Vincent York – founder and artistic director
Vincent York is uniquely qualified to direct Jazzistry’s programs. His introduction to the music of Charlie Parker in the ninth grade ignited his exploration and love for jazz. He attended Southern University at Baton Rouge as a music education major and switched to become the first jazz studies major under clarinetist Alvin Batiste. After graduate study in classical saxophone at the University of Michigan under Donald Sinta, York toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. He formed The Force in 1977 which was later renamed Vincent York’s New York Force. York’s first recording was voted Best Jazz Album of the Year by MetroTimes.
York has performed and recorded with some of music and entertainment’s all-time greats including the Temptations, the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sarah Vaughn, Wayne Newton, Bob Hope, Patti Page, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Louis Smith and Marcus Belgrave. He was also music director for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. York has performed across the United States, Europe and Japan, including appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and at presidential dinners.
York is also an active educator. During his training under Alvin Batiste he took part in the pilot Jazz Artist in Residence Program of the National Endowment for the Arts that evolved into the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts where Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick studied. From 1996 to 2000, he was a MCACA Artist-in-Residence at Community High School in Ann Arbor and guided many jazz combos. At Washtenaw Community College he directed a 21-member student jazz orchestra with musicians aged 17 to 70.
From 1998 to 2007 York was the lead alto saxophone for the Cleveland Jazz Heritage Orchestra, a professional 17-piece not-for-profit performance/education orchestra which is officially in residence in the Cleveland State University Black Studies Program.
Tasha Lebow – founding board member
Tasha Lebow was a program manager at The University of Michigan’s Program for Educational Opportunity for over 20 years. PEO was the regional federally-funded Equity Assistance Center serving pK-12 schools throughout the Great Lakes States with consultation and technical assistance. Tasha provided professional development to schools on multicultural curriculum and instruction, prejudice and harassment prevention, school climate, parent involvement and educational equity issues. With Robin Wax she co-authored the award winning “Remember the Ladies” A Handbook of Women in American History. She also served on her local school board for 12 years. Tasha is the immediate past president of the National Association for Multicultural Education and a member of the board of The Scrap Box—a green supply/recycle center that promotes sustainability and upcycle arts and crafts.
Walt Jenkins – joined board 4/12
Walt Jenkins is President and CEO of Architects in Communication, LLC handling site development in the telecommunication industry. Walt has worked on wireless infrastructure for nearly 30 years throughout the United States and Canada. He is a certified project manager through Capstone Development International. In the past Walt worked as a developer with residential and commercial properties. He had the opportunity to work on the expansions of the Detroit Medical Center, Harper Hospital and other major medical facilities in southeast Michigan. Walt is a member of the Honors Committee for the National Rifle Association. He is also an active member of the Masonic organization and currently serves as a Trustee with the Farmington Masonic Lodge. Walt grew up in Redford and has lived in the Novi/Northville area for more than 35 years. He received several awards from the City of Novi for his volunteer efforts, including recognition from the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for his work on a statewide trail-way project. Walt and his family enjoy music and the performing arts. He and his wife Denise actively support Jazzistry with a “hands on” effort. Walt has one married son, a married daughter and three beautiful grandchildren that he hopes one day will learn to play piano on the vintage baby grand he is restoring.
Betsy Noren – joined board 4/16
Betsy Noren has a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Business Administration from the Universtiy of Michigan. She has 30+ years of experience in financial and human resource administration in public and non-profit settings, with expertise in grant administration and
audit. Betsy loves music, and is passionate about enhancing the lives of young people in Michigan. A creative individual, she has particular interest in the Arts, which, she believes, are especially important is times of economic stress. She sees the arts as a unifying medium
that enhances the lives of all in our society.
Deborah Orlowski – joined board 6/11
Deborah Orlowski, Ph.D. is the Senior Learning Specialist in the department of Human Resource Development at UM. Her areas of expertise include: conflict resolution and improving communication and teamwork, especially when impacted by intercultural issues; leadership development; and personal styles identification. She is also the lead for special events. In the past she served as a faculty member in the off-campus program at Central Michigan University teaching “Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Workplace” and “Women and Politics.” Deborah is a graduate of Wayne State University’s Multicultural Experiences in Leadership Development (MELD) program and New Detroit’s Cultural Immersion program. Deborah holds a B.A. in sociology from UM; an M.P.A. from EMU and a Ph.D from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dissertation examined how intercultural friendships develop and flourish. She is a member of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) and the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).
Malverne Winborne – joined board 7/11
Malverne Winborne is the director of the Charter Schools Office at Eastern Michigan University. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He then received a master’s degree in psychology and a doctoral degree in education and psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Winborne has also been involved in a variety of civic and community activities over the years. He has volunteered with the Detroit, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti public school districts. He is a founding member of the Ypsilanti, Michigan chapter of DADS Inc., a group of men who volunteered to act as mentors for students in that school district. Dr. Winborne has been very active with the United Negro College Fund heading up fund-raising drives. He has had a long relationship with the American Red Cross, serving as board chairman for the Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region. He currently serves as one of the commissioners with the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission.
Bill Barker – joined board 1/15
Bill Barker is a retired metallurgist who worked in the basic steel industry and steel processing for over 40 years. He is also an amateur musician. For over 50 years he has played in an electric blues band supporting, promoting and participating in open jam sessions in the Greater Detroit Area. Barker served as treasurer and secretary for the Board of Directors of the former Graystone Jazz Museum in Detroit for 8 years prior to its closing. He currently volunteers on the City of Flat Rock’s Michigan Main Street/Trail Towns program as Co-Chairman and a member of the Economic Revitalization Team working or revitalizing the downtown area and improving public access to the Huron River.
Marge Wisniewski – joined board 7/07
Marge Wisniewski is an education specialist for Education Planning Resources Inc., and president and owner of Integrated Management Consultants. She has extensive experience working in the health care industry for the past 15 years, including start-ups, reorganizations and acquisitions and as adjunct faculty at Madonna University and Cleary University teaching health care management classes. Marge’s volunteer experience includes promoting a concert series for the Detroit Yacht Club. She first learned to love music from her husband, a professional musician, and later her daughter, also a professional musician. Marge enjoys participating in events that promote education in the arts.