2020 Board of Directors
Keith Kirkland - President
Originally from Conyers, GA, Keith Kirkland first moved to Knoxville in 2002 to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in Lighting Design at the University of Tennessee. Nationally recognized as a lighting designer in 2005 by the United States Institute for Technical Theatre for his body of work, Keith has designed more than 150 shows including 3 with KGMC. As Production and then General Manager for the Clarence Brown Theatre from 2007-2014, Keith became heavily involved in both Knoxville’s performing arts–working with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Opera Company, and the Actor’s Co-Op among others–but also in UT’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusion–serving as the Chair of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People in 2012-2013. Returning to Knoxville in 2018 after following his husband to pursue a PhD, Keith now works as a Construction Manager for the Public Building Authority and joined the KGMC Board of Directors in July 2018.
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
Joe is a Charter Member and a Past President of the KGMC. He has been a resident of Knoxville since his days of study at “THE” University of Tennessee. Through the years Joe has served and presided over many area non-profit originations in East Tennessee. He and his husband Kelly (27 years strong) have a seven-year-old son/Welsh Terrier named Storm. Each Monday – Friday he can be found as the Human Resources Director for several Knoxville automotive dealerships.
Joe returned to the KGMC Board in 2019 as the Treasure, a role in which he first served at the founding of the chorus in 2012. Joe states I have witnessed the growth of this chorus in many ways and want to do my part to make sure that continues so that others will have that safe place, feel connected and most of all loved.
Joe’s mantra… “Telling our stories through song.”
Dan Rojas - Secretary
Alan Stevens - Artistic Director
Dr. Alan Stevens was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus in June of 2015. Under his direction the chorus has grown in active membership, the number of performances has significantly increased, and he has created two small ensembles. Alan led the chorus to its first appearance at the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) Festival of Choruses in July of 2016, and he will return with KGMC to present a featured hour-long “Coffee Concert” at GALA Festival 2021 in Minneapolis. Most importantly, he has helped the chorus increase its commitment to outreach concerts and events that directly support other local and regional nonprofit organizations.
Alan is also an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University, where he is the Co-Director of Choral Activities. He conducts the BucsWorth Tenor Bass Choir and Greyscale, an a cappella jazz/pop ensemble. BucsWorth has received numerous awards and frequently performs throughout the region. Greyscale has released four studio albums, all available on major digital music distributors. Alan’s university choirs have collaborated with Alice Parker, Ola Gjeilo, Daniel Gawthrop, Chanticleer, The Swingles, New York Voices, Deke Sharon, Ben Bram, and many local composers and performing groups. Alan is a contributing author to volume four of Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir, and a contributing author to Conducting Men’s Choirs. In 2017 he was selected by the American Choral Directors Association as an International Conductors Exchange fellow and traveled to Brazil to guest conduct at the renowned Conservatório de Tatuí. He returned on invitation in 2018 for a week-long residency. In June of 2019 he conducted and presented at the International Forum on American Choral Music in San Juan, Argentina.
Prior to moving to Tennessee, Alan lived in Arizona and sang for two seasons with the Phoenix Chorale. He appears on their album Northern Lights, voted the Best Classical Album of 2012 on iTunes. He sang for three seasons with True Concord (Tucson, AZ) and appears on the Grammy-nominated album Far in the Heavens, released in 2015. He also appears as a featured soloist with the CORO Vocal Artists on the album Sweet Music Here.
Alan began his career teaching secondary choral music in Illinois, followed by several years as a freelance musician in New York City where he studied voice with the late Shirlee Emmons. Alan received undergraduate degrees in music education and vocal performance from Millikin University, the Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona. Alan is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Recording Academy, National Collegiate Choral Organization, Chorus America, National Association for Music Education, GALA Choruses, College Music Society, Pi Kappa Lamda, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Lambda Theta, and Phi Mu Alpha.
Ben Nicholas - Operations Committee Chair
Bethany Love - Outreach Committee Chair
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 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.