Celtic Junction Arts Center (CJAC) Board of Directors
Cormac is a Dublin native with a 50 year legacy behind him in Irish dance, music and language. An original cast member of Riverdance, The Show, he is the founder of both the Celtic Junction (2009) and O’Shea Irish Dance (2005) and performs around the world on accordion for major Irish Dance championships. He has been the Celtic Junction venue’s concerts and booking manager for ten years, bringing master artists and world-class touring bands to St. Paul. Cormac has twenty years of touring production experience and a decade of managing commercial construction projects. Cormac brings all of his experience to bear when he and his wife purchased and remodeled the building known as The Celtic Junction and continues to do so as CJAC’s Building management and operations. Cormac is also a member of Dublin’s An Coimisiún, serving as the representative to the MidAmerica region.
Jo Ann Vano is a media consultant committed to supporting community organizations. She previously served as president of the board at KFAI radio and is a founding board member and president of the board of the African Development Center of Minnesota. She also serves on the board of the Center for Irish Music and is chair of CIM’s Harvest Home and Minnesota Irish Music Weekend. Jo Ann serves on the Celtic Junction Arts Center Board of Directors as its Vice-President and also provides additional assistance with marketing and print media. Jo Ann is a dedicated student of the Irish button accordion and plays regularly in sessions around the Twin Cities.
Laura MacKenzie is a professional musician with a career grounded in traditional music. Laura’s academic training was in music, anthropology, ethnomusicology and folklore. Since becoming a professional performer and teacher of Irish and Scottish music, she has received many awards and honors, including being recognized as a master folk artist by the Minnesota State Arts Board and receiving artist fellowships from both the McKnight and Bush Foundations. She has produced numerous independent events and workshops at the Celtic Junction Arts Center, ranging from traditional unaccompanied singing to Celtic big band to world music/jazz/Celtic performances.
Zephyr Crews-Erjavec is a recent graduate of Augsburg University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. They have been a member of the CJAC community since the building opened in 2009, and are a former student of Irish music and dance with CIM and OID. They have worked at the Science Museum as a coordinator for the Play Tinker Make Engineer program, which increases engagement and hands-on learning with youth and families. They currently work at Leonardo's Basement as an instructor working with youth from 5 to 17. Zephyr served as a grant writer and a board member-at-large for the Minnesota Dragonfly Society, and performs with the South Asian Arts and Theater House (formerly known as Bollywood Dance Scene). Zephyr has played cello with various ensembles at the Center for Irish Music, and more recently with the band Irish Diplomacy which recently produced their first album or original and traditional material.
Greg sits on the Celtic Junction Arts Center Board of Directors where he serves as community outreach liaison. Greg has many neighborhood connections due, in part, to his three years serving on the Hamline-Midway Coalition Board of Directors. He is a founder and chair of the annual Midway Holiday Pop Up Shop - a successful Small Business Saturday event. He discovered our community via his children’s involvement in Irish music and dance - he’s been a “Dance & Music Dad” for eight years. Greg has worked on a wide variety of CJAC projects, from grants for recycling to sourcing and setting up the PCs used in CJAC’s McKiernan Library. Greg, along with his wife Christine, manages sales and inventory at the CJ Cafe. Greg holds a degree in Retail, Merchandising, and Management from MCTC.
Jim brings years of interaction with the Minnesota Irish community. An award-winning journalist, he worked for nearly 30 years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press as both an editor and reporter, among which duties he was an entertainment reporter covering pop, rock and country music, which lead to an appreciation for traditional ethnic music of all types, including Celtic music. He holds both Bachelor and Master of Science Journalism degrees (with an emphasis in popular-arts criticism) from Iowa State University. As a freelancer, he also edited and wrote music and record reviews for the St. Paul-based Irish Gazette newspaper. His other journalistic experience includes being editor of The History Channel Magazine (a licensed publication produced in the Twin Cities area with and for A&E Television; was also executive director of The History Channel Club), and editing a B2B magazine for the Industrial Fabrics Association International. His other volunteer work includes reading for clients of the Minnesota State Services for the Blind. Tarbox also announces shows for various local and regional “pageantry arts” competitions, including the annual Youth in Music marching-band competition, which includes the Minnesota state high-school championships. He also serves as drum major for St. Paul’s Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, with which he has performed since 1975. His past board experience includes serving with the Minnesota Media and Publishing Association and Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps.
Natalie is co-owner and founder of The Celtic Junction, a cultural center for traditional arts in Saint Paul and the Executive Director of the Celtic Junction Arts Center (CJAC), a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to the operation of CJAC and its programs as the Irish Cultural Center of Minnesota, including the Eoin McKiernan Library, the Irish College of Minnesota, the Celtic Junction Concert Series, and the Irish Outreach Coalition. She is also the founding Vice President of both Theater M, New York, NY, and of The Center for Irish Music, St. Paul, MN. Natalie owns and instructs for O’Shea Irish Dance, and is the creator and director of three ongoing stage productions: Get Up Your Irish, Kickin’; It Irish, and the Celtic Holiday Hooley. Natalie is a member of Irish Network Chicago, the Midwest Irish Cultural Centers Association (MICCA), and Network of Irish Cultural Centres of North America (NICCoNA), representing Minnesota nationally and internationally.
Brian has been active in the Irish music world for over 20 years and he continues to perform with the Lost Forty, Two Tap Trio and the acclaimed Chicago-based band Bua. He is an authority on the history of Irish music in the Upper Midwest—work that has earned him the Parsons Fund Award from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and five grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. He received his Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Patrick is an Irish-born educator, literary historian, writer, editor, theatre director, and Arts Week producer dedicated to fostering Irish cultural heritage in Minnesota. For twenty years he has been an English faculty member at Normandale Community College. He earned his Ph.D. from University College Dublin in 2010 on “The Irish Roots of the Guthrie Theater,” and subsequently co-edited the eighteen-author anthology The Harp and the Loon: Literary Bridges between Ireland and Minnesota. Since joining CJAC as its Director of Education in 2017, he has founded and edited its quarterly online arts magazine, The Celtic Junction Arts Review; founded its annual free Colloquium lecture series; founded the Celtic Phoenix community theatre group; and founded the Irish College of Minnesota (which came on stream in January, 2019 giving deeper definition to the classes he had coordinated since 2017). He regularly teaches classes on Irish mythology, history, and literature for CJAC’s Irish College.
Carillon is an arts administrator with a variety of web platform and CMS proficiencies which she has used to support local arts nonprofits and their diverse patrons since 2008. She manages the Celtic Junction website and all associated assets since its inception, and also holds primary responsibility for event promotion via media outreach and through CJAC’s own social media and newsletter campaigns. Carillon has served on the board of the Center for Irish Music and is a founding board member of Bollywood Dance Scene where she served as their grant writer. She is a parent to one current OID and CIM student, and two former ones. Carillon holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Art from Kent State University and studied Ceramics and Museum Studies at the University of Minnesota.