Laura Brown takes helm as new Moab Music Festival executive director
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Dec 26, 2012 | 1866 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Laura Brown
Laura Brown
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.”

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.