way that I can.


DEACON HANSON, TREASURER


Deacon Hanson has worked in the accounting industry for several years and is currently an accounting professor at Windward Community College. He is an alumni of University of Hawaii. Deacon grew up in Kekaha, on the island of Kaua’i.


After meeting a friend who invited him into the Bluegrass circle, Deacon quickly took to liking this form of Americana music, and really enjoyed how inviting the people/musicians were and how willing they were to share while tolerating his amateurism. The jams were something he looked forward to, and being able to practice and perform with friends was such a different and exhilarating experience. Deacon lives on O’ahu with his wife and seven-year old daughter.


JEB WIEMER, VICE PRESIDENT


When I'm not building and repairing musical instruments, I love getting double G runs in my ears at jams. One of my many passions is networking with other musicians and building the bluegrass family in Hawaii. I'm a founding member of The North Shore Ramblers; a bluegrass band running for 13 years on Oahu. I'm looking forward to serving on the BGH board to help facilitate new shows and activities.

Thanks, Pleasant picking




ANDREA STANTON, CO-SECRETARY


Born and raised in Canada, Andrea Stanton has Bachelor of Music majoring in piano. She teaches special education and music. Andrea has lived on the North shore of Oahu now for 7 years and loves to keep busy! She performs in a band called The North Shore Ramblers and also performs with other local artists. She enjoys playing all styles of music, playing different instruments, dancing, meeting new people and has a passion for teaching. Andrea looks forward to bringing together musicians and creating a fun environment where everyone can learn something from one another.




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