Board of Directors
Nancy retired in 2014 as Events Coordinator for Burlington Parks and Recreation where she collaborated with Young Tradition Vermont on many projects. She was the producer of Kids Day, Burlington Winter Festival and the Pomerleau Holiday Party along with managing and acting as liaison with event producers who use the Waterfront Park Festival site. Nancy is past President of New England Festivals and Events Association, a six-state regional chapter of the International Festivals and Events Association, a professional association for the special events industry promoting networking through training, publications, and trade shows. She has been a speaker at the national IFEA Convention and co-authored a workbook titled ‘Kids Events’. An avid traveler, she has visited China, Bhutan, Bangkok, Canada, Europe and South America in addition to many places in the United States.
Bill Drislane: President
Bill is a fiddler, singer, guitarist, choral composer, writer and attorney. He lives in Jericho, Vermont in a musical house with his wife Liz Thompson (founder and director of Anima, Aurora and Social Band) and son Will Drislane (co-composer of ‘Mommy Was in the Shade’). He has been a long-time member and band leader of the Zillionaires dance band. His performances and collaborations throughout Vermont and upstate New York have included work with the Mars Rovers, Toss the Feathers, The Neighborhood Project, Social Band and Old Songs Festival. He actively promotes and performs in many genres of music in acoustic settings. His professional work includes wills, trusts and estates; small business and tax planning; and advice to non-profits and arts organizations. He was board member and chair of HomeShare Vermont (program for disabled and elderly Vermonters), and has been a board member and President of Camp For Me (day camp for adopted children.)
Since 1996, Joe has put his heart into the art of lutherie. As owner of Campanella Stringed Instruments, he works on developing the skills and knowledge essential to making high performance musical tools. His violins, mandolins and other instruments are renowned for their exacting quality and pleasure to play and listen to. His ultimate goal is to inspire musicians to new heights through sound and playability. His mandolins are based on the geometry of Cremonese violins and the Stradivari materials in Cremona, Italy. A violin or mandolin may last hundreds of years, so he builds for the music of the past, present and especially of the future. He studied at William & Mary and lives in Burlington with wife Tree and children Juniper and Jasper.
‘I draw inspiration from the classical Italian violin making tradition, my training, and personal exploration and study of modern lutherie. I build instruments which are powerfully voiced, yet transparent to the will and skill of the player.’
Nowa Crosby, Vice President
Nowa is an acomplished violinist and mandolinist. Born in North Carolina, he now lives in Shelburne with his wife Maria Delia, and plays original and jazz and Latin music and works as a luthier at his shop, Randolin Instruments on College Street in Burlington. From early 1980s to 2011 he has maintained and ran a repair business in Burlington with his friends and colleagues at Burlington Guitar and Amp. His own luthierie shop has grown to a full music store and repair center. Nowa also taught music ensemble at the Renaissance School in Shelburne. Nowa is also an ordained priest in the Zen Buddhist Tradition. He studied Zen under his teacher Sunyana Graef Sensei and has been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. ‘Nowa’ means, ‘energetic harmony and/or the capacity for peace.’ He travels with his teacher and Sangha to Canada and Costa Rica, as well as the USA, and been on several pilgrimages to Japan and China.
‘Many fellow musicians had expressed their displeasure with the many shapes and uncomfortable playability of the new electric violins. Being a violinist/fiddler, I had many of the same reservations as my compadres. Being a luthier, I had a dream to create something new. Thus followed many years of experimentation and refinement of my ideas.‘
Danielle is passionate about all forms of traditional dance and music, especially Celtic rooted forms. She dances competitively in Scottish Highland, and is an active participant in step dancing and social dance in Canada. In 2015, she built The Ceilidh Barn at her home in Sheldon, Vermont, where she hosts house concerts and workshops, and sets up a personal studio space. A trained pastry chef, she owns and operates a small commercial bakery, BakeAria (named for her love of baking and classical singing). Danielle also works as a Booking Associate with FLi Artists, an agency focused in world and folk music. She is currently back in school working towards a degree in Arts Management.
Bill is Associate Professor of American music at Saint Michael’s College. Born in Lynchburg, VA., he is the son of banjo composer Tony Ellis and the godson of bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe. An acoustic blues musician and writer by profession, Ellis holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis and a Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. He also spent nine years as the pop music critic for the Memphis daily paper, the Commercial Appeal. Among his recordings are Conqueroo, picked by Acoustic Guitar magazine as one of 2003’s best albums, and the Jim Dickinson-produced God’s Tattoos, winner of Best International Blues Recording by a Solo Artist at the 2007 Bluestar Awards in Australia. In 2004, a House of Blues Radio Hour special on “New Voices of the Blues” spotlighted Bill, and he has toured extensively including gigs with his father at the Kennedy Center, U.S. State Department tours of Cuba and Belarus, and the New Yorker Festival with actor Steve Martin. In addition, he co-produced the 2005 Handy-nominated album, Big Joe Jumps Again!, by late Cincinnati barrelhouse piano master Big Joe Duskin. Among Bill’s writing honors are a 2002 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for print media and a 2004 first place Arts & Entertainment win in the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, the oldest and best-known feature writing accolade for American newspapers. An avid world traveler, Bill lived through much of the 1990s in Japan. He is a member of the Memphis chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and a voting member of the Grammys.
Aden graduated from Burlington High School in 2014, attended Castleton University and is now a Junior at UVM. He is studying Anthropology because ‘talking about cultures intrigues me’. His work is dedicated to helping youth find their voice. He feels he’s been through what younger people are going through and uses that as an opportunity to get to know them and inspire them. He recently started an intentionally informal group called Building Blocks to Success consisting of peer mentorship through a different lens, where he has matched youth who need mentorship in their lives with his peers. Focusing on working with youth empowerment, over the summer he was a tutor/counselor for Upward Bound and was a facilitator for the Youth Leadership Institute 2016. He’s worked with youth in transition and is convinced it helps create future leaders, a movement he wants to be part of.
‘I’m not that good at singing but that’s the thing I do most….. life’s too short to be thinking you’re not good enough to be doing things!’
Kathleen has a background in education, ethnomusicology, collaborative ethnography, and public humanities administration. As a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at Brown University, Kathleen co-led an audio and video documentary project with Mbyá-Guarani musicians in southern Brazil. Kathleen has years of experience as an educator, having taught in both K-12 and higher education. She has additional years of experience teaching early childhood music and cello in private music studios. Kathleen received a BA in Hispanic Studies and a BM in Cello Performance from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, and a MA in Ethnomusicology at Brown University in Providence, RI. She lives in Chittenden County and is the Executive Director at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury.
Sarah grew up in a musical and dance-oriented family in Jericho, growing up volunteering at the Champlain Valley Festival, and has extensive experience with contra and ballroom dancing, Fiddleheads, the Young Tradition Touring Group, the instrument petting zoo, Young Tradition Showcases, and the annual contest. She was home-schooled, finishing her schooling as the valedictorian at Mt. Mansfield Union High School. She graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and is a 3rd Grade Teacher at Richford Elementary School.
Alyssa grew up playing traditional Cape Breton fiddle and step dancing in central Vermont. She has studied under expert musicians including Jerry Holland, Andrea Beaton, and Wendy MacIssac, and performed at the New World Festival and at concerts in Cape Breton. Alyssa graduated from Randolph Union High School as the valedictorian and is a nursing student at the University of Vermont. While battling a life-threatening illness as a teenager, she was inspired by the nursing care she received and now aspires to be a pediatric nurse. Alyssa is an active volunteer in the community including at year round events for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta (a camp in northern Vermont for children who have or have had cancer and their families). She is passionate about living life to its fullest and has a strong belief in the healing power of music. Alyssa also enjoys hiking, whitewater kayaking and traveling.
Brian is a performing musician and music educator. As the beneficiary of a strong public school music education program he is determined to return the favor by helping youth and adults express themselves and their shared culture though music. He has recorded and performed with countless brass and traditional string bands. As a member of the Vermont band Atlantic Crossing he developed, performed and recorded repertoire highlighting the immigrant traditions of our region. He has been involved with the Champlain Valley Folk Festival (Board Member, Site Coordinator), the Last Elm Cafe Collective, the Celtic College (Director) and also with various other groups fostering traditional music and dance in Vermont. Along with his daughter Ella, he has become involved in the Burlington Public School District music programs including the musical theater productions of Burlington’s Very Merry Theater. In recent years he has been on teaching staff at YTV Trad Camp and has also taught classes through Burlington Parks and Recreation, FlynnArts at the Flynn Center, Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler, the Sustainability Academy, and Edmunds Middle School, where he has directed the 6th Grade Jazz Band.
Rachel Schattman: Treasurer
Rachel is a native of northern Vermont, where she was raised on traditional and folk music, among other genres. She is an amateur guitar player and loves contra and square dancing. Rachel owns and operates Bella Farm in Monkton, Vermont, where she lives with her husband Pat and daughter Amelia and grows certified organic garlic. She also teaches and does research in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Rachel has been on the board of Young Tradition Vermont since its start in 2009, and she is committed to the organization’s mission to create opportunities for young people to learn, play, and perform music of many traditions and genres.
Mark Sustic: Executive Director
Mark is a consultant, educator and musician. He has worked with the Vermont Community Foundation, Save the Children, the Permanent Fund, Building Bright Futures and other organizations, and has taught at the University of Vermont, Castleton University and the University of Michigan. He has visited, taught and consulted with early childhood programs in China, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, and Bangladesh. He lives in Fletcher with his wife Deborah Travis, who is the school nurse at the Westford Elementary School, and a watercolor artist who exhibits at a variety of galleries. Their only child Thomas died in 2001, 2 years after being diagnosed with leukemia. After several years working as a musician in Canada and the Midwest, he has been involved in working with young children as a profession for over 40 years, first in Michigan and then in Vermont. He has been involved in organizing and presenting cultural events, founding and directing several non-profit arts organizations in Vermont, including the Champlain Valley Festival and Young Tradition Vermont, and continues to work with children and youth interested in learning and performing traditional music and dance. He consults with and advises a wide variety of arts presenting, education, professional and advocacy organizations.
Migmar Tsering is a Tibetan native who grew up in India due to the social and political unrest that still characterizes Tibet today. During high school he became involved with the traditional song and dance that are central to his country’s heritage. He has continued to practice these traditional arts into adulthood. He has performed in various locales in Chittenden County, including the Integrated Arts Academy, has worked with Revels North on their Silk Road Project, and helps to organize the Tibetan Festival that takes place in Burlington each fall. His performances with dranyen (Tibetan guitar), flute, and traditional dances pay tribute to an important part of Tibetan cultural history, preserving it for future generations. Migmar lives in South Burlington with his wife and family, and is a very active member of Vermont’s Tibetan community. He is past president of the Tibetan Association of Vermont.
Yasi Zeichner, Secretary
Yasi is a fiddler and singer, and a recent graduate of Vermont Technical College, majoring in Equine Studies and Business Management. Born in Budapest, Hungary, she grew up in rural Vermont, and currently lives at the family residence in central Vermont. She plays in a band with her younger brother and sister as ‘The Zeichner Trio’, and they perform at events and venues across the state, including the New World Festival, Barre Heritage Festival, Farmer’s Night at the Statehouse, and the Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge. Yasi and her siblings were introduced to YTV in 2012, and began experiencing firsthand the effectiveness of YTV’s outreach to young musicians, and how a community of musicians can become a platform for personal development and creative alliances, as well as community service. Under the YTV banner, Yasi and The Zeichner Trio have been playing at concerts and festivals, participating in workshops, and lending a hand with the mobile Instrument Petting Zoo at events. Yasi has also been involved with the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture since 2009, and currently serves on the school’s board. Her other interests include horses, outdoor/nature education for kids, photography, and drawing.