Staff & Board

Libby Meyer

Co-Executive Director

Libby is a composer whose work reflects the natural rhythms and patterns of the world around her. Her music including chamber, orchestral, choral, wind symphony, film, dance and theater has been commissioned and performed throughout the United States. Libby has served as Composer-in-Residence at Isle Royale National Park and the Visby International Center for Composers (Sweden). She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, The Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund, The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, The Sorel Foundation and The American Composers Forum. Libby holds a DMA in Composition from Northwestern University and is a Teaching Professor in Music Theory/Composition at Michigan Tech where she is the Artistic Director of the New Music at Michigan Tech Contemporary Music Series.

Danielle Simandl

Co-Executive Director

Dani is a violinist who grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She performs in many orchestras throughout the Midwest, including the Quad City Symhony Orchestra in Iowa, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin, where she is the principal second violin. An equally dedicated chamber musician, Dani performs with the Superior String Alliance Chamber Players and the Tuuli Quartet. Dani is the Executive Director of Superior String Alliance (SSA), the Music Director of SSA’s Summer Music Camp, and the proud owner of countless tie-dye T-shirts. Dani holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from Lawrence University, and a Master of Music in Violin Performance and a Performance Certificate from DePaul University.

Susan Byykkonen

UPstarts! Director

Susan is an independent music teacher in Houghton County, teaching a full studio of flute and piano students. She grew up in the Keweenaw, taking both flute and piano lessons with Joan Luehrs. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Cedarville University in Ohio where she studied Flute Performance with Marianne Chenoweth and Piano Pedagogy with Connie Anderson. Susan is an active member of the Lake Superior Music Teachers Association and also serves as minister of music for Portage Lake United Church, Houghton. For many years Susan performed at Michigan Tech University as accompanist and associate director for the Concert Choir, and on flute or piano with various chamber groups and with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra. From 2000-2004 she served as choir director and piano instructor at Lakeland Christian School in Florida. Over the last ten years, she has had the privilege of performing with the Pine Mountain Music Festival and serving as pianist and coordinator for the UPstarts! program. Most recently, Susan has enjoyed working with Jennifer Wenger, building their piano duo repertoire and collaborating on flute & piano literature.

Lara Neves

Operations Director

Lara Neves has been involved with the Pine Mountain Music Festival as a performer since 2010, most recently singing the role of Mercedes in PMMF's 2018 production of Carmen. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University and loves teaching people to find their singing voice. She has maintained a private vocal studio for over 20 years and has served as adjunct vocal faculty at Southern Utah University and the Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts. She has been the instructor of voice at Michigan Tech for 12 years, where she often performs with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra. Lara enjoys working on the administrative side of culture and the arts, and has been the special projects manager for the Institute of Policy, Ethics, and Culture for the past couple years. She is currently interim Director of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Linda Ott09122014001cropped
Linda Ott

President, Trustee

Linda is a Professor of Computer Science at Michigan Technological University where she has taught since 1978. She served as Chair of the Computer Science Department from 1996 - 2010 and again from 2019 - 2022. Her research interests are in software engineering. More recently she has also focused on broadening participation in computing through a variety of local and regional activities. Linda discovered her love for classical music while a student at Purdue University. In the early days of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, she decided to attend a PMMF Beginners String Workshop for Adults to satisfy her curiosity as to how one played a violin. This is where she learned the joy that comes from making music in a group. Linda lives south of Houghton on Portage Lake.


Vice President, Trustee

Dr. Charles Wallace is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Computing at Michigan Technological University.  In addition to his research and teaching interests in software engineering, he is involved in two community projects related to digital technology: Breaking Digital Barriers, a digital literacy initiative for senior citizens, and Copper Country Programmers, an extracurricular course in programming and computer science for middle and high school students.  He has performed in several productions with the Michigan Tech Theatre Company, the Copper Country Chorale, and the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, and he enjoys playing piano and guitar at home.  He lives in Hancock with his wife, Susanna Peters, and has two grown children, Cecilia and Samuel.


Treasurer, Trustee

Gloria Melton, retired Dean of Students from Michigan Technological University, is a native of Memphis, Tennessee.  She arrived in Houghton in 1976 with her husband, Dr. Willie Melton, who then joined the Michigan Tech faculty as a sociologist. Gloria's earned degrees (BA/Rhodes College, MA/Northern Illinois University, and PhD/Washington State University) are all in American history. Prior to becoming a trustee of the PMMF, she served on several non-profit boards, including the Michigan Tech Pre-School, the Copper Country Suzuki Association, the Houghton Township Schools Foundation, and the Portage Lake District Library. Her interest in music stems from childhood piano study and influential family members who are music educators and performers. Both her children, now grown, studied piano, violin, and band instruments. She has enjoyed attending the Pine Mountain Music Festival over many years and looks forward to each season's artistic offerings in this unique community. In retirement, Gloria has more opportunities for quilting, music, community volunteering, reading, and some traveling.



Jack grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended Georgetown and the University of Michigan, where he received his M.D. in 1960. After completing his residency in Ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in 1966, Jack moved to Marquette, Michigan. Joining an established Ophthalmology practice, he has lived there since then. Jack has served as the President of the Peninsula Medical Center, Chief of Surgical Section at Marquette General Hospital, and many other committees and boards including the Bank of America, National City Bank, and Pine Mountain Music Festival.  His interests include cross-country and downhill skiing, golf, rollerblading, piano, and sailing. He and his late wife, the former Mary Anne Johnson, have four children: James, Theresa, George, and Gregory.



Frederick Maynard, MD is a retired physician living in Marquette since 1999. He is a native of the Downriver Detroit area and a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School in 1968. He is a specialist of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has been a Professor at Stanford, University of Michigan, and Case Western Reserve University Medical Schools before moving to Marquette and practicing in the U.P. until 2015. He and his wife Kathy have been devoted concert-goers throughout their 54 years of marriage and have enjoyed listening to operas, symphonies, soloists, and chamber groups in all the places they have lived and traveled. Fred has also enjoyed singing in church choirs and community groups since childhood and also enjoys playing clarinet in bands and chamber groups. Since coming to Marquette he has sung in the Marquette Choral Society and has played in the Marquette City Band regularly. He has enjoyed all of the PMMF concerts during the last 21 years and looks forward to serving on the Board to help with ensuring the continued success of PMMF.



Rob Hawthorne is a native of Marquette and a graduate of Michigan Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After living downstate for a while, Rob returned to Marquette with his wife, Dr. Alice Fecko, and they are regulars at several charity events, particularly those involving vision research and musical performance. “You know things are starting to go a little too far, when you own more than one tux jacket,” he admits.

A man of diverse musical taste, as a child he learned to play three musical instruments . . . all quite poorly. “It would probably be best to say I don’t play them at all,” he humbly muses. In his own words, “We all decided I had a great deal of taste, but no talent.” Nevertheless, Rob's zest and appreciation for live musical entertainment drew him to the board of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, where he can enjoy the talents of so many others.

Rob remains convinced that the Upper Peninsula can be as wonderful and prestigious a place as we’re willing to make it, so he’s here to help us all do that.


Executive Director Emeritus

Mr. Van Pelt retired as the PMMF Executive Director in March 2012 after successfully leading the organization since 2007. He considers PMMF an essential part of life in the U.P., bringing a dimension of life that was not here before.  He loves orchestral and chamber music, and loves to make it available to others. Peter really loves opera, which he calls the most comprehensive of all art forms, and he wants everybody to share that enthusiasm. He was in his mid-30s when he saw his first opera, and would like everybody else to start earlier!

Peter served on the Festival's Board of Trustees for seven years, two of those as president. He has also served on the board of the Calumet Theatre and the Keweenaw County Historical Society. Peter earned a certificate in nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Peter and his wife, Patricia, received the Laura Jean Deming Award from the Festival in 2007. He enjoys working with the Festival's volunteers and staff, and meeting the artists.

Peter spent his childhood summers in the Keweenaw, but was otherwise brought up in Illinois and Ohio. He met his late wife, Patricia, at Swarthmore College; they have three children, and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren. Peter now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, to be closer to family, but keeps in close touch with the Festival.