President: Eric Vander Stel
Vice-President: Bennie Keys
Secretary/Treasurer: Andrea Giba
Christina Fong, Chris Martin, Kevin Murphy, Elgin Vines & Mary Rademacher
President: Eric VanderStel
Eric VanderStel has been a guitarist and vocalist playing west Michigan area night clubs since 1974. He has been a Local 56 member since 1976 and on the Board since 1994. He graduated from Union High School and attended music classes at Grand Valley State University from where he became a guitar instructor for Grand Rapids Public Schools. In his professional career he's been the leader of bands Ira Mayor, Suspect, Mustang, L56 Blues Allstars and a member of the Cimmaron Band. He has done recording work at River City Studios, Fast Tracks, and Station C Studios. Other credits include opening for Willie Nelson, Mitch Ryder, and Bobby Bear. Eric is a husband and father to one child and a Fourth Degree Master teaching martial arts Tae Kwon Do at the YMCA.
Vice President: Bennie Keys
Vice President Bennie Keys has been a member of Local 56 since 1989. He has been on the Executive board for about 7 years. He was also on The AFM's Diversity Council for two years. He is also the Business agent for our very fine Local. If you would like to contact him, his number is 813-0753, E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secretary/ Treasurer: Andrea Giba
Andrea Giba began her stint as Secretary/Treasurer in January, 2018. She knew she wanted to play the saxophone when she picked it up in fourth grade. Throughout her elementary and high school years, she was active in the concert band, the jazz band, the marching band, the concert choir, and even learned other instruments, like the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and flute, and earned many medals during competitions. She also organized a big-band era cover band that played for reunions, county fairs, etc. After her senior year, she auditioned for and was selected to represent the United States in Europe with America's Youth in concert, which included playing at the Kennedy Center and the great Carnegie Hall. She now plays her saxophone at her church and at other venues like the GR Festival Of the Arts and with other exciting groups like Bennie Keys and Friends. Aside from all the music, Andrea has worked for the Space Shuttle Program at Cape Canaveral, has a green belt in Karate, and also has a Solo Pilot's License.
Board Member: Elgin Vines
Elgin Vines has been described as one of the most sought-after jazz bassists in Western Michigan. He started stroking the strings professionally over 40 years ago, making a switch from woodwinds at the urging of his college music professor who needed a good bassist and pointed out greater career opportunities for bass players.
As a retired technologist and claims analyst for Amway Corporation, Elgin plays these days for the love of it and spends his spare time listening to his jazz collection, as well as offering technical assistance and moral support to young bassists when requested. He also leads his own group, ELGIN VINES & COMPANY.
Board Member: Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy has been a member of Local 56 since 2000 and became a Board Member in 2008. He has a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Aquinas College, studied at Berkley Jazz Music Conservatory in Boston and attended the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. He teaches private lessons in guitar, sax, bass and voice.
Kevin has played music professionally most of his life, currently fronting his own band, Murphy's Law on sax, vocals and guitar, and he also does a solo act. Over the years, he has opened for James Brown and played with Junior Walker's All-Star Band, as well as some Motown groups. He also does some vocal recording, music arranging and orchestration, and he practices martial arts.
Kevin says, "I support youth in their pursuit of music because it was what helped me prepare for my career in music. I have two beautiful daughters and I am still a free spirit. My pursuit of the martial arts encompasses a combination of styles; as a result, my approach seems to be a bit unorthodox but effective."
Christopher Martin landed in Grand Rapids in 1988 after winning an audition to be a violinist in the Grand Rapids Symphony. He initially joined the AF of M while studying and freelancing in central Ohio and environs where he grew up (Local 103, Columbus, OH). Chris previously served on the Local 56 Executive Board in 1992/93 under then President John Kik. At that time he was instrumental in helping to create the Robert Madura Memorial Scholarship to aid high school string students with tuition for summer music festival education. Over his years in Grand Rapids he has been involved in both Grand Rapids Symphony contract negotiations (4) and contract administration (numerous terms on the GRS Orchestra Committee including a stint as Chair when the the GRS unilaterally tried to change its Long Term Disability insurance policy carrier in violation of the contract, and another when the GRS mounted a poorly planned tour of Michigan's Upper Peninsula which introduced Chris to the value of the aural sleep aid of simulated waves crashing on the shore -- thank you Kevin Flannnery!). Chris has also represented the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony at multiple orchestra player conferences (we were in the Regional Orchestra Player Association in those days). He remembers Costa Mesa (1992), Omaha (1997), Cleveland (2000), Dayton (2009), and the epic ROPA/ICSOM Conference in Las Vegas (1998) which he attended with then Local 56 President Ray Gill.
Board Member: Christina Fong
Christina Fong was elected to the Board of Directors for Local 56 in January 2017.
A member of the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Local 56 since 1988, Fong is currently Associate Concertmaster and plays in the Symphony’s Calder Quintet, which tours western Michigan giving civic and educational concerts. From 1990 to 2002 Fong served as an adjunct instructor of violin at Grand Valley State University.
Michigan resident Christina Fong is a leading performer of new music on the violin and viola. Fong’s series of recordings on OgreOgress, mostly world premieres, include several of Cage’s final works (the ‘number pieces’ One6, One10, Two4, Four, Twenty-Three and Twenty-Six with Twenty-Eight & Twenty-Nine), Feldman’s complete violin, viola and piano works, his Violin and String Quartet and three early quartets, Hovhaness’s published works for violin, viola and keyboard and three of his concertos with strings, several Schoenberg string works and fragments, Alvear’s Fuerzas for viola and string quartets by Beardsley, Toub, Kotlowy and Prokop. The diverse group of artists in collaboration include sitarist Gaurav Mazumdar, keyboardist Arved Ashby, cellist Karen Krummel, percussionist Glenn Freeman, pianist Paul Hersey, the Prague Winds, shō player Tamami Tono, the Rangzen Quartet & Strings, conductor Rastislav Štúr and the Slovak Philharmonic.
Fong has bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University, where she graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was awarded the honorary title “Eckstein Scholar.” Her principle violin teachers were Blair Milton, Myron Kartman and Donna Schaff. She studied orchestral music with Samuel Magad, Rubin Gonzales, Francis Akos, Charlie Pikler, Blair Milton and Edgar Muenzer and received chamber music coaching from Gerardo Ribiero, Donald Owens and Ray Still. Fong has held positions with the Florida Philharmonic and Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Board Member: Mary Rademacher
Mary Rademacher was appointed to the Board of Directors in February of 2017. Mary also works as a part-time office assistant for the Secretary/Treasurer and has been a member of Local 56 since 1998.
Rademacher is a professional, free lance vocalist and entertainer - performing locally, regionally, nationally and was a part of a USO/DOD tour to the Orient and South Pacific. She works with her own various groups and musicians for clubs, corporate, wedding, theme events & more. She is also a member of the female vocal trio, The Boogie Woogie Babies, performing girl-group music throughout the eras. Rademacher was awarded the Jazz Musician of the Year award in 2006 by The West Michigan Jazz Society and served on the WMJS Board of Directors from 1998 through 2009. Rademacher was also a featured headliner at Tootsie van Kelly's, a popular night spot at the Amway Grand Plaza for many years.
With her vast theatrical experience, Mary has been an educator at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre School for the Arts as a vocal/dance/acting coach for many years, and has been working with Kenowa Hills HIgh School Performing Arts Department since 2010 as co-director, choreographer and costumer.
Mary holds a BA from Michigan State University in Telecommunications, with a double minor in Music and Theatre. She graduated from GRCC with an Associate of Arts in 1979.