Board of Directors
Mark A. Growdon, M.S., President
Co-founder and President of Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival, Mr. Growdon has been involved with music and the arts for over eighteen years as a performer, educator, and conductor. He was the founding director/conductor of the Northshore Wind Ensemble, a youth wind ensemble for seventh through twelfth graders in the Greater New Orleans area, and continues conducting and performing throughout the community. Mr. Growdon earned a B.Mus. in Flute Performance and a B.A. in Physics from Lawrence University and Conservatory and a M.S. in Geophysics from Indiana University. He has worked for Chevron in the Greater New Orleans area since 2007 as a geologist, technical instructor, and project manager.
Jenna Sherry, M.M., Artistic Director
Artistic Director and violinist Jenna Sherry has recently performed in Dixon Hall (New Orleans), the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), the Barbican Hall (London), and the Schoenberg Center (Vienna). A graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, she was selected as a Marshall Scholar by the British government in 2008 and completed Masters in Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Active in contemporary music, she recently performed and recorded Unsuk Chin’s Double Bind? for solo violin and electronics for BBC radio broadcast. She is co-Artistic Director of the London based performance collective Gazelleship and is regularly invited to attend chamber music festivals such as the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK).
Tracey W. Sherry, Ph.D., Managing Director
Co-founder and Managing Director of the Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival, Dr. Sherry has extensive training and 20 years of non-profit management experience. A founding member of the state and national-award-winning Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, she is currently in her consecutive nineteenth year on GNOYO’s Board of Directors. Dr. Sherry has served at various times in all committees and offices of GNOYO, including chairing GNOYO’s successful Endowment Campaign, and serving five years as Board President. Dr. Sherry is a co-founder and former board member of the New Orleans String Project and has served on the Louisiana Philharmonic’s Education Committee. She has a B.A. from Swarthmore College, an M.Sc. from Carleton University, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts, the University of New Hampshire, and currently teaches for Tulane University’s Science Scholars Program. In addition to her non-profit work, Dr. Sherry is a college-admissions advisor and teaches violin in the Greater New Orleans area, both traditionally and as a Certified Suzuki Method Instructor.
John Fairlie, M.M.
Mr. Fairlie has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (GNOYO), the New Orleans String Project, and the Steamboat Springs Orchestra. He was Executive and Music Director of GNOYO for twelve years, positions he also has held with the Boulder Youth Symphony. John received his Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas, and has taught at the university level at the University of Texas, Permian Basin, and at the University of New Orleans. An active performer, John was a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) for 16 years, playing bassoon, contrabassoon, and saxophone. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, the Mexico City Opera, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and several other professional orchestras. A composer as well as performer, he premiered his Bassoon Concerto with the Temple Symphony (Texas) in 2010, and has recently completed his first string quartet and a series of duos for clarinet and bassoon. An avid jazz saxophonist, he performs regularly with the Steamboat Jazz Quartet and Steamboat Swings big band. John now lives in the mountains of northwest Colorado, where he moved with his family following Hurricane Katrina.
Michael Ball, M.Arch., Assoc. AIA
Born in Palestine, Texas, Mr. Ball is an intern architect at Mathes Brierre Architects in New Orleans. He received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tulane University in 2007, where he received the School Medal from the American Institute of Architects. His professional involvement ranges from projects at the National World War II Museum to local universities such as Dillard and Loyola to the Federal City complex on New Orleans’s Westbank. He is currently involved with the design of a new PK–8 neighborhood school in New Orleans East. Michael is also an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects, and is pursuing professional licensure. As a graphic artist and designer, Michael has worked with numerous organizations and events to create multiple visual identities for each. These include DesCours, an annual architecture and installation-art event in Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter (5 years’ involvement); New Orleans Musica da Camera, the oldest continuously performing early-music ensemble in North America (10 years’ involvement); the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas (lifelong involvement); and various others. As an avid listener and amateur French hornist throughout school and at Tulane, Michael’s longtime involvement with music led him to design the poster and program booklet for the inaugural 2012 Birdfoot Festival. Much to Birdfoot’s delight, Michael enjoys designing all of the Festival’s graphics.
Kelly Nelson, B.A.
Birdfoot’s newest board member, Kelly Nelson, recently moved to New Orleans. Kelly received her B.A. in International Relations at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. While living in Austin, Kelly was Director of Development for a Catholic school. She has extensive experience in nonprofit development including special events and annual appeals. Kelly is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and received a Principals of Development Certificate from The Fund Raising School at The Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University. She has a passion for preserving the art of classical music, and assisting the Birdfoot Festival in expanding its funding capacity.