Executive Director and COO, Inspire Arts & Music
Christopher received his BA in music, with honors, from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he studied tuba with the legendary George N. Parks. He performed in all of the University ensembles under the Direction of Malcolm W. Rowell.
Christopher went on to become the Director of Bands and Orchestra at Norwood High School in Massachusetts. His numerous ensembles, from Mustang Marching Band to his Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, routinely achieved Superior ratings and evaluations. Over a span of four years the Symphonic Band, Orchestra and Wind Ensemble performed at Boston Symphony Hall, Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and Mechanics Hall in Worcester. He also served as the Co-Director of the Norwood Jazz Ensemble, along Paul M. Alberta. The already decorated Jazz Ensemble continued to pioneer new music and received numerous awards at the State, Regional and National level, including gold medal ratings at every regional and state competition, along with national recognition as the most outstanding ensemble in Branson, Missouri in 2001. Christopher was an active brass educator in Drum Corps International working with the Boston Crusaders, Phantom Regiment and Carolina Crown.
Following his teaching tenure, Christopher earned is J.D, with honors, from New England School of Law in Boston in 2006 and was sworn to the bar. He worked as a prosecutor in the Essex County District Attorney’s office where he was awarded the “heavy hitter” award in 2008 for his performance in the jury trial arena. He ultimately established a private practice and joined the Inspire Arts & Music Board of Directors in 2013.
Effective July of 2015, Christopher became the full time Executive Director of Inspire Arts & Music and the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. Inspire is a not-for-profit organization whose programs seek to develop and ‘inspire’ young adults via both scholastic and non-scholastic activities. The vehicle we use to do this is a portfolio of performing arts programs, including Great East Music Festivals, and our mission is to help them develop and demonstrate the qualities needed to achieve excellence in both their program and their personal lives.
Christopher is still an active performer, clinician, and conductor and recently guest conducted part of the Boston College Symphonic Band program in 2015 and 2016. He resides in Reading, MA with his wife Darlene and three children: Owen, Addeline and Nolan.
Director, Great East Music Festivals
Samantha began her music career in Norwood, MA, graduating high school with the class of 2000. She played mallet percussion all throughout middle and high school, participating in the Southeast District Festivals and the MMEA All-State Festival & Concert. She played with the front ensembles of the Citations Drum & Bugle Corps from Burlington, MA (98,99) and the Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps from Nashua, NH (01-04), winning a national championship in 2004.
Sam has taught numerous high school marching bands throughout New England, including Norwood, Biddeford ME, Bishop Feehan, King Philip Regional, Melrose, and Burlington. She also taught the Spartans in 2005.
Sam graduated from Northeastern University summa cum laude with a BS in Music Industry. Knowing she wanted to work in the non-profit sector, Sam began an internship with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, which turned into a full time job as the Supervisor of Operations. The primary mission of Landmarks is to make classical music more accessible, especially to non-classical music listeners and children. Here she worked with Maestros Christopher Wilkins and the late Charles Ansbacher, founder of Landmarks, putting on numerous free concerts every summer at the DCR’s Hatch Shell in Boston. In 2010, she helped produce the first ever full orchestral concert put on at Fenway Park. After three years with the Landmarks Orchestra, she began working for the Lexington Symphony as the Operations Manager, eventually becoming the General Manager. Here she worked with Maestro Jonathan McPhee, former Music Director of the Boston Ballet for almost 30 years. Lexington Symphony is known for their celebrated program, Orchestrating Kids Through Classics™, which gives elementary students a tour of the orchestra from over 500 years ago to present-day. Sam thoroughly enjoyed running these annual concerts, which are designed to demystify and personalize the classical concert experience.
Along with working for Inspire Arts & Music, Sam also serves on the Board of Directors for the Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps. She currently resides in Norwood, MA.
Ralph Venezia has been active in the Pageantry Arts and Music Festivals for over 40 years. Active as a performer, teacher, designer, and clinician he has performed with the Ridgewood Concert Band, Village Band, Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, and Orlando Concert Band. He was a brass instructor for the World Champion Hawthorne Caballeros, the principal designer for the Pequannock High School Band and Color Guard and numerous high school bands in the tri-state area including Randolph, West Milford, Wayne Hills and the Norwich Free Academy. As a composer, his Three Coins In The Floutain was recently premiered by the Central Florida Sunshine Flutes and he is the principal arranger/composer for Canticle Flute Ensemble of Orlando, FL. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he studied trumpet with Roger Stewart and composition with Frank Lynn Paine and Ray Luke. Mr. Venezia is a facilitator for Disney Youth Programs and Adventures by Disney in Lake Buena Vista, FL. He resides in Kissimmee with his wife The Reverend Deborah Venezia and Princess Margaret, The Kountess of Kissimmee, a Basset Hound and Brother Cadfael, the Prince of Wails, a Cardigan Welsh Corgipoo.
Bethany Rush is a proud alumnus of the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, where she was in the front ensemble for five years (2012-2016); playing timpani for four of those years. She was on the leadership team, which included the roles of front ensemble section leader for three years and drum captain. In the summer after her age-out, Bethany worked as an administrative assistant for the corps. In May of 2017, Bethany graduated with a music education degree from the University of North Texas, with a focus on percussion. While in school she was a member of the marching band, performed in many world music ensembles, and played timpani for the school’s orchestras, among other things. After graduating, Bethany moved from her hometown of Denton, Texas to West Palm Beach, Florida. There she works part time as a music educator for groups such as Stryke Percussion, and is excited to be putting her passion for music education, music business, and the Boston Crusader’s family to work with the expansion of Great East Music Festivals.