Board of Directors

C4A’s board of directors is responsible for oversight of our financial affairs and helping to guide us with policy creation based on careful thought about our mission, constituency, and goals.  Additionally, C4A has an advisory board, people we call on when they can help us with their special areas of experience.

C4A Board of Directors arranged alphabetically:

Aaron Ebata: info coming soon!
Tom Oct 2010Tom Faux  is a founding faculty member at C4A where he teaches guitar and banjo and directs the Marvelous Cretaceous Band. He is on the music faculty at Illinois State University, and he serves on the Board of Directors of Dagbe USA, a non-profit organization that supports the work of a community music school in Ghana. He has been a folklorist, a clam-digger, a radio-producer, and a member of the Amalgamated Meat-Cutters’ Union.
REx 120Rex Gaskins (vice president) is a parent of a former C4A student and charter member of the Marvelous Cretaceous Band playing mandola and mandocello. He became a formal student of the cello in 2013 studying with Sam Araya. He subscribes to the idea of Jonas Starker that playing music everyday is as essential as eating and sleeping. Rex is interested in C4A outreach activities that seek to share the infinite power of music to heal and unite. Outside of music, Rex is a professor of immunobiology at Illinois and leads an NIH-sponsored research program focused on colon cancer.
Robin Kearton vasupic 120Robin Kearton (president) is the founder and director of C4A and its flagship youth ensemble, the Bow-Dacious String Band.  She comes from a long line of teachers, and delights in helping someone attain an “Aha!” moment.  As a performing musician she is a triple-decade orchestral player and enjoys playing fiddle in old-time jams with her husband and friends.

“I am honored to have such estimable colleagues and be a part of a strong musical family, and proud of the contributions C4A has made in our community. I believe in the power of music to bring people together, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next!”

Steve Nagele 120 boardSteve Nagele:  Born in 1961, Steve has been a lifelong resident of Champaign Urbana.  His three daughters are all young adults now and he became a grandfather for the first time in March of 2015. In 1992 he left his executive position with the local high tech firm Central Data Corp and entered the bar business as the owner/operator of D.R. Diggers where he met his wife, Lori. In the winter of 2014 they purchased a second bar, Goldy’s, in Champaign.

Steve first became involved with C4A in the summer of 2010 playing violin with the adult ensemble group “the Marvelous Cretaceous Band”.  More recently he has also played with the adult bluegrass and tango ensembles. Steve has been an active volunteer and strong supporter of C4A over the years.

“I feel fortunate to live in a community that has the resources that the C4A provides. Since joining C4A I have witnessed the positive impact the C4A has had on young lives and want to be a part of supporting Robin and Tom in their efforts to make the arts accessible.

Steve Portnoy with EstherSteve Portnoy (treasurer) is an avid fan of music, including classical, baroque, light popular, folk, and more.  After retiring from his career as a professor of statistics at the University of Illinois, Steve took up playing violin.  He studies violin with Robin Kearton and has been a member of C4A’s Marvelous Cretaceous Band since 2009.  Another favorite pass time is hiking in the mountains, which he particularly likes to do with his wife, Esther.  They are shown here on the rim of Copper Canyon, Mexico.
Pat - CopyPat Ryan (secretary): Born in 1953, Pat is an avid fan of music, particularly the acoustic guitar, which has both “sustained and frustrated” him since he was 16. He became involved with The Community Center for the Arts when his sons Kelly and Grady joined the Bow-Dacious String Band several years ago.  After observing how the program was conducted and the positive impact it was having on his kids, he welcomed the opportunity to help in any way he could, including serving on the board. Pat says he plans to “continue to serve and help C4A thrive” as long as he can.
Sylvia  120Sylvia Sullivan: moved to the area with her husband, Ernie in 2003 to start Sylvia’s Irish Inn, a bed and breakfast in Urbana. Her involvement with C4A has many facets: she is a member of the Cretaceous Band, her grandchildren play with the Bow-Dacious String Band, and she’s a frequent volunteer at our many events. She believes in building relationships and wants to help children get quality music instruction..

C4A Advisory Board 

Amy Catron

Roxanne Frey

Tom Gillespie

Rob Krumm

Jan Matthews

Paul Wirth