Music in the Mountains makes changes to staff |

Music in the Mountains makes changes to staff

Music in the Mountains SummerFest violinist Claire Tatman warms up along with her fellow performers during the Patriotic Pops - Happy Birthday USA! Concert held July 4 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in this archive photo.
Elias Funez/

It’s been a year of multiple changes for Music in the Mountains, with the hiring of Jenny Darlington-Person as executive director in November 2018, a move to downtown Grass Valley and the naming of conductor Ryan Murray as artistic director, who officially took over July 5.

The most recent changes for the music nonprofit founded in 1981 involve a reorganization that eliminated two full-time staff positions. Those slots — a donor services manager and an operations and production manager — were just over a year old.

But when Darlington-Person and Murray began having conversations about the best way to move the organization forward, she said, they realized they should revamp some of their priorities. That led to the creation of new positions: a patron services manager and an education programs manager, as well as a part-time intern. The new full-time spots have been filled. Part-time and seasonal staff will be hired as needed, Darlington-Person said.

“We realized we were spending too much on administration and wanted to invest more on programming,” Darlington-Person said.

After all, she said, Music in the Mountains exists because of the generosity of its donors and patrons, and she wanted to maximize the impact of those funds.

“The majority of our work is really SummerFest,” Darlington-Person said. “We realized it made more sense for us to have more seasonal staff, and a smaller staff year-round.

“This was done for the health of the organization, as the most efficient use of our resources,” she added later.

None of Music in the Mountain’s programming is being eliminated, Darlington-Person said, adding the new SummerFest Music Academy for college students launched this year was a success.

“We do plan on doing that again,” she said. “Nothing is going away — we will build on it this year.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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