Laura Brown takes helm as new Moab Music Festival executive director
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Dec 26, 2012 | 886 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Laura Brown
Laura Brown
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The Moab Music Festival has a new executive director. Andrew Yarosh, the festival’s previous director, handed over the reigns to Laura Brown on Dec. 14. Yarosh, who was hired as the executive director in 2007, left the festival in order to fulfill family obligations in Colorado, as well as restarting a non-profit, he said.

“I’m grateful and honored to have been able to serve the Moab Music Festival for the last five years,” Yarosh said, adding that he enjoyed his time working with the staff and members of the board. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”

He said the festival has grown significantly in the five-plus years of his tenure.

Brown, who began working with Yarosh in mid-November, has an extensive musical background. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance, as well as a master of arts from the University of Wyoming, and a master of business administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is currently pursuing her PhD in musicology and criticism at the University of California ­– Davis.

Brown says she has always had a love for music. “I just kept coming back to music,” she said.

In high school, while trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life, she says her father suggested she consider other choices. But Brown knew music was her calling.

In college, Brown pursued her love of performing but ultimately decided to follow a slightly different path.

“An opportunity came up to intern with the Colorado Springs Symphony,” she said. “I just kind of happened to slide into the arts administration side of it.”

Brown currently lives in Grand Junction, Colo., where she plays oboe with the Grand Junction Symphony. She commutes to Moab several times a week and said that will become more frequent as the Moab Music Festival approaches.

Brown first learned about the opening for the MMF executive director position from a friend who works for the festival. The idea of overseeing a festival was appealing to her.

“I used to work for orchestras,” she said. “I was looking to not go the big orchestra way again.”

Brown said she had never been able to attend the festival before 2012. “I was just amazed at the high quality product they have here,” she said. “It’s a festival that’s growing still even after twenty years.”

Brown will be responsible for the day-to-day operations. She will also oversee marketing and fundraising.

“I make sure that financially we’re on target,” she said.

She will also work with the festival's music director, Michael Barrett, and artistic director, Leslie Tomkins, to help ensure the festival’s continued success.

She said she plans to continue the festival’s outreach program to Grand County school children.

“We’re going to try to figure out ways to add to the schools during our off season,” she said. “Hopefully, the community will see how important music education is in any school system.”

Brown also hopes to help increase the festival’s presence in the community year round.

“[We’re looking for] something to keep the community tied to the festival so that they support it as well,” she said.

Yarosh said that he is thrilled to have had the chance to work with Brown before leaving.

“I know I’m leaving [the festival] in capable hands,” he said.

“Andrew has been a great help,” Brown said. “He made some nice changes to step the festival up a notch.”

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