Mark Palms, educator and musician taught himself to play fiddle, banjo and accordion. He founded the award winning string band The Raisin Pickers and more recently the Cajun group, Creole du Nord. Mark continues to honor the legacy of traditional masters, sharing what he’s learned at festivals, concerts and camps. Mark and Carol founded the Riverfolk Festival in 2001 and the nonprofit Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization in 2004. Mark currently serves as the Riverfolk Board Chair.
Carol Wells Palms, a classically trained string player who captures the heart of traditional music without letting go of high musical standards. She taught orchestra in Ann Arbor public schools and continues to play in several ensembles including The Raisin Pickers. Carol is currently Chair of the Manchester Gazebo Concert Committee as well as serving on the Cultural Art Strings Committee and the Blacksmith Shop Concert Committee.
Having worked in the health care sector for 40 years, both as Respiratory Care Practitioner and as a Clinical Engineer, with 20 years at the University of Michigan Hospitals, Kent has found a common interest with many who enjoy taking the time to attend various musical and theatrical performances. As a parent of a son who has been involved in the Cultural Arts Strings program in Manchester, Kent has developed a much greater appreciation of string instruments and has provided much needed support to aid in the success of the program. Becoming a board member of the Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization was not a difficult decision for Kent as he has recognized the need for a greater awareness and benefit that music and the arts bring to the youth of our communities. Kent serves on the Blacksmith Shop Concert Committee. Kent currently resides in Manchester with his wife and 2 children.
Mike Austin is self-employed as a builder and has lived in Manchester with his family for 5 years. Prior to becoming a licensed builder he attended the University Of Michigan School Of Music and made a living as a classically trained trumpet player for 10 years. Mike Austin comes from a family of educators and is the proud father of two daughters at Klager Elementary. In addition to serving on the board for the Riverfolk Music and Arts Organizaton, on the Village Parks Commission and on the Manchester Street Festival committee he is a member of the District School Improvement team for Manchester Community Schools and is member of the Manchester Community Schools Board of Education
Aileen Rohwer joined the Riverfolk Board of Directors in 2012 as Director and Co-Founder of the Cultural Art Strings program. With a strong background in arts education and presenting, Aileen brings a wealth of experience to Riverfolk including grant writing, organizing fundraisers, recitals and concerts. Besides launching CAS, Aileen is credited with leading the launching of the Manchester Youth Orchestra and The Blacksmith Shop Concert Series.