Music notes: Music in the Mountains staff welcomes fresh faces |

Music notes: Music in the Mountains staff welcomes fresh faces

Jennifer Nobles
Staff Writer
Music In The Mountains has some new staff members, including fundraising coordinator Cassie Robertson (left) and operations manager Amanda Foley.
Elias Funez/

The summer season is proving to be busy for Nevada County’s longstanding musical nonprofit, Music in the Mountains. The thirty-seven year old organization is in the throes of holding its annual Summer Fest series of outdoor concerts and chamber concerts, while in its offices, change is afoot.

Music in the Mountains is essentially comprised of three branches: educational outreach, a chorus made up of 80 volunteer singers, and a professional orchestra. All entities carry the same mission, to entertain and educate the public.

Ginny Riffey has been named the interim executive director of the organization after the early-June departure of former director Dr. Mieko Hatano.

Riffey has a lengthy past with Music in the Mountains, having served 13 years as a volunteer before joining the board of directors. Eventually she became president of the board and stepped into the executive director role just weeks ago. Riffey said she will serve in the position as long as she is needed.

“I’ve worked in nonprofits my whole life,” Riffey said. “I was executive director for an organization that helped service members. So I’ve been doing (this type of work) for 47 years.”

Cassie Robertson joins Music in the Mountains as its new fundraising coordinator.

Robertson grew up in Nevada City, and spent the majority of her adult life in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Much of her experience lies in hospitality and customer service, which she said has prepared her for her new role.

“When I came home from Portland, I wanted to be sure that I was a part of the community,” Robertson said. “I wanted to really be a contributing member of our community.”

“My parents are longtime supporters of Music in the Mountains and this is an organization that was particularly dear to my dad. When I saw the (job) listing, I thought, wow, that’s serendipitous.”

After two weeks on the job, Robertson looks forward to this year’s Summer Fest celebration, which officially began this week. The program will continue with three additional outdoor concerts, culminating with the popular Patriotic Pops concert July 3 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

“The concerts are amazing, it’s not fussy,” Robertson said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be out in the community. It’s relevant and modern and beautiful and accessible. The arts in the community need to be cherished.”

Amanda Foley is the third new staff member at Music in the Mountains. Having stepped into the role of operations manager, Foley brings years of production experience and has already made an impression on her colleagues.

“Amanda really stepped into this,” said Robertson. “She was really hired for two jobs, operations and production, and she’s killing it. It’s a pleasure to watch. She is truly amazing at what she does.”

Riffey said that Music in the Mountains not only does its best to expose the community as a whole to classical music, but also goes into the schools and teaches students about classical music and different types of instruments. She reminds folks that the organization is volunteer and donor driven.

“We’re all the face of Music in the Mountains,” said Riffey of the new staff members. “As an older person, it’s nice to see a younger generation stepping up and taking leadership roles. It means there’s hope for the future.”

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at or 530-477-4231.

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