About the Board of Directors
The Jazz Room is being birthed by the Board of Directors of the Grand River Jazz Society. Your Board represents the broader community of Waterloo Region, with leaders from the arts, business, research, and non-profit sectors.
Stephen Preece is Associate Professor of Strategy at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business & Economics. His research and teaching focus is on the management of performing arts organizations and he has presented and published over 30 scholarly articles on a range of related topics. Stephen has served on several arts organization boards including NUMUS, Penderecki String Quartet, Gryphon Trio, and the Robert Langen Gallery. An active amateur performer, Stephen plays piano in a variety of ensembles, sings in the Juno-nominated DaCapo Chamber Choir, and is Music Director at the Unitarian Church in Kitchener. He is currently involved as the researcher on a multi-year project focused on increasing private sector participation in the arts in Canada (sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and Business for the Arts). Stephen writes frequently as a music critic for The Record newspaper.
John Lord was the founder of the Centre for Community Based Research in Kitchener, and is a leader in the Canadian non-profit sector. As an author and researcher, he has been involved with numerous community initiatives across Canada, and has authored or co-authored several books focused on ways to build welcoming communities for citizens who have typically been excluded from community life. John is also a partner in the Facilitation Leadership Group that provides training and consultation with communities across Canada. He has been a volunteer with many non-profit organizations, and is currently co-chair of the New Story Group of Waterloo Region. He is a long-time jazz lover and sees the Jazz Room as a way to build community through music.
Ruth Harris is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business & Economics. She is the Chair of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Foundation. She is a big supporter of live music of any genre. She earned her PhD in Management Sciences from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo. She became a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2005, and was a founding member of the KW CFA branch.
Tom Nagy had a successful career in software development and engineering management at Research In Motion before shifting gears to pursue a second degree in Music at Toronto’s Humber College. He is now building a name for himself in music performance and production, having studied with Rich Brown, Pat LaBarbera, Ian Terry and many other luminaries of the Canadian jazz and music production fields. Tom currently performs with Jazz Williams, Vanessa Marie Carter, and a long list of Canadian jazz, rock and blues ensembles. As a leader in local volunteer organizations, Tom brings artistry, engineering background and can-do attitude to everything he does.
As the founder of improvisation group Digital Prowess, curator for the K-W Arts Awards show, a project manager for the Open Ears Festival, and a board member for NUMUS, Jason White is active at the forefront of musical and interdisciplinary art-making in Waterloo Region. He performs regularly with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and works as a vocal accompanist for opera and musical theatre. In 2004, he received a K-W Arts Award in the Leading Edge category (for emerging artists). The Jason White Trio is popular on the creative jazz scene, and Jason is seen often throughout Ontario as a soloist. Jason is also in high demand as a festival adjudicator and as an educator, maintaining a private studio of approximately 70 students. He is an examiner with Conservatory Canada, and is a Registered Music Teacher through ORMTA, as well as a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association. In 2007, he published two books of harp music called Harpology, and 15 of its 16 compositions were added to the Royal Conservatory of Music harp syllabus.
Colin Read has been an avid amateur and professional musician for the last thirty years, with varying proficiency on a diverse palate of instruments ranging from classical guitar to drum kit. His passion for music, and a recent but rapidly growing appreciation for jazz, led him to be an early supporter of the Jazz Room. He brings board and organizational experience drawn from his active participation on several non-profit boards including Project Ploughshares and Brighton Yards Housing Co-op.
Ashok Thirumurthi is an avid amateur musician with a Minor in Performance from the University of Waterloo in ‘cello. Undaunted by any new pursuit in music, Ashok is currently learning piano, vocal, bass guitar, and studies the music of South India on veena and gatam. A wide interest in musical styles has culminated in a love of jazz, swing and Karnatic music. Ashok has been involved with the jazz room since its first season as author of the online advancers that promote the musicians, their music, and the sets that they craft. He brings board and organizational experience drawn from his work in software consulting and his work with Child Haven International. Ashok brings a genuine love of the jazz room experience to his growing role on the board in support of emerging artists.
Curtis Dueck is active in the digital world, where he directs a collection of private and non-profit ventures. Prior to caring about business or technology, Curtis worked as a classical singer, conductor, and sessional music instructor at several Canadian universities. He currently sings with the Da Capo Chamber Choir and directs the choir at Grand River Unitarian Congregation. A recent immigrant to the region, Curtis believes that KW is a better place to live now that a premier jazz club is a part of the Uptown mix.