Daniel J.
Arnold, MD

Dan Arnold is a retired oncologist who has practiced in the Upper Peninsula for over 30 years.  He lives in Marquette with his wife Constance (Ann) and they have two grown children, David (Sue Balmer) and Elizabeth (Thomas Mayfield) and a wonderful grandson, Richard, already showing musical talent at 1 ½ years of age.

Dan has played classical piano for many years and is currently active in the Marquette Piano Workshop.  He has performed in the past with the Third Coast Piano Quartet.  Community involvement includes long-standing terms on the Boards of the Superior Health Foundation, the Marquette Symphony Orchestra and Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming.

Staff, Manager of Festival Services

Eric was born in San Francisco, and has moved back to the Upper Peninsula after living in the Minneapolis area for many years.  He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1988 with a degree in American History.  After enjoying the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, he is looking forward to the coming year at the Pine Mountain Music Festival.  He and his wife live in Laurium, Michigan.


Diane Eshbach  graduated  from L'Anse High School and attended Northern Michigan University majoring in Art.  She is married to Charles Eshbach and they have  lived in the Houghton area for 41 years.  They have one daughter and two sons, all married, and nine grandchildren.

Diane has been active in many different volunteer positions including  women's ministry director, Sunday school teacher, worship team, Christian Women's Board,  jr. hockey auxiliary president,  Pine Mountain Music Festival Gala chair and volunteer chair for the Keweenaw. Diane has been a Mary Kay Consultant, Tupperware Manager and for the past 19 years owner and manager of Celebrations Bridal and Formalwear in Hancock.

"Eight years ago Norma Nominelli asked if I would like to help with the PMMF Gala and  Auction by gathering a few items for the auction. That was my introduction to being an active part of the Festival beyond attending events.

"One of my favorite features of the Festival has been the opportunity to have such accomplished musicians be a part of our lives here in the Keweenaw.  I have appreciated participating in Christine Seitz's workshops as an observer as well as a singer.  The Festival expands our experiences in music without having to travel to metropolitan areas."

Financial Services Manager

Karen's love of classical music began as a girl growing up in Delaware. Blessed with parents who listened to classical music in their home, Karen was instilled with an appreciation that grew over the years. A recording of Madama Butterfly was her introduction to opera, which is probably why she still loves Puccini today.

Karen holds bachelors degrees in both Art History and Early Childhood Education.  Life brought her to the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In 1999, she attended PMMF's production of Carmen and later that summer she moved to the U.P.

Karen joined the Festival team in February, 2001 and has truly loved every minute of it.  She and her husband Ted (former PMMF Trustee) reside in Hancock. When Ted and Karen aren't working, they're traveling to lower Michigan, Illinois,  Delaware, Arizona, or Oregon to visit family -- especially their five grandchildren!

Treasurer, Board of Trustees

Dave grew up in Racine, Wisconsin before moving to Chicago where he attended university.  After spending 40 years in Chicago, he retired in 2012 and settled in the Keweenaw.  The move to Calumet marks a return to the place where Dave's grandparents settled after immigrating from Slovenia and his mom grew up.  Despite the concern of his "big city" friends, he has found plenty of ways to keep busy.  In addition to being a member of the Board of PMMF, Dave is Calumet Village President and volunteers with Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly.  You'll also find him helping out with the Copper Dog 150 sled dog race and giving tours of Calumet's historic buildings.

Dave first came to appreciate classical music while in fifth grade when he attended his first concert by the Racine Symphony Orhcestra.  While living in Chicago, he took full advantage of that city's many cultural offerings - though the Lyric Opera is his favorite.  Dave began attending PMMF concerts years ago while vacationing in the Copper Country and thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 season when he was able to attend every performance offered.  The presence of a first -class music festival in the western Upper Peninsula made it all the easier to leave Chicago behind, and he looks forward to inviting his Chicago friends up for the current season.

Dr. Sigurds
Vice President, Board of Trustees

Sigurds was born in Riga, Latvia and he arrived in the U.S. via Germany in the years following WWII. He grew up on the East Coast near New York City. There Sigurds began his steady diet of opera while in high school, attending performances at the "old" Met. After moving to the Houghton area 35 years ago to establish a medical practice, he realized the ease of attending operas was severely diminished.

Enter the Pine Mountain Music Festival. He and his wife Candace have been attending opera performances ever since. The festival provides an opportunity for the audience to interact with the singers, musicians and other professionals in a relaxed atmosphere.

Sigurds remembers an early PMMF opera performance of La Bohème in Iron Mountain where the singers were "freezing to death" in an attic apartment, while in real life the actors had sweat dripping off their faces in the 100 degree heat. The misery, at least, was real.

Candace E. Koski
President, Board of Trustees

Candace is a native of the Upper Peninsula. She grew up on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, following in the footsteps of her ancestor who arrived in the early 1800's. She has lived in the Copper Country for over thirty years, working in various capacities as a cardiovascular Registered Nurse.

Music has always been a big part of her life. She and her husband Sigurds attended as many musical performances in the area as they could. The PMMF opera was always the "big draw" for her, although she has enjoyed all the additional music offered by the festival.

Candace has enjoyed introducing her children to live opera. As adults her children still remember the first production they saw. It is a fond memory for the whole family. The Janners family encourages friends and family to investigate all types of music, to enjoy it as much as they do.


Nikke grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and has lived in Marquette for the past 15 years. She received a B.S. in Theatre from Northern Michigan University and will receive her MPA focused on Arts Administration from Northern Michigan University in December. Nikke is currently the Artistic Director and Executive Director for Lake Superior Youth Theatre and Business Manager for Lake Superior Theatre. She is the resident director for Lake Superior Youth Theatre.

Nikke was employed by the City of Marquette for eleven years beginning as a Clerical Aide, moving to Arts Education Director, and ending her tenure as the Arts Administration Director for the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center.

Nikke, with executive direction from Reatha Tweedie, was the founding director of the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center Youth Theatre program which began in 2011. She has directed

or advised all of the youth theatre productions and is very proud of how much the program has evolved and the number of youth that it has served.

Nikke has served on various arts and cultural boards in Marquette and throughout Michigan inclusive of ArtServe Michigan, Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies, Lake Superior Theatre, City Liaison for the Marquette Sister Cities Committee and Arts and Culture Committee, Pine Mountain Music Festival, First Nighters Club, Marquette Area Public School Kaufman Auditorium Steering Committee, along with various city wide projects and events. Nikke is proud to have founded, alongside Camilla Mingay, the Blueberry Dance Festival and has worked on numerous dance productions and concerts.

Nikke was recently selected by the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Advisory Committee as the winner of the “Community Arts Activist” award for 2012.

• Youth Theatre Directing and Teaching Experience Includes:

• Directed and produced over 36 youth theatre productions, 4 dance productions, 4 dance festivals, 5 music concerts, and various community festivals, concerts, and special events.

• Led various workshops and summer camps for youth (ages preschool-12th grade) theatre from 2001-2013. • Instructor for Drama and Dreams Playscape Camp. This is a one-week theatre camp targeting kids with special needs, while being open to kids with all abilities. This project is designed to help children work on socialization skills, cooperation, and self-confidence in the context of learning about theatre, costumes, set design, make-up, facial expression, voice projection, and leadership.

• Instructor for the Marquette Area High School Alternative School teaching Acting during a residency with the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center.

Nikke worked in the Scene Shop as a Carpenter as an undergraduate student and sound board operator. She has experience with lighting, sound, sets and building props. While her technical experience is limited, she has provided oversight on technical projects for fifteen years.

For a complete resume please log on to http://nikkenason.weebly.com/

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Mike Neuman is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After college he took a position on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University where he worked for thirty-two years. He eventually found his way to Houghton and Michigan Technological University, where he is the chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Neuman was in Houghton interviewing for his position with the college and went to a Pine Mountain Music Festival Opera, where he liked what he heard.  The Festival was a strong positive factor in choosing to move to the Copper Country.

Mike lives with his wife Judy, whom he credits with getting him personally involved with the Festival. He also shares his space with two dogs, two cats, eight goats and three horses on his hobby farm just outside of Houghton.


Jim is a Detroit native who moved to the Copper Country with his family in 1965. He was an incorporator and founder of the Calumet Theatre Company, and served as its first Executive Director from 1983 to 1992. He has been active in civic affairs, serving as Lions District Governor in 1989-90, trustee and secretary of the Lake Linden-Hubbell Board of Education from 1982 to 1990, and trustee and twice president of the Copper Country Intermediate School District Board of Education from 1991 to 2003. He graduated from Michigan Tech in accounting in 1983 and earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2004. Jim works for Western U.P. Substance Abuse Services CA as their Prevention Coordinator and Data Specialist.

He is an avid antique tool collector, making hand crafted furniture and cabinetry. He plays the guitar and enjoys folk, blues, and roots music. His memberships include Mensa, the Early American Industries Association and the Mid West Tool Collectors Association. Jim and his wife Cheryl make their home in Hubbell.


Jon Pryor and his wife, Paula, have attended events every year, including the very first performances held at the Pine Mountain Lodge.  They have hosted Festival artists in their home on numerous occasions and have sponsored various concerts and receptions.  They are lifelong residents of the Iron Mountain area, and underwrite many concerts throughout the year.

Jon initially joined the Festival board in 2007, and serves on the Finance Committee.

Financial Services Manager
Artistic Director

PMMF Artistic Director Donald Schleicher is responsible for season programming and scheduling, artist engagement and production of the season’s events.  Mr. Schleicher will also assume conducting responsibilities throughout the 2015 season.  Mr. Schleicher is currently Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Illinois serving in that capacity since 1995.  Previous teaching experience includes a faculty positions at the University of Michigan from 1986 to 1995.  Professional positions include eight years as Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Principal Opera Conductor for the Pine Mountain Music Festival from 1994 to 2002.  Mr. Schleicher has conducted the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, the Guiyang (China) Symphony Orchestra, the Inchon (South Korea) Philharmonic, the Daegu (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM of Mexico City, the South Dakota Symphony, and the orchestras of Bridgeport, Tallahassee, and Lansing.  As an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Mr. Schleicher has conducted All-State orchestras, festivals, and youth orchestras in nearly every state of the United States.  He is also active as a clinician for public school music educators in addition to developing, organizing and presenting workshops, master classes and lectures.

Executive Director

Tony began his professional life as a musician and attended Wayne State University, where he graduated with a degree in Arts Management.  He is a Michigan native, whose family originally settled in Ironwood.  Tony is experienced in many aspects of the music industry, including management, fundraising, producing, touring and community engagement.  His background includes knowledge of classical music, opera, theater and contemporary music.  He has worked both nationally and internationally.

Tony adds: “The Festival provides beautiful performances for its audiences, but its importance goes far beyond that.  It contributes to the local economy (over one million dollars at last calculation), strengthens an already vibrant arts community, and enhances our quality of life. Business leaders and Festival attendees refer to the PMMF as a huge asset to the region.”

Van Pelt
Executive Director Emeritus

Mr. Van Pelt retired as the 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 has 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 wife, Patricia, at Swarthmore College.  They have three children, and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren.  In 2013 they relocated to Northampton, Massachusetts, to be closer to family, but they keep in close touch with the Festival. 

Dr. Charles

Dr. Charles Wallace is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Michigan Technological University and is currently the Interim Chair of the Computer Science Department.  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 is also the President of the Episcopal Association for College Work, which oversees the Canterbury House campus ministry.  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 his two children, Cecilia and Samuel.