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Birdfoot Festival Board of Directors



Michael Ball, M.Arch., Assoc. AIA—President

Born in Palestine, Texas, Mr. Ball is an intern architect at Mathes Brierre Architects in New Orleans. He received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tulane University in 2007, where he received the School Medal from the American Institute of Architects. His professional involvement ranges from projects at the National World War II Museum to local universities such as Dillard and Loyola to the Federal City complex on New Orleans’s Westbank. He is currently involved with the design of a new PK–8 neighborhood school in New Orleans East. Michael is also an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects, and is pursuing professional licensure. As a graphic artist and designer, Michael has worked with numerous organizations and events to create multiple visual identities for each. These include DesCours, an annual architecture and installation-art event in Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter (5 years’ involvement); New Orleans Musica da Camera, the oldest continuously performing early-music ensemble in North America (10 years’ involvement); the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas (lifelong involvement); and various others. As an avid listener and amateur French hornist throughout school and at Tulane, Michael’s longtime involvement with music led him to first become involved with the Birdfoot Festival in late 2011 and to participate in the Junior League of New Orleans’s Get On Board nonprofit training program. Much to Birdfoot’s delight, Michael continues to enjoy designing all of the Festival’s graphics.


Jenna Sherry, M.M., Artistic Director

Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Birdfoot Festival, violinist Jenna Sherry has recently performed in Dixon Hall (New Orleans), the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), the Barbican Hall (London), and the Schoenberg Center (Vienna). A graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, she was selected as a Marshall Scholar by the British government in 2008 and completed Masters in Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Active in contemporary music, she recently performed and recorded Unsuk Chin’s Double Bind? for solo violin and electronics for BBC radio broadcast. She is co-Artistic Director of the London based performance collective Gazelleship and is regularly invited to attend chamber music festivals such as the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK).


Kelly Nelson, B.A., Secretary

Secretary of Birdfoot’s Board of Directors, Kelly Nelson received her B.A. in International Relations at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, her Principals of Development Certificate from The Fund Raising School at The Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Director of Development for St. Paul’s Episcopal School in New Orleans, Kelly has extensive experience in nonprofit development including special events and annual appeals. A graduate of the Junior League of New Orleans’s Get On Board program, she has a passion for preserving the art of classical music and is excited to be helping the Birdfoot Festival expand its funding capacity.


Thomas C. Stuart, Ph.D., Treasurer

Dr. Stuart resides in the New Orleans area while working as an intellectual property (IP) consultant for the law firm, Kramer and Amado, located in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Initially trained as scientist, Tom earned a doctoral degree in molecular biology from Tulane University (2001); received post-doctoral training in neuroscience at Tulane (2001–2003); and served as co-director of the Tulane Molecular Neuroscience Core facility (2003–2006). In 2006, Tom transitioned into the intellectual property field and has worked as an IP-consultant for law firms, primarily in Washington, DC. Classical music and opera are two of Tom’s passions. He embraces the opportunity to work with the Birdfoot Festival to ensure this music is accessible to New Orleans audiences.


Tracey W. Sherry, Ph.D., Managing Director

Co-founder and volunteer Executive Director of the Birdfoot Festival, Dr. Sherry has extensive training in and 20 years of nonprofit management experience. A founding member of the state and national-award-winning Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, she is currently in her consecutive twentieth year on GNOYO’s Board of Directors. Dr. Sherry has served at various times in all committees and offices of GNOYO, including chairing GNOYO’s successful Endowment Campaign, and serving five years as Board President. 

Dr. Sherry is a co-founder and former board member of the New Orleans String Project and has served on the Louisiana Philharmonic’s Education Committee. She has a B.A. from Swarthmore College, an M.Sc. from Carleton University, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts, the University of New Hampshire, and currently teaches for Tulane University’s Science Scholars Program. In addition to her nonprofit work, Dr. Sherry is a college-admissions advisor and teaches violin in the Greater New Orleans area, both traditionally and as a Certified Suzuki Method Instructor.


Tucker Fuller, D.M.A.

New Orleans-based composer Tucker Fuller (b.1980) writes music for both conventional and unconventional spaces. His music has been played by the Albany Symphony, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Colorado String Quartet, and the American Symphony. Tucker is a frequent collaborator with poet Megan Levad. Writing as 1928, Tucker and Megan write song cycles for dark and divey venues. Mr. Fuller holds degrees from Bard College (B.A.), Peabody Institute (M.M.A.), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A), and has studied with composers Joan Tower, Christopher Theofanidis, Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, and Michael Daugherty.


Mark A. Growdon, M.S.

Co-founder and Past-President of the Birdfoot Festival, Mr. Growdon has been involved with music and the arts for over eighteen years as a performer, educator, and conductor. He was the founding director/conductor of the Northshore Wind Ensemble, a youth wind ensemble for seventh through twelfth graders in the Greater New Orleans area, and continues conducting and performing throughout the community. 

Mr. Growdon earned a B.Mus. in Flute Performance and a B.A. in Physics from Lawrence University and Conservatory and a M.S. in Geophysics from Indiana University. He currently lives in Houston, Texas where he works for Chevron as a geologist, technical instructor, and project manager.


Lisa Hooper, M.M., M.L.S.

Ms. Hooper earned a B.A. from Penn State in cello performance, an M.M. in historical musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.L.S. (Library Science) with a focus in music librarianship from Indiana University. Lisa currently works as the head music & media librarian at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University. To date, much of Lisa’s energy has been focused on research in library science and musicology. She recently began sitting in and performing with the Tulane University Orchestra and has also joined the Fleur de lys Chamber Ensemble. Birdfoot is Lisa’s first involvement with non-profit work but she’s looking forward to working and growing with this dynamic musical enterprise.


Thomas M. Walsh, B.A.

 Thomas Walsh is an independent radio producer in New Orleans. His work can be heard regularly on public radio station WWNO, where he works on Louisiana Eats! and the Notes from New Orleans series. Outside of WWNO, Thomas is a volunteer disc jockey for college radio station WTUL New Orleans, where he hosts 20th Century Classics on Sunday nights. This past summer he was a member of the inaugural Longhouse Scholars Program, a food-media immersion program in upstate New York. Thomas received his B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio where he double majored in communications and philosophy. Someday he will give away his entire collection of Grateful Dead concerts, which has swelled to unnecessary proportions in recent years.