OUR TEAM

Kristin Neville

Executive Director & Founder
Wife of the late famous jazz musician Charles Neville, Kristin was inspired to use her connections in the jazz world to bring arts access to underserved people and leverage the arts as a tool for social change. To explore and prepare to implement her vision, she obtained a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2012. She used the entire four-year program to research and develop ideas for Blues to Green. This included traveling to meet with nonprofit Executive Directors and writing research papers on engaging the public with climate change and biodiversity loss through music and cultural events, arts-based nonprofits engaging youth in social enterprise, and more. She then founded Blues to Green in 2013 and has designed and executed the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival annually since 2014.

Erica Silber

Development Consultant
As Principal of Written Wings since 2011, Erica Silber raises millions of dollars each year through grant writing for nonprofits locally and across the country. She also fortifies nonprofits with strategic, development, and program planning and evaluation, and she writes appeals, annual reports, websites, brochures, newsletters, and other outreach materials. She has supported dozens of local and national nonprofits in the fields of social justice, human services, economic development, and the arts.

Board Members

Evan Plotkin

Co-Executive Producer & Board Member
The third generation President of NAI Plotkin, a large real estate firm in Springfield, Evan is deeply involved in the business development and revitalization of downtown Springfield. He serves on many local boards, including: the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Central Cultural District, Springfield Business Improvement District, Springfield Museums, Center for Human Development (Board Chair), Holyoke Community College, Forest Park Zoological Society, and City Mosaic (Board President). A winner of the Develop Springfield Partners in Progress Award, he also served on the committee of the 2011 Hoop City Jazz Festival. Since the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival’s inception, he has used his vast network of business and city connections to recruit sponsors, and he has assisted in communication and coordination with the City of Springfield, as well as outreach to and negotiations with artist booking agencies.

Yvonne Mendez

Festival Coordinator
As a producer and arts administrator, Yvonne’s expertise includes operations and logistics, marketing, public relations, program and organizational development, fundraising, strategic planning, and fiscal management. She has produced a variety of theater and music events that educate, enliven, and empower diverse audiences. Currently Director of Education and Engagement at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Fine Arts Center, she manages a variety of arts programs, including the Valley Jazz Network. She has also been the Marketing & Outreach Director for New WORLD Theater and the Lead Producer for The Bright Moments Festival. Holding a Master’s degree in Media Studies from The New School, she also runs Visual Concepts 123, which offers print, web, multimedia, and video design to artists and nonprofits. Yvonne has been Assistant to the Producer of the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival since 2015 and became the Festival Coordinator in 2019.

Kyle Homestead

Board President
Kyle Homstead has been House Sound Engineer and Technical Director for the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA and toured internationally as Technical Director for numerous artists, including Sweet Honey in the Rock. As a parent, he shifted to a career in IT, marketing, and design, but later returned to music and founded Laudable Productions, which produces festivals and concerts and consults for artists and presenters. He does festival sound, light, and graphic design and production.

John “Klon” Koehler

Production Manager
As President of Klondike Sound, Klon has played key technical roles in thousands of events with audiences up to tens of thousands, mainly as a sound contractor or production manager. Specializing in jazz and outdoor music festivals and events, his accomplishments include supervising audio operations for both of Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Celebrations on the Washington Mall and for the New Orleans Jazz Festival for over 40 years. He has also served as house engineer for two years of Prairie Home Companion live broadcasts. He was co-founder and treasurer of Katrina’s Piano Fund, a nonprofit that gave 400+ free instruments of all kinds to New Orleans musicians displaced by the flood. He is also an accomplished bassist whose bands have performed with BB King, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, James Cotton, Waylon Jennings, and many others. Klon has produced our festival since its inception and also advises talent selection, site layout, and development.
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