Meet Our Board of Directors

Executive Director, Steve Blatt, administers the program and manages fund-raising and marketing. He brings 45 years of experience in marketing and communications to the organization. Prior to founding Bringing Music to Life, Steve created, developed and managed the first four instrument drives at Colorado Public Radio. He is a resident of Denver, a paid member of the staff, and is serving his second 3-year term on the Board.

“As the son of a pianist/composer/conductor, I was fortunate to always have music in my life, and I wanted other children to have that opportunity.” Steve played violin as part of the family trio, and now picks up his guitar when he can. “Frets on a fingerboard are very forgiving,” for which he is very grateful.

Michael Frank, Board Chair, is a retired pediatrician with a lifelong passion for music. During the final years of his medical career, he even earned a BA in music composition. Michael also serves on board of Developmental FX, a Denver based nonprofit that focuses on children with developmental disabilities. A resident of Littleton, CO, he is serving his first 3-year term on the Board.

Michael was motivated to join the board of Bringing Music to Life because of a life-long love of music and a passion to help promote it among school-aged kids. “I love the mission of BMTL and all the opportunities it provides for our youth today. Music is a gateway to so many opportunities and experiences both individually and in a group setting.” At various times in his past, Michael played the piano, violin and clarinet. He currently contributes guitar, bass, harmonica and vocals to a local band called FreeStyle

David & Anne Necker, Co-Chairs Emeritus, are both retired. David and Anne are active in supporting their community, and music and arts organizations including the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Public Radio. They are residents of Castle Pines, CO, have been supporters of BMTL since its founding at Colorado Public Radio, and have served as BMTL co-chairs since 2015.

Anne notes that, “At a time when public school arts education is underfunded, it is more important than ever that a child has the opportunity to play with peers in a school band or orchestra.” David values the mission of BMTL because, “Engaging youth in music-making provides many life-long skills and lasting music appreciation.” Both of them have sung in choirs during their youth and adult lives. Anne played the piano growing up and now plays in a local ukulele group dedicated to fun. David played a couple of instruments beginning in grade school followed by the clarinet and oboe in high school. David is now a member of the audience.

Linda Benson-Williams, Secretary, brings a long history of volunteering to Bringing Music to Life. She is retired, is a resident of Denver, CO, and is serving her second 3-year term on the Board.

She comes to BMTL with a belief that “Music education is essential, not only as beneficial for individual learning outcomes but also as the foundation of a creative and cooperative society.” Lin played piano and flute as a child and, although she doesn’t remember how to play either instrument, still carries the lessons of patience and persistence learned by practicing both.

Peter Dawes, Treasurer, is a successful C-level executive with a lifelong interest in music. He offers creative and analytical solutions to the challenges facing BMTL. A resident of Golden, CO, he is serving his first 3-year term on the Board.

With music as a foundational influence on his own life, Peter joined the Board, “to help more children experience the manifold enrichments of making music.” He is a singer and avid whistler, plays the piano and alto saxophone, and is learning guitar.

Christine Andresen has worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations including Colorado Public Radio.  Christine manages BMTL’s volunteers and is passionate about creating cultural enrichment opportunities for children. A resident of Denver, CO, she is serving her second 3-year term on the Board and is a paid staff member serving as administrative assistant.

For Christine, it is “The notes – short stories, really – that donors leave tucked in the cases of their cherished instruments have drawn me to BMTL since the very beginning at Colorado Public Radio. I am not a musician, but I have experienced the fun, pride in accomplishment and sense of belonging to a creative community which their notes describe. I find meaning in conveying their gifts to another generation.”

Rebekah Bonn, a recent addition to our board, is a Senior Executive Assistant for Business Administration at Crestone Capital. She applies her promotional experience to our organization as our social media and special events coordinator. A resident of Broomfield, CO, she is serving her first 3-year term on the Board.

Rebekah was first drawn to BMTL through volunteering to move instruments. After spending time with the Board members, and seeing the joy on the teacher’s faces, she fell in love with the mission of BMTL. Music was a main motivator for Rebekah as a youth and she has seen firsthand how it can change the trajectory of a child’s life, because she lived it. Rebekah’s first instrument was violin, then she picked up the French horn and alto saxophone. A singer and voice teacher, her lifetime ‘instrument’ is vocals. 

Kathy Newman, a native Denverite, has served as president of the Junior Symphony Guild and as president of Friends of Chamber Music where she continues to be an active member of the Board of Directors. She is also involved with El Sistema Colorado. Kathy has been a successful ReMAX Alliance Realtor for more than 35 years. Residing in Denver, CO, she is serving her second 3-year term on the Board.

Kathy comes to the Board believing that “Music is such a vital part of child’s life – for enjoyment, group interaction, learning to read, count and much more.  It is the Universal language.” Her instrument was the violin, but she considers herself a much better listener than player.

Jerry Rueschhoff is a Senior Consultant at Gallagher with broad knowledge in global human resources including over 25 years of experience in the healthcare and employee benefits arenas. A resident of Morrison, CO, he is serving his first 3-year term on the Board.

He and his wife Jodi have seen “the creativity, confidence and joy music has brought to their two boys” and wish to assure all children are afforded this opportunity. Jerry played the Baritone in his youth. He now dabbles on guitar and specializes in playing songs written and recorded by Johnny Cash.

Lynne D. Valencia is a retired media professional, having worked in community relations for more than 28 years for the ABC, NBC and CBS television affiliates in Denver, Colorado. Lynne is a native of Denver and continues to sit on a few boards. She is starting her first 3-year term on the Board.

“Without the work of Bringing Music to Life, I hate to imagine who we might miss…. another Prince, Bach or Armstrong just because this little person didn’t have the tools he/she needed to learn and discover their full potential.”