World-renowned pianist Theodore Lettvin (1927-2003) proposed the idea for Great Lakes PAA during his tenure as professor of piano at the University of Michigan’s School of Music. Professor Lettvin became concerned when his graduating students, discouraged by the lack of performance opportunities available to them in this area, left for New York, California, Europe, or gave up on the idea of performing all together. To address this issue, Professor Lettvin and his wife, Joan, envisioned an organization that would focus on artists’ talent and promise, rather than their ability to generate profits. In 1978, after thorough research and planning, Joan Lettvin established Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates, a regional, not-for-profit artist management organization. It was good for the artists, good for the region, and good for the performing arts. Today Great Lakes PAA celebrates over 35 years of excellence in the arts, and its mission is as vital to regional artists and audiences as it ever was. The National Endowment for the Arts described PAA as “a resource unlike any other.”
A unique non-profit arts organization, GLPAA was founded in 1978. Its mission is to encourage the cultural and artistic development of the Great Lakes region by supporting the performance careers of exceptional regional artists. By offering high caliber artists at affordable fees to regional performing arts presenters, we extend the strength and vitality of cultural enrichment to a greater and more diverse population. These presenters include college, church, and community concert series, regional orchestras, schools, libraries, and “non-traditional” venues such as community centers and nursing homes. Great Lakes PAA’s artists present concerts, recitals, master classes, workshops residencies, and educational programs throughout the Great Lakes region.
Because of its not-for-profit status, Great Lakes PAA can focus on artists’ talent and promise rather than their ability to finance the cost of managing a performance career. To that end, PAA seeks out and carefully selects talented artists from this region to join its roster and supports them by providing performance-career management services.
Amanda Stanger-Read, Executive Director
Originally from the East Coast, Amanda earned a degree in English and Dance at Columbia University. She moved to Ann Arbor in 1992 to pursue an MFA in Dance at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance. After graduating, to support her performance career, she taught dance all around Washtenaw County, at the University of Michigan, Flint and wrote dance and music previews for the Ann Arbor Observer. To further supplement her income Amanda wound up working at GLPAA as an Administrative Assistant to Elizabeth Humes, the Executive Director at the time. Amanda left in early 1998 to start a family and a few years later opened her own dance and music studio, Arts in Motion, with her husband Scott Read. In the Spring of 2021, Amanda decided to close Arts in Motion mostly due to the pressures of Covid. Now, Amanda brings her career full circle by joining GLPAA again, this time as Executive Director, equipped with the knowledge of the challenges that performing artists face as well as the experience of running a business.
Amanda is excited to continue GLPAA’s mission to support talented artists, find new performance venues, participate in educational programs, interact with and bring music to audiences and students throughout the Great Lakes region.
40 years teaching English and music in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, collaborative pianist for students. B. M. and M. M. University of Michigan.
Frederick A. Smith, recently retired director of bands at Tappan Middle School, September 2016. B.A. from the University of Michigan and M.A. in administration from Eastern Michigan University.Facilitated a Summer Music Scholarship program for disadvantaged students to Interlochen Arts and Music Camp’s U of M Allstate Program and Blue Lake Arts and Music Camp Program. Administered the AAPS Summer Music Program, facilitated the district’s Cooperative Outreach Music Program. Served as assistant director of three church choirs at Bethel A.M.E. Church and as a USPTR certified teaching professional at Huron Valley Tennis Club in Ann Arbor, both over 25 years! Frederick is married with four beautiful children. He is honored to be a proud member of the Ann Arbor community.
Linda Grekin is a writer and an educator with a special interest in using the arts to teach core curriculum. She has a BA in Journalism, a Teaching Certificate and an MA in Educational Curriculum Development, all from The University of Michigan. Linda has written five books of poetry and a non-fiction book, I’ll never Get Lost Again, about people who are directionally challenged. She lives in Ann Arbor near her three children and six granddaughters.
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, John Floyd is a financial professional with 30 years of budgeting, accounting, and financial control for government, non-for-profit and private industry. Presently he works in fossil fuel-reducing technologies.
John taught Economics, Political Economy and Business in the Chicago area at Moraine Valley Community College, Prairie State College, and DePaul University. He is married, and has three children. BA Oberlin College, Master of Public Policy University of Michigan, Master of Science in Accounting DePaul University.
Active volunteer for arts organizations, civic issues especially those related to children and families. Long-time supporter of PAA and widow of founding board member Peter Darrow. Resigned from the Board April 2022.
Ed, a native of Detroit, attended University of Michigan for undergrad and law school. He ran the University of Michigan Health Law office for over 30 years providing legal support for the health system. Since 2009 he has been on faculty at the Medical School Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology focusing on issues of reproductive justice. He also plays classical guitar at an amateur level.
Richard Kennell is Dean emeritus of the College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green State University. In Chicago, he attended Northwestern University and performed with various professional ensembles including the Chicago Saxophone Quartet, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony, and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. He completed his doctorate in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has published research on the interactions of studio instruction in music. Joined the Board May 2022.
Music Educator, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Guest conductor/clinician throughout the U.S. M.M., University of Colorado.
Will is a Major Gifts Officer with the University Musical Society. A native of Ann Arbor he and wife, Megann, are raising their two children here. An alum of Eastern Michigan University and Ann Arbor Huron High School, Will continues to serve as the Camp Director for the Huron High School annual marching band camp held each August at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Will enjoys cooking, the outdoors, camping and vacations.
Former Board Chair of Great Lakes PAA, and of Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor; current Board Chair of Deep Spring Center for Meditation and Spiritual Inquiry. B.A. Yale University; J.D. Harvard University. Resigned from the Board May 2022.
Professor of English Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. Author of numerous books and articles. Ann Arbor civic leader serving on the Boards of the Michigan Theater Foundation, the Stearns Collection at the Univ. of Michigan School of Music, and the Salzburg Seminar. PhD Harvard University.
Recently voted to serve on the GLPAA board, Ara serves as Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Ara is also an Armenian musician that plays the kanun, a Middle Eastern laptop harp with over seventy-six strings. Ara has performed (private and public) concerts throughout Michigan and around the country. In 2012, he received a Kresge Artist Fellow and in 2015 he received Artist in Residence from the City of Farmington Hills, MI.
A passionate music educator and administrator, she has served as an instructor in the Ann Arbor Public Schools and on the faculty of the Sphinx Preparatory Program and Michigan State University Community Music School; and in administrative capacities with the Sphinx Organization as well as Our Own Thing – a nonprofit organization for which she has recently developed a string music program and serves as the administrative director.
From Fairbanks, Alaska, Ms. Woods continues to perform throughout the metro Detroit area and is a member of the Dexter Community Orchestra. She currently serves on the boards of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance Alumni Society and the Community Music School of Ann Arbor. In her free time, she loves spending time with her daughter and her dog.