Our People

Rhonda Lyne, Executive Director
Rhonda is a scientist by day and avid supporter of the arts by night. Rhonda has had an active role with the Midwest Music Foundation since the inaugural fundraiser, Apocalypse Meow, in 2008. Inspired by our founder, Abigail Henderson, Rhonda is dedicated to the mission of the MMF. Current duties include fundraising, volunteer and event coordination, overseeing the health care fund, and other day to day activities of the organization.

Sondra Freeman, Director of Promotions and Artist Relations
After meeting Executive Director, Rhonda Lyne, while buying raffle tickets at an MMF function, Sondra was immediately interested in the organization’s mission and quickly became an active volunteer. Sondra’s extensive fundraising background and her lifelong love of music made her an immediate asset. Her duties have grown, and she functions as a band liaison by managing booking, promotions and many other aspects of event planning.
Sondra’s life outside of MMF includes Assistant Manager at the Buffalo Room, a performance space in Westport, and co-owner of Big Mac’s Fireworks.

Bryant Miller, JD, Development Officer
Bryant is currently a consultant with over thirty years of sales and marketing experience in the legal publishing and educational technology markets helping investors understand and keep up to date. Bryant is a great appreciator of the Kansas City art, music, and performance community and has worked as a volunteer and associate with the FOLK Alliance International. This has led to a passion for helping artists and musicians who need and are supported by the work and services the Midwest Music Foundation provides. Mainly a guitarist born and bred on the British Invasion, Bryant has also been known to help out as a bassist for cover bands best forgotten. Bryant has an undergraduate degree in Art History from Kent State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron. He has also traveled extensively in the Midwest and Central Plains area of the country as well as to Europe, Mexico, Jamaica, and Japan.

Michelle Bacon, Editor
Michelle Bacon is a musician and writer dedicated to Kansas City’s thriving music community. As a web content writer at 90.9 The Bridge, she highlights emerging local artists and upcoming music events; she also freelances for The Kansas City Star and Ink. In addition to playing bass with The Philistines and drums with Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds, Michelle plays with and works as a social media/marketing consultant with a number of other local music projects. She works as a writer and editor for Midwest Music Foundation.

Brenton Cook, Promotions Specialist
Brenton became involved with the Midwest Music Foundation after attending the first two years of the MidCoast Takeover events in Austin, TX, which helped cultivate his desire to give back to the Kansas City music scene.
Brenton started independent Kansas City-based record label Haymaker Records in 2014 and coordinates the Outer Reaches music festival. He is the curator of the Midwestern Audio local compilation CD series. Brenton has also assisted with concert and music promotions for MMF. Brenton functioned as a DJ, business manager and assistant music director of his college radio station and has carried this passion for new music with him ever since. He is interested in growing Midwest Music Foundation’s visibility within the community and providing different ways for people to access new local music.

Canyon McClung, Production Specialist
Canyon started volunteering for MMF at the ripe old age of 17. He took particular interest in the technical aspects of making live music happen and quickly began learning how to run sound and lighting. He is now an intricate part of making any MMF show happen. By day you’ll find Canyon printing your band’s merchandise at Seen Merch.

New Staff 2018

Christopher Tate, Technology, Website

BOARD

Scott Easterday, President, Website
Musician and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Scott Easterday is a singer/songwriter, performer, producer, composer, and recording artist. Easterday is producer, songwriter and guitarist for Expassionates. Easterday has been active in many projects in the Kansas City music and arts community for over two decades. He was a producer of the rock stage at the Kansas City Spirit Fest. He is the local host for the multi-city showcase The Love Hangover on the day after Valentine’s Day. Easterday wrote review articles and produced video interviews for KCMetropolis, Kansas City’s online arts journal. He maintains the MMF website and also works at the Spencer Library at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Chris Meck, Vice President
Musician and CM2 Audio
Chris is a musician and the co-owner of CM2 Audio. He has been captivated by music his whole life and playing guitar since he was able to lift one. As a founding member of the Midwest Music Foundation, Chris is dedicated to supporting musicians and promoting the amazing music developing in the greater Kansas City area. Chris is responsible for coordinating music production for MMF, for live shows and recordings.

Garrett Nordstrom, Treasurer
Musician and Birdsway Productions
D. Garrett Nordstrom has 30 years music industry experience and a distinct interest in musician’s needs. Nordstrom has been a songwriter, producer, guitarist, band manager, grant writer and an elementary school music teacher. Nordstrom is the chief operating officer of Governmental Assistance Services in Lawrence, KS and manages the musical group Maria the Mexican. He was born in St Joseph MO to a soldier and Playboy Bunny. He serves as treasurer for the Midwest Music Foundation.

Dr. K. Allen Greiner, MD, MPH, Chair of Health + Wellness
University of Kansas Medical Center
K. Allen Greiner, MD, MPH is currently Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in Kansas City, Kansas. He directs the department’s Research Division. He completed an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Brown University and medical school and a Family Medicine residency at the University of Kansas. He is a practicing family physician and is the Medical Officer for the Kansas City, Kansas, Wyandotte County Unified Government Health Department. Since 2002 he has been one of two primary faculty advisors to the Jaydoc Free Clinic, a medical student run clinic for the uninsured in Kansas City. He directs the Kansas Patients and Providers Engaged in Prevention Research (KPPEPR) Network. This primary care practice-based research network serves as an important research laboratory for health studies and projects in rural and urban safety-net clinics across the state of Kansas. Over the last decade the KPPEPR Network has been the primary recruitment setting for four separate National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 intervention studies and an ongoing multi-year comparative effectiveness trial of weight loss strategies in rural Primary care (PCORI funded, C. Befort, PI). In August 2017, he completed work after seven years of funding on an NIH U54 award supporting the Kansas Community Cancer Disparities Network. This Community Networks Program Center grant from the National Cancer Institute worked with Latinos and American Indians across the region and was one of 23 cancer health disparities centers across the US. He has also directed the community engagement program (the Community Partnership for Health) for the past seven years in Frontiers, the KUMC Clinical Translational Science Award Program. Through this program he leads efforts to expand community-based research and to assure a strong infrastructure and community input into KUMC’s bioscience activities. He has received federal and foundation grant support to study health information technology, health disparities, chronic disease management, health literacy, and patient health risk behavior in rural and underserved community settings.

Kait Perry, MPH, Public Health Officer
Kansas Public Health Association
Kait is a Jayhawk and Kansas native. She spent a few years in Boston completing her degrees, Master of Public Health in Health Law and Bioethics and Human Rights at Boston University. Kait specializes in health policy and health promotion, working to address barriers and inequities within undeserved populations. She played the flute until she thought it wasn’t cool any more and had a short stint with the bass guitar, but dreams about learning the ukulele. Kait was raised to love all types of music and almost always prefers any type of music live. Her favorite treasure is her mom’s record player, found in a closet in her grandparent’s house. Kait spends her days in Lawrence, and is a big fan of the great outdoors, dogs, and playing kickball.

Terry Uhl, Chair of Development
Uhl Engineering, Inc.
Terry Uhl has had a long, enjoyable career as a civil engineer and business owner, accompanied by a lifetime of playing, studying, discovering and listening to many genres of music. MMF is an initiative where he can contribute to the growth and well-being of musician entrepreneurs.

Vi Tran, Chair of Membership
Musician and The Buffalo Room
Vi Tran is a storyteller, singer/songwriter, actor and arts advocate. He is the curator of The Buffalo Room, an artists’ salon and performance venue in Kansas City. Born in Vietnam and raised in southwestern Kansas, Tran considers himself equal parts sea salt & wheat fields.

New Board 2018

Eric Barton, General Counsel
Eric is an attorney with a national litigation practice, often suing large companies when they break the law or break their word.  He is an occasional newspaper columnist and an ordained minister (online).  Eric loves a good college town, as he grew up in Manhattan (the Little Apple) and lived for 20 years in Lawrence.  He holds degrees from both K-State and KU, but he cheers harder for K-State.  Eric is also an enthusiastic supporter of live, local music in Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, and his other favorite music city, New Orleans.  He has been known to host house concerts, occasionally bringing musicians together from those cities for a downright hootenanny.  He used to play some basketball at lunchtime, but he now mostly limits his athletic pursuits to pickleball and slow-pitch softball.  He has two, mostly-grown children, a son and a daughter, who make him very proud.

Ellen Sherman, Secretary, Chair of Marketing
Ellen is currently an event specialist in the financial services industry, and although she’s planning conferences for professionals by day, her heart lies with the music industry. Her interest in music began in 2011 with an internship at 101 the Fox and eventually led to planning music festivals, benefit concerts,  gala’s and radio shows throughout her college career. Upon graduating college in 2015, Ellen was searching for a non-profit to put all of her efforts in and MMF seemed to be the perfect fit! Now, 2 years later, Ellen is Chair of the Marketing Committee for MMF.

In her free time, she likes wandering to far places, eating vegetable Korma and attending music festivals.

Camry Ivory, Chair of Education
Camry Ivory is a singer-songwriter from Kansas City, claiming both sides of the state line as her home.  She is an active performer in the Kansas City musical scene, lending her vocal and piano talents to various musical endeavors ranging from jazz and funk to folk and experimental pop. Professionally, she has worked in the field of higher education access and social equity for over a decade.  She is excited to merge her passions for music and social service by serving on the MMF board.

Amber Hulet, Chair of Volunteers
Amber has been actively volunteering in the Kansas City area for several years and while there is some variety in the nonprofit groups she lends her support to, most of the organizations focus on maintaining an active arts community.  She is excited to have the opportunity to use this experience to connect enthusiastic music fans with the mission of the Midwest Music Foundation, not only engaging volunteers but creating advocates for local musicians.   When she is not lending her time to a good cause or enjoying live music, Amber is providing risk management with the leading agricultural lending cooperative in Missouri.  She also proudly takes on the role of mother to a daughter that the sun rises and sets upon.

Midwest Music Foundation has a volunteer Staff and Board.

Our dedicated Staff and Board donate their time and expertise to keep the foundation running smooth.
Small Stipends are sometimes given to help offset expenses or lost wages.
Staff or Board members are eligible to be awarded Contracts and receive Grants from Abby’s Fund.

Portrait photography by Todd Zimmer.