Local 56 Executive Board Members
President: Bennie Keys
Vice-President: Kevin Murphy
Secretary / Treasurer: Andrea Giba
Christina Fong, Charles Johnson, Sterling Jenkins, Fred Mitchell, Kevin Flannery, Michael Doyle
President: Bennie Keys
Bennie Keys is a jazz & pop drummer and has been a member of Local 56 since 1989. He was elected to the Local 56 Executive Board, later becoming the Vice President, and in 2018 was elected President. He has been on the Diversity Council for the American Federation of Musicians for several years. If you would like to contact him, his number is 813-0753, E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President: Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy has been a member of Local 56 since 2000 and became a Board Member in 2008. As of January 2019 he was elected as acting Vice President. He has a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Aquinas College, studied at Berkley Jazz Music Conservatory in Boston, attended the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles and teaches privately on 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 the God Father of Soul - "Mr.James Brown", played with Junior Walker's All-Star Band as well as some Motown groups while living in Hollywood. He also does vocal recording, musical arranging and orchestration for area local Artist.
I support youth who want to pursue live music because it can be very helpful when those who are involved take an interest in them. Both Elementary and High Schools cease to have art's programs because of budget cut backs and as a result we as a musical committee need to be vibrant and visible. This helps make young people aware that there are positive choices that are within reach. 'Living the Dream' as one might call it. 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."
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. 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: Kevin Flannery
In 1976, Kevin M. Flannery moved to Grand Rapids from Lafayette, Louisiana, to join the double bass section in the Grand Rapids Symphony. In Grand Rapids, Kevin also worked for Steven D. Reiley at the Guarneri Violin Shop in violin family repair and set-up.
In 1981, Kevin started Flannery Music Company, specializing in lower string work. Since 1996, he has been engaging in repair, restoration, and making commissioned copies of existing instruments. Unique instrument commissions are of interest to him, including early stringed instruments, 6 and 7 string gambas, and 5 and 6 string violones. Kevin's focus is on attention to detail and striving for constant quality improvement.
In 2014, Kevin and Matthew Noykos started Grand Rapids Violins, LLC, a full-service violin shop.
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. In 2010 Fong was recipient of a Fulbright Hayes grant and served as a US cultural representative in Minsk, Belarus where she performed a new music concert with the Belarus Philharmonic and gave master classes at the Belarus State Academy of Music.
Board Member: Sterling Jenkins
A violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1997, Sterling Jenkins grew up in the rich cultural environment of our nation's capital with its domestic and international diversity. He displayed his talent at the early age of 6 with a performance of Bach's Double Violin concerto at the National Cathedral.
“Music is for everyone” is his fundamental musical principle. Through his violin playing, he has captivated diverse audiences by revealing the common threads linking classical, gospel, jazz, ethnic and contemporary music together. This has allowed classical repertoire to reach new ears that may have found traditional performances inaccessible or alienating. He believes that everyone can have a transformational appreciation of music.
Board Member: Charles C. Johnson
Minister Charles Christopher Johnson, born February 7 1970. He graduated from Muskegon High School in 1988 and received a scholarship to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Later, Minister Johnson transferred to the "School of Music" at the University of Memphis. While in Memphis, he partnered in ministry under the leadership of Bishop Lee Ward of Greater Harvest COGIC.
Minister Johnson is a registered member of the Grand Rapids Musicians Union Local-56 and AFL-CIO. He is registered as a free-lance affiliate member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science (NARAS) of the Grammy Association where he appears on 9 recording projects ranging from Gospel, Contemplative Worship and Jazz. Charles is a classical jazz bassist and has performed with many music masters including ten time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin, nine-time Grammy winner Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer, and Internationally known jazz vocalist Mark Murphy -noted folk singer / songwriter. As a Production Manager for thr Best of Jazz & Savoir Faire Productions Charles has produced shows for jazz saxophonist Art Porter Jr. and Joe Sample among others.
When transferring to Memphis, Charles furthered his studies in Music Performance, Artist Development, and Pre-Law Music Business. Charles hopes to foster music innovation and create jazz inspired music that transcends a particular genre. Something that's refreshing and universal.
Board Member: Fred Mitchell
Fred Mitchell is a bassist, born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI and is retired from work in mortuary services. He is a bass guitarist and vocalist, having played with bands of all musical styles. He was a member local bands Azz Izz, and Kaptain Krunch & the Funky Bunch, playing through the US and playing as opening act for many popular recording groups. He continues to play with local bands and with his church band, called Reflections of a Journey. His love of music and desire to be of service to area musicians led him to join the AFM/Local 56 in 2017, and become a Board Member in 2020.
Board Member: Michael Doyle
Michael S. Doyle was born and raised in New York City. He began his musical studies in elementary and junior high school studying under Arnold Warmbrand and Hiram Colon. He started playing professionally as a student of the Talent Unlimited High School for the Performing Arts and participated in Jazz workshops in New York City. Michael's high school junior and senior year presented him great opportunities to become a member of the New York City All City High School and the McDonald's Tri-State Jazz Ensembles both under the direction of Justin DiCioccio. Michael studied at the New School University Jazz Studies program with Branford Marsalis, Dr. Donald Byrd, and David Liebman (to name a few). During his early tenure in the U.S. Army Band program Michael had the opportunity to study at the Armed Forces School of Music studying saxophone under First Sergeant Stephen Mohacey who was a mentor to him in both classical and jazz genres.
Michael has performed with actress Nell Carter, Frank Foster (saxophonist formerly with the Count Basie Orchestra), Jerry McKenzie (Drummer formerly with the Stan Kenton Orchestra), and actor Jim Nabors. He has also performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jaki Byard, Cecil Bridgewater, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Blue Note Records recording artist Bill Dowdy and Milt Hilton. He has performed with the Grammy nominated Grand Rapids Symphony. In addition to performing with Big Band Nouveau, Michael also performs with the award winning Evidence Jazz Group, Who Dat Blues Band, Orquesta Tradicion, Bob DeSena Latin Jazz group, and Stone Soul Rhythm Band, as well as other freelance work. As an educator, Michael has taught and lectured on both high school and college levels representing Selmer saxophones, Nadir Saxwinds (Dave Guardala mouthpieces), and Roberto's Winds reeds.
Michael received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University majoring in music with an art history minor. He studied with Tom Knific, Dr. Robert Ricci, and Trent Kynaston. Michael received a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University studying under Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson and Derrick Gardner, Etienne Charles, Randy Gelispie, Sunny Wilkinson, Dr. Ken Prouty, and Ric Roe.