2020 Board of Directors
Keith Kirkland - President
I joined KGMC as the Production Manager right after returning to Knoxville in 2018. At the time, joining was a way to not only practice my primary art form—lighting design—but to also reengage with the Knoxville Community which I’d been a part of from 2002-2014 before following my husband to get his PhD. I’d originally seen KGMC perform at Pride years before and couldn’t believe how large the organization had become in such a short period of time.
Working with KGMC over the past few years, I’ve been moved by the brotherhood among the members, shared on and off stage, and by the engagement and support of our community. KGMC showcases the best of our humanity and is helping redefine the popular narrative of what it means to be LGBT in the south.
Before leaving Knoxville in 2014, I’d become very engaged in Diversity and Inclusion efforts on the UT Campus. I see joining the KGMC Board as a way to re-join that effort as a part now of the larger Knoxville community. My hope is that my background in management at the Clarence Brown Theatre will help me support and grow the Chorus’ efforts. The coming year will be very challenging with the current economic and social impacts of the COVID health crisis, but this time of social growth offers us an unprecedented opportunity to grow as an organization and help showcase and support the diversity of our community.
Bleu Copas - Vice President
I have decided to return to the KGMC Board because I have a passion for the advocacy and activism involved with KGMC’s mission. I feel my past experiences have prepared me to be an asset to this team. I want to lead when able. I want to find creative ways to make KGMC more financially stable and explore ways to engage our past, current and potential donors. I want the community to feel more of an ownership of their Chorus, and that it belongs to them, and that they care if it thrives. I want to find ways to develop partnerships with communities and settings we haven’t been able to reach yet, particularly in educational settings and communities of color. I want to help KGMC be more responsible in our commitment to marginalized communities.
Joe Jackson - Treasurer
Dan Rojas - Secretary
Alan Stevens - Artistic Director
Alan Stevens is the acting artistic director for KGMC. He is currently the Associate Director of Choral Activities and Coordinator of Vocal Music Education at ETSU. Prior to coming to KGMC, Dr. Stevens resided in Tucson, AZ, where he was the Assistant Director of the Tucson Chamber Artists, a professional choir and orchestra composed of musicians from across the United States. Dr. Stevens conducted works including Brahms’ Begräbnisgesang and Copland’s Four Motets, in addition to preparing and performing Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Mozart’s Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil (Vespers), and many others. For two seasons, he was a member of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Charles Bruffy. Dr. Stevens appears with the Chorale on the album Northern Lights, released in 2012 on the Chandos label.
Prior to Tucson, he spent two years as a freelance musician in New York City, where he studied voice with the late Shirlee Emmons. He performed in a variety of opera, theatre and choral productions, and he sang with The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. Dr. Stevens taught middle and secondary vocal music in Illinois public schools for six years, during which time his choirs won multiple awards at the regional and state levels. He was recognized each year in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and received the Educator of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars in 2004. Dr. Stevens maintains an active career as a professional choral singer. He is under contract with the Tucson Chamber Artists and the Tennessee Chamber Chorus.
He is devoted to the research and discovery of early-American music, pre-1850. His dissertation focused on the performance practice of William Billings’ music, and Dr. Stevens was recently selected to present on this topic at the 2013 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. He received undergraduate degrees in music education and vocal performance from Millikin University, where he studied conducting with Brad Holmes. Dr. Stevens completed the Master of Music degree at Northern Illinois University and the Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Arizona, where his primary mentors were Bruce Chamberlain and Elizabeth Schauer. Dr. Stevens is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Recording Academy, National Association for Music Education, Chorus America, National Association of Teachers of Singing, College Music Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Lambda Theta, and Phi Mu Alpha.
Ben Nicholas - Operations Committee Chair
Bethany Love - Outreach Committee Chair
As a native East Tennessean, I love our region and community and want to do my part to make it a better place; as a clinical social worker, I am devoted to diversity and inclusion; and as a lifelong music lover, I believe that music enriches our lives and can unite us on common ground. Serving on the the KGMC board gives me the opportunity to focus these three areas of passion in my life into one meaningful opportunity to serve my community and make the world a better place.
Shannon Herron - Digital Media Committee Chair
Shannon Herron is a Knoxville native who is passionate about our Scruffy Little City and all that it has to offer. Shannon studied fine art as an undergraduate before going on to get his MFA in design at the University of Tennessee. Shannon is the Media Coordinator for Dogwood Arts, overseeing the marketing, overall communications, and design services for their 18 annual events and programs. Shannon currently also serves on the board for the Tennessee Equality Project and The Historic Old City Association.
Susan Watson Arbital
I have really enjoyed the KGMC performances I have seen and thought it would be a good organization to serve.
I have chosen to serve on the Board of the KGMC as a way to get more involved with the LGBTQ community in Knoxville. I have lived in Knoxville for five years and have made a home out of Knoxville. I want to get involved more in the community and especially with the LGBTQ community to help make an impact on my community.
I joined the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus in the fall of 2017 as a singing member, and have remained a member ever since. The Chorus has made a radically positive difference in my life. It has provided a ‘chosen family’ of wonderful people whom I love and depend on. Beyond that, though, I feel that we serve as a beacon of light, inclusivity, and positive representation in our community. Ultimately, that is the most important part of this group, for me, and I am honored to be able to serve the organization in a new way as a member of the Board.