Staff & Board
Executive Artistic Director - Norah Rendell
Norah is a dedicated music educator with over 10 years of experience in arts administration and management. She has a masters in Irish traditional music performance from the University of Limerick in Ireland and a bachelor of music degree with a major in music education and Early Music Performance from McGill University. Norah is also an award-winning singer and Irish flute-player with an active performing career as a soloist and with the Two Tap Trio. From 2006-2013, she toured internationally as lead vocalist and of UK/Ireland-based band, The Outside Track.
Norah has given guest lectures and workshops at University College Cork, the University of Limerick, the Folk Steps Conference in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. Her performances have been featured live on MPR's Heartland Radio, CBC's Canada Live, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal. Norah's recordings have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta (Ireland) and on folk shows across Canada and the United States.
Office Manager & Bookkeeper - Erika Nelson
Originally from Wisconsin, Erika recently relocated to the Twin Cities from New York where she worked as a program assistant for ArtsConnection and as a freelance modern dancer. Before moving to New York, she graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a BFA in Dance. Erika grew up singing in choirs and playing the piano. CIM's first official employee, Erika has been in a key administrative role since 2011. Erika is in charge of students accounts, payments and invoices and helps to manage the office. Erika works on Tuesdays & Thursdays.
Events and Communications Coordinator - Aja McCullough Beers
Since graduating from Macalester College in 2008, Aja has provided communications and fundraising leadership for several Twin Cities nonprofits. Aja has been a part of the CIM community for many years as a volunteer and student of whistle, song, fiddle and guitar. She also works part-time as a fantasy writer. On staff at CIM, Aja writes the newsletter, coordinates events and volunteers, social media, photographs CIM events, and makes many other things happen. Aja works on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-1pm, plus a few hours remotely as needed around busy event times.
Registration Coordinator & Administrative Associate - Hannah Carr-Murphy
Hannah Carr-Murphy is a flutist, poet, and singer from Iowa. She earned undergraduate degrees in Flute Performance and English from University of Northern Iowa in 2016 and completed a MA in Community Music from University of Limerick in 2017. Her final master's research was an analysis of gender disparity in high school jazz participation in Iowa. Hannah was a student at the CIM in summer 2015, and is overjoyed to return as staff. Her office hours are 12-6pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and 9am-3pm Tuesday/Friday.
Board of Directors
Board President, Mike O'Connor. Mike is an actuary, a guitar student, and a member of an adult ensemble at the Center for Irish Music. He and his wife run a u-pick blueberry farm called Blueberry Farms of Stillwater.
Vice President & Secretary, Patrick Cole. Pat is an attorney and uilleann piper from St. Paul, Minnesota. He also serves on the boards of the Irish Music and Dance Association and the Great Northern Irish Pipers Club.
Treasurer, Greg Padden. Greg lives in Elk River, plays guitar, sings and is part of an ensemble with his two children, both of whom study at the Center For Irish Music. Greg manages wholesale electricity sales and contracts for Great River Energy, holds a MBA degree and is a former Navy officer.
At Large, Teisha Magee. Teisha comes to CIM with nearly 20 years of fundraising and event planning experience. She is currently the Senior Program Supervisor at Keystone Community Services, West 7th site. Her four children have been students at CIM since 2007.
At Large, Laura Billings Coleman. Laura is a communications and nonprofit development consultant specializing in storytelling strategies for foundations, colleges, and cultural institutions. She lives in St. Paul with three sons who study harp, fiddle, guitar and banjo at the Center for Irish Music, and her husband, Nick, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Irish rebel songs.
At Large, Mike Lynch. Mike was the President of the Center for Irish Music board from 2007-2013 and previously served on the board of the Irish Fair of Minnesota. Mike is President of Minneapolis-based Controls & Meters, Inc.
At Large, Jan Casey. Jan is an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of Irish music through her work with the Irish Music and Dance Association, the Center for Irish Music, and the Irish Fair's Cultural Committee. She is a retired communications professional, living in St. Paul with husband Mike.
At Large, Dave McKenna. Dave is a physician at the University of Minnesota and a flute student at the Center for Irish Music. His wife and two children are also CIM students.
At Large, David Rhees. Dave brings to CIM 23 years of experience as executive director of The Bakken Museum as well as leadership experience on numerous nonprofit boards. He has a Ph.D. in the history of science and in his retirement consults on the history of medical technology. He plays Irish and Quebecois fiddle with his wife Suzanne in the duo Bundle & Go, and has been studying voice and Irish song at CIM.
At Large, Jo An Vano. Jo Ann Vano is a media consultant committed to supporting community organizations. She previously served as president of the board at KFAI radio and is a founding board member and president of the board of the African Development Center MN. She also serves on the board of the Celtic Junction Arts Center and is co-chair of CIM's 2018 Harvest Home and Minnesota Irish Music Weekend. Jo Ann is a dedicated CIM student of the Irish button accordion.