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Festival Staff/Partners

James Menaker

James Menaker

Executive Director, director@fsaf.org

On August 1, 2017, James Menaker will become the Festival’s third Executive Director. James was born and raised in Fairbanks, returning from school in 2000 to invest in his family and community. He has nearly 20 years of nonprofit experience, including the past five years in management. He also holds a Foraker certificate in nonprofit management. He is married with three children and, when not working, stays busy with freelance writing. A published author, James is thrilled to be continuing the Festival’s work empowering people of all skills and abilities to awaken their inner artist. “I am looking forward to using my skills and passion for the arts to further the Festival’s already rich legacy.” (Since 2017)


Terese Kaptur

Terese Kaptur

Past Director

Terese Kaptur returned to Alaska after being Executive Director at Fort Collins Symphony and National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado. Always passionate about outreach, early childhood and the healing powers of the arts, Terese helped pioneer new programs for Ages 0 to 3 and Music Therapy while working in Education/Community Engagement and Artistic Planning at the Pittsburgh Symphony. She has worked with festivals, orchestras, ballet and opera. Since starting her career at the Fairbanks Symphony and earning her degrees at UAF, Terese composed numerous works which have been performed internationally.The symphonies of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Anchorage, Carolina Chamber Symphony, and Pittsburgh New Music Festival have performed her orchestral pieces. (Since 2009)


Dori Nix

Dori Nix

Artistic Administrator, dori@fsaf.org

Dori Nix is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, and is still fairly new to Fairbanks after spending most of her life on the east coast. Dori graduated with double majors in Art History and Studio Art with a focus in photography. She has developed a love for community, craft, and handmade arts over the years and now specializes in photography with a passion for non-profit organizations. Dori is excited to be a part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and is looking forward to the development of community through the arts here in Fairbanks.


James Wardlaw-Bailey

James Wardlaw-Bailey

Artistic and IT Manager, james@fsaf.org

Originally from Michigan, James has been an Alaskan resident since 2004. He attended Albion College where he majored in mathematics and chemistry, the University of Maine, where he studied physical chemistry, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he studied music theory. James enjoys playing cello in chamber groups, and singing in choirs. His favorite parts of Festival are meeting new people, forging new relationships, and creating music together with others. (Since 2005)


Rhonda Gilbertson

Rhonda Gilbertson

Bookkeeper

A life-long Alaskan, Rhonda fell in love with music as soon as she could sing along, and has never stopped since. She also has a weakness for any percussion instrument, and can usually be found joyfully banging away. She earned a BA in Music from UAF, and started working for local arts non-profits. Currently, she is the Operations Manager for the Fairbanks Concert Association, as well as Festival's bookkeeper. In her free time, she loves gardening, reading, photography, walking, and any animal with fins, fur, or feathers.


Abby Hatfield

Abby Hatfield

Administrative Assistant

Abby recently relocated to Fairbanks from her lifelong home in Maryland. There, she worked as a Veterinary Technician and has volunteered with multiple Maryland festivals, including Artsfest, Park Your Arts and Barktoberfest, a festival for dogs! She is currently pursuing a degree at UAF and is very excited to both become more involved with the artistic community in Fairbanks and experience her first summer in Alaska. In her spare time she enjoys photography and exploring the outdoors.


Diana Solie

Diana Solie

Development Associate

Having lived in Fairbanks since 1976, Diana has deep roots in the community. She is a professional geologist, and also played cello for over 20 years with the Fairbanks Symphony and Arctic Chamber Orchestras. She has a BA in music from Allegheny College, a BS in geology from UAF, and a PhD in geology from Virginia Tech. Now partially retired, she is enjoying working with the Festival staff on Outreach projects.


Ana Fochesatto

Ana Fochesatto

Outreach Coordinator

Ana grew up in Fairbanks and graduated from UAF with a double major in Anthropology and Political Science. She recently completed a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA at the Boys & Girls Club of Fairbanks. Her passion for community development and love for Fairbanks brought her to FSAF to help foster community relations through the arts.



2017 Summer Staff/Partners

Emily Stacy

Emily Stacy

Festival Office Manager

Born and raised in small town Southern Ohio, Emily graduated in 2012 with her Bachelor's of Music Education from Ohio Christian University. Along with her collegiate accomplishments she participated in the University Chorale, the University audition Chamber Singers, was a founding member of the Uplifted Gospel Choir and toured with these groups all over the East Coast. She served as the University's Music Librarian, Academic Coach, Writing Tutor and helped to develop the University's first Music tutoring program - including Music Theory, Sight Singing/Ear Training and Music History . Since graduating she has worked as Site Director with the YMCA of Central Ohio and as Administrator of a private childcare center in pursuit of Early Childhood Education. Emily enjoys a good movie night as long as it includes Patrick Swazye and a rockin 80s soundtrack. She enjoys driving with the windows down and blasting Josh Groban, knitting, doodling, or pretty much anything that allows her to watch murder mysteries and medical dramas on Netflix for long periods of time. Her passions include music, singing, writing, calligraphy, church, humming, great views and thunder storms. She is currently enjoying her time with FSAF and spending time with her bestie exploring Alaska.


Adam Gillette

Adam Gillette

Production Manager


Yuko Ariga

Yuko Ariga

Assistant Production Manager

Yuko Ariga currently resides in Seattle, WA. Her passion for the multidisciplinary arts has transpired from her extensive worldwide travel. Her arts administration career started when she worked as a bookkeeper for an art gallery in Chelsea, New York. She graduated from Seattle University with an Arts Leadership MFA program. While studying her MFA in Seattle, she focused her internships in production department. She aggressively advanced through her apprenticeships having attained skills at acclaimed organizations namely Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle Symphony, STG in work with the Broadway Disney, and the Seattle Opera, respectively. She continues to look forward to her future in performing behind the scenes in a production department to spread the arts to the world. She is thrilled to be part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.


Daniel Wiley

Daniel Wiley

Personnel Manager

Daniel Wiley is about to enter the final year of his MM in Orchestral Conducting at the University of North Texas. He is also serving as the interim Director of Artistic Operations for the Abilene Philharmonic. Prior attending UNT, Daniel worked for the Boise Independent School District as a K-12 Music Educator, and was the Assistant Conductor for the Meridian Symphony Orchestra (ID). Daniel is also the Lead Instructor for the En Garde Leadership Academy; a program designed to help foster leadership in the school band programs in Idaho and Washington. This will be Daniel’s fourth year with FSAF and second year as the Librarian and Personnel Manager.


Tori Lupinek

Tori Lupinek

Music Librarian

Victoria “Tori” Lupinek recently completed her master’s degree at the University of Illinois studying flute performance and literature under Dr. Jonathan Keeble. During her master’s, Tori’s graduate assistantship with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts allowed her to work backstage with such renowned artists as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lang Lang, among many others. Tori will be returning to Illinois in the fall of 2017 to begin her Artist Diploma studies, and act as a teaching assistant for the music composition and theory department. She completed her undergraduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago studying primarily with Mary Stolper, and also with Mark Sparks and Alyce Johnson. It was in her sophomore year— when she took up the post of music librarian for the DePaul Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Erica Neidlinger— that Tori was first exposed to music librarianship and ensemble management. While at DePaul, Tori had many opportunities to travel to Europe to study, made possible in part by the university and through a grant from the Friends of Flutes Foundation— spending time in Vienna, Tuscany, and the French Alps. She considers her travels to be a major influence on her approach to studying, performing, and presenting classical music in the United States. Over the years, Tori has performed in masterclasses for such artists as Jim Walker, Leone Buyse, Demarre McGill, Michel Debost and John Thorne to name a few. When she isn’t performing, Tori enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and practicing yoga. She is also a coffee and tea enthusiast.


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