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Our Board

At our Annual Members Meeting on November 2, 2019, the following were elected to vacant seats:  

Julie Foster-Lindquist – First Term through 2022

Melinda Britton – First Term through 2022

Candice Blackstone-Larson – First Term through 2022 


Current Board members are:                      

President – Julie Foster-Lindquist

                                                                                      1st Term through 2022


Julie says,

A few years back (1978), I moved to the Marquette area to attend NMU. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this beautiful area and I’ve lived here ever since!
In 1979, I just happened to find the Hiawatha Music Festival taking place in Champion.  

The whole experience was so enjoyable, that I was immediately hooked and have been volunteering with HMC ever since. Over the years I’ve had the privilege to serve on the Board many times, as Board President and Vice President several times. I’ve been Festival Co-Ordinator, back when it was a lot simpler, worked with Artists in The Round, and been in charge of getting the annual logo art on the posters, mugs, and Festival t-shirts.  

I have met so many wonderful people, and made so many friends over the years and I feel truly blessed to be a part of this great organization!


                                                                         Vice President – Josh Thompson

                                                                               Second Term through 2021

Josh says,

I grew up in Alabama, lived out West for many years and moved to Marquette with my family in 2012.  We went to our first Hiawatha Music Festival that year and have not missed one since.  In 2015, I joined the Board of Directors and am now the Area Coordinator for the Festival workshops.  

As a kid, I never learned to play a musical instrument, convinced my fingers were too fat to play.  After college, I briefly thought of finally learning to play, but decided I was too old to start.  I was 21 years old at the time. 

Ten years later, determined to play music, I asked  my wife to buy me a banjo.  She did and we both suffered as I taught myself to play.  I love old time mountain music in all its forms and I have fond memories of hearing that lonesome call many times at Hiawatha.  

I am a mathematics professor at Northern Michigan University.  My wife is also a professor there and we have two sweet little girls.  We love getting outside in the UP to camp, bike, ski and surf.


                                                                                  Treasurer – Jose Garcia

                                                                                  Second Term through 2021

Jose says

Hi everyone! My name’s Jose and I’ve been on the Hiawatha board since the beginning of 2016.  I’ve known about the Co-op for many years, but didn’t really involved and begin attending events until 2013. I am currently the Bo-op Board Treasurer and have served as a Festival volunteer and most recently, I’ve been a Green Team Monitor.  

I love what the Co-op stands for and having a musical background, I appreciate how focused we as an organization are in bringing traditional music to Marquette and educating the community, especially our youth. My 8 year old will be attending his 7th festival this summer – he talks about Hiawatha Music Festival as if it’s a holiday…usually right between the 4th of July and Mom’s birthday on the calendar!  In 2017, we added a beautiful daughter, Elisa, to our family. She’ll be going to her 3rd Festival this summer!  Happy Hiawatha! 


                                                                                    Jeff Krebs Secretary

                                                                                  First term through 2021

Jeff says,

I grew up around Escanaba, MI and my family has a strong connection and my family has a strong connection to roots music:  There are French-Canadian fiddlers and Swiss community band leaders in my ancestry.  I was taught ukulele and guitar (and Hank Williams songs) by my grandfather who was an accomplished singer and songwriter.  Many of my family members play music and I get together with them each November at camp to play old fiddle tunes and standards from the past.I started concentrating on writing and performing music for children in 2010 (when the oldest of my two boys was born) and was hired to perform in the Children’s Area at the Festival that year.  I have loved bringing kid-friendly acoustic music (and teaching ukulele) to the younger generation each year since. I am the co-owner of a local music store, Yooptone Music.  I became a Member of Hiawatha a few years ago and had the inkling in 2017 to become more involved and run for the Board.  One of my favorite aspects of Hiawatha is the fact that it is very proactive at reaching younger folks and keeping the fire burning.  I’m the new Secretary.  You want minutes?  I can do that.


                                                                                         Susan Bertram

                                                                                  Second term through 2022

Susan says, 

As part of the founding group out of Deerton, MI, the Hiawatha Music Co-op has been a legacy passed on to my children and grandchildren. The greatest joy I have is seeing the future of true traditional music live on in the families who attend and volunteer each year.

I have served on the board for multiple terms and in many capacities. I am active on the concert and events committee as well as the strategic planning committee. During the Festival, I coordinate the Tokens and enjoy the year round music the Hiawatha Music Co-op works diligently to provide.


                                                                         Michael Reed

                                                                               second term through 2020

Michael says,

My family and I moved to Marquette in 1995 and discovered the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in 1996.  That was the first year we attended.  We have camped at the Festival every year since with our friends.  The families at our campsite each have three generations of Hiawatha participants.  With continued involvement and encouragement from friends and family, I was nominated for and was elected to the Board of Directors.  We continue to allow HMC to use our house and I also serve on the Fundraising and Music Selection Committees.  I have also assumed the position of Area Coordinator for the Food Concessions at the Festival.  I believe in volunteerism.  I am a Mediator with Marquette-Alger Resolution Services, member of the City of Marquette Arts Advisor Council, member of the Marquette Male Chorus and Marquette Choral Society. I believe in preserving heritage while at the same time acknowledging the growth and evolution that comes from acceptance of our background and experiences.  Music is an important part of my life and I greatly enjoy being in a position to help promote quality music programs in our area.  “This is my Hiawatha”. What’s yours? 


                                                                             John Gillette

                                                                                     first term through 2020

 John says,

I’ve been drawn to the vibration of strings for as far back as I can remember. I used to open up the top of our family’s heirloom piano and strum the strings inside. My dad gave me a ’58 Gibson guitar that I started picking in earnest when I was fourteen waiting for the school bus and figuring out Heard It Through the Grapevine.

Over twenty five years later I’m still drawn to roots acoustic sounds and have performed and helped put together musical groups, concerts and festivals across several states. My wife and musical partner, Sarah, and I have always invited people into our home for “Whiskey Fridays” and founded the Poultney and Yooper Bluegrass Societies to keep the traditional music alive in our community. 

I am now pleased to keep ears hearing new takes on traditional tune and traditionally-inspired songs. The Hiawatha Music Co-op is the perfect organization for channeling my love of traditional music here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


                                                                                          Lee Ossenheimer

                                                                                      first term through 2021

Lee says,

My family and I first attended the Hiawatha Music Festival in 2010.  Regrettably, we had heard rummers of an amazing, family friendly music festival occupying Tourist Park in Marquette for over a decade before we committed to the experience.  At the conclusion of the 2010 Festival, our young family unanimously declared their intent to participate on an annual basis.  Over the next few years we observed the inner workings of the organization from a distance, concluding that we would serve in some capacity in the future.  Ironically, I would soon be elected to the Board for my first three year term.  I have had the great fortune to serve as a Festival Set-Up Monitor ever since the evening of that nomination.  Currently, each family member volunteers a portion of their time to help at the Festival where needed.  Our sixteen year old son has developed many special relationships with other volunteers.  He has gained skills and technical knowledge through their generous mentorship.   Jesse currently volunteers on the electrical crew for the duration of the Festival.  It is my pleasure to be re-elected to the Hiawatha Music Festival Board for another term.  It is through this intimate relationship with other volunteers that the “Spirit” of the Hiawatha Music Festival continues to grow and unite Humans with song and dance.


                                                                                     Candice Blackstone-Larson 

                                                                                       first term through 2022

Candice says,

“I have always had a few passions in my life that have continuously intertwined throughout my lifetime. My love for music. My love for event production. My love for travel, the outdoors and community. Hiawatha is all of that rolled into one.

My husband Jeff (a Marquette native) and myself (a Pacific Northwestern) moved to the UP in late 2012 and I found my love for the Hiawatha Music Festival that first summer here. My husband had gone to the festival when he was younger and from the first moment of taking our young daughter that first year and volunteering a few shifts, I was hooked. We finally started camping at the Festival, and I started inviting more and more friends (new and old) that hadn’t been before to come and experience this amazing weekend. Over the next couple years I continued to volunteer more in different areas at the festival and then started helping out pre-festival by connecting with local businesses to participate in the Festival’s Program Ads.  

As an event planner to my core with a severe case of Wanderlust at all times, I wanted to contribute my skills to something I believed in. After growing up in a small town in Cottage Grove, Oregon I migrated to Sunny Southern California for college and continued to stay there spending many years in the Entertainment & Action Sports Industry helping to organize award shows like the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, the Super Bowl Halftime Show to X Games, the US Open and an international skateboarding competition in South Africa. Those experiences gratefully took me all over the world, but in 2012 I found a place to call home in Marquette, Michigan. Stumbling across Hiawatha only a few weeks after moving here seemed to be in my stars.

There is such community in Hiawatha and it is such an incredible experience. It is history. It is family. It is friendships made over the years. It is something that I have been craving in my life and something that I want my children to be a part of for years to come. I’m so thankful to be a part of this organization and I want it to be sustainable for generations down the road. Music, through experiences, holds such power for people. I want everyone to be able to experience this very incredible family. “


Melinda Britton 

first term through 2022

Melinda Britton says, 

“From the time I was a little girl, growing up just outside of Ann Arbor, music has been a source of joy and deep comfort in my life. As a toddler, I would stand on the pews belting from the top of my lungs in the small country church my grandparents attended. I was taught classical piano, but whenever I got a chance I would get lost in the music I loved: singer songwriter, gospel, blues, folk, funk, soul, classic country, and late 60’s rock. From Janis Joplin to Cat Stevens, Jim Croce to Otis Redding, Fleetwood Mac to Nina Simone, and from The Doors to Johnny Cash, if the music and lyrics moved my heart and soul, I was in. I still am.

Music is what ultimately brought me to meeting my husband, Phil, when I moved to the UP in 2004 to attend NMU. We have dabbled in music together over the years (singing, piano, guitar), and we are so thankful to be involved with Hiawatha Music Co-op to continue to foster our love of music and help encourage that in our three children (and generations to come). Whether there are tunes coming from a family jam session, our record player, or more modern devices, music is what centers our family.

As a wife, mother, and owner of a local family-centered business (Doulas of Marquette), my focus and devotion are to human stories and community. Each of us have different stories of how we came earth side, how we grew up, who we are, and what ultimately led us to being part of Hiawatha. Hiawatha is a collection of our stories, of families and friends, neighbors and new friends yet to make. It’s a place of belonging, creation, and community. As a board member, I long to make sure that your stories are told, and to help create sustainability, so that families are welcomed in for many generations to come.

Hiawatha to me is a love of music, family, and community. I am so thankful for the opportunity to give back to this organization who has, and continues, to give to us all.”



STAY IN TOUCH! call us at 906-226-8575 or  email us at


The Executive positions were seated at the first 2020 Board Meeting on January 8, 2020

Your 2020 Board Members are:

  • President – Julie Foster-Lindquist
  • Vice President – Josh Thompson
  • Treasurer – Jose Garcia
  • Secretary – Jeff Krebs
  • Susan Bertram
  • Michael Reed
  • Lee Ossenheimer
  • John Gillette
  • Melinda Britton 
  • Candice Blackstone-Larson



Here is our Board Job Description

Board Job Desc. pdf


The Hiawatha Board is an active group!  Some of the recent endeavors have been to develop and implement a long term strategic plan for the Co-op, re-ignite efforts to engage with other community groups to bring traditional  music to the area, offer traditional music events year round, and engage volunteers in Committee work.  

 Please remember that you must have been a Music Co-op member for at least six months to serve on the board. An original $5 life membership can meet this requirement.

If you would like to put your name in nomination for one of the 4 board positions open for election at the Annual Members Meeting, please come prepared to speak for about a minute to introduce yourself and share some of the information below during the meeting.

  • Approx. length of membership and/or involvement with Hiawatha
  • Areas of interest
  • Areas of expertise


Our Board has 10 members. Board terms are three years.

A board member can serve two consecutive terms.  At the conclusion of a second term, a Board member must pause for a period of one year before running for the Board again.  

The board meets once a month. For the past several years, those meetings have been the first Wednesday evening of each month, although that could change based on members’ schedules.  

Board members should not miss more than three consecutive meetings without providing a reason such as work, illness, etc. Board Members are encouraged to find an area of interest to work on for the Festival and for Committee Work.


STAY IN TOUCH! call us at 906-226-8575 or stop by our new office at 1015 N. Third Street in the Village Shopping Center or  email us at

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