Staff & Board

Executive Director - Norah Rendell

Norah Rendell Norah is a dedicated music educator with over 10 years of experience in arts administration and management. She has a masters in Irish traditional music performance from the University of Limerick in Ireland and a bachelor of music degree with a major in music education and Early Music Performance from McGill University. Norah is also an award-winning singer and Irish flute-player with an active performing career as a soloist and with the Two Tap Trio.  From 2006-2013 seven years, she toured internationally as lead vocalist and of UK/Ireland-based band, The Outside Track.

Norah has given guest lectures and workshops at University College Cork, the University of Limerick, the Folk Steps Conference in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia.  Her performances have been featured live on MPR's Heartland Radio, CBC's Canada Live, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal. Norah's recordings have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta (Ireland) and on folk shows across Canada and the United States.

Office Manager - Erika Nelson

Originally from Wisconsin, Erika recently relocated to the Twin Cities from New York where she worked as a program assistant for ArtsConnection and as a freelance modern dancer. Before moving to New York, she graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a BFA in Dance. Erika grew up singing in choirs and playing the piano.



Administrative Assistant - Lorin Velikonja

lorin at open house3

Lorin grew up outside of Chicago, graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, and has lived in Chicago, New York, Düsseldorf, San Francisco, Morgantown (WV), and Winslow (AZ) before settling down in St. Paul to raise a family. She lives with her husband and 2 cats on a block famous for their Halloween celebration. She enjoys being a "host-mom" to high-school exchange students, and loves to read and travel.



Events and Communications Coordinator - Aja McCullough Beers

AjaSince graduating from Macalester College in 2008, Aja has provided communications and fundraising leadership for several Twin Cities nonprofits. Aja has been a part of the CIM community for many years as a volunteer and student of whistle, song, fiddle and guitar. On staff at CIM, Aja writes the newsletter, coordinates events and volunteers, social media, photographs CIM events, and makes many other things happen.



Event Support - Brianna Hager

Bri small2Brianna graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2007. Since graduation, Brianna has worked in program, communications and event management for organizations including the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) in Washington, DC and the Ramsey County Bar Association (RCBA) in St. Paul. Brianna currently serves as Event Coordinator for the Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota/Dakotas in Mendota Heights. Brianna joined the CIM staff in 2016 and thoroughly enjoys the tight-knit community and fun atmosphere of CIM programs and events.



Board of Directors

Board President, Mike O'Connor. Mike is an actuary, a guitar student, and a member of an adult ensemble at the Center for Irish Music. He and his wife run a u-pick blueberry farm called Blueberry Farms of Stillwater.

Vice President & Secretary, Patrick Cole. Pat is an attorney and uilleann piper from St. Paul, Minnesota. He also serves on the boards of the Irish Music and Dance Association and the Great Northern Irish Pipers Club.

Treasurer, Greg Padden. Greg lives in Elk River, plays guitar, sings and is part of an ensemble with his two children, both of whom study at the Center For Irish Music. Greg manages wholesale electricity sales and contracts for Great River Energy, holds a MBA degree and is a former Navy officer.

Fundraising, Teisha Magee. Teisha comes to CIM with nearly 20 years of fundraising and event planning experience. She is currently the Senior Program Supervisor at Keystone Community Services, West 7th site. Her four children have been students at CIM since 2007.

At Large, Laura Billings Coleman. Laura is a communications and nonprofit development consultant specializing in storytelling strategies for foundations, colleges, and cultural institutions. She lives in St. Paul with three sons who study harp, fiddle, guitar and banjo at the Center for Irish Music, and her husband, Nick, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Irish rebel songs.

At Large, Mike Lynch. Mike was the President of the Center for Irish Music board from 2007-2013 and previously served on the board of the Irish Fair of Minnesota. Mike is President of Minneapolis-based Controls & Meters, Inc. 

At Large, Jan Casey. Jan is an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of Irish music through her work with the Irish Music and Dance Association, the Center for Irish Music, and the Irish Fair's Cultural Committee. She is a retired communications professional, living in St. Paul with husband Mike.

At Large, Dave McKenna. Dave is a physician at the University of Minnesota and a flute student at the Center for Irish Music. His wife and two children are also CIM students.

At Large, Patrick Krekelberg. Patrick is a father of 4 homeschooled children; two are CIM students and the others aspiring. He enjoys being outdoors, playing bouzouki and guitar, as well as operating Krekeltronics, an R&D collaborative focused on sustainable technologies.