Board of Directors

Folk Music Ontario’s Board of Directors is a dedicated and enthusiastic group of thirteen volunteers, elected democratically by the membership via advanced balloting during the fall and at the annual conference in October. Directors serve a three-year term. The Executive Committee is elected by the directors, and each position on the Executive Committee is held for one year.

2016-17 FMO Board

2017-18 FMO Board
Back row: Paul Fortune, Amie Therrien, Alex Sinclair, Preetam Sengupta, 
Front row: Christa Couture, Jan Cody, Kathy Partridge, Rosalyn Dennett
Missing: Dave Cool, Darin Addison, James Keelaghan, Max Merrifield, Liz Scott

2018 Board Elections

Of the Board’s current members, four directors are completing their terms this fall. New directors will be elected by the membership at the October conference in Mississauga. This year, there are five excellent candidates who are willing to step in. Please take a moment to get to know them before the big vote!

Tim Des Islets

Tim Des Islets

Tim Des Islets is the founder of the Canadian artist management company Noisemaker Management. With achievements in cultivating Canadian talent that has reached audiences both at home and abroad, Noisemaker manages an award-winning roster of artists that includes The Once, Megan Bonnell, Tim Chaisson, and JUNO Award-winners The East Pointers. Tim formerly worked at Bumstead Productions where he managed current clients The East Pointers and Tim Chaisson as well as Poor Young Things, Two Hours Traffic, The Lazys, and The Trews. Tim has helped develop artists and establish these artists into Canadian music canon.

Tim’s expertise in artist management has created incredible talent that helps solidify Canada as a major player in the music scene.

Why would Tim make a good board member?

As the founder of Noisemaker Management, Tim manages an award-winning roster of artists that includes The Once, Megan Bonnell, Tim Chaisson, and JUNO Award-winners The East Pointers. Tim has over ten years of experience working in the Canadian and international music industry and has worked to develop and sustain meaningful careers for the artists he works with. As a promoter, Tim launched a new concert series in 2016 and has presented some of Canada’s finest artists. Through grant and funding support, Tim has worked closely with some of Ontario and Canada’s largest and most respected festivals. Tim Des Islets is also on CIMA’s Board of Directors.

Richard Henderson

Richard Henderson

*Currently involved in FMO committee work

Richard has been practicing law for over 35 years. He recently retired from HSBC Financial, having served as Vice-President, Law and Compliance, Secretary and General Counsel for 27 years. Richard also served on its board and as Chair of its Executive Committee. His roles included overseeing the legal function and managing the company’s regulatory and government affairs, compliance and governance functions. In addition, Richard has served as a Director, and as Secretary and Vice-President, of the Scugog Council for the Arts, a not-for-profit visual and performing arts presenting organization that supports the arts and fosters creativity in Durham Region. Richard has been a musician since his public school days and regularly performs as a singer/songwriter and as a founding member of The Wanted (, an acoustic roots band.

Why would Richard make a good board member?

Richard’s depth of experience can help Folk Music Ontario navigate its path forward in the complex world of organizational governance and strategic and financial management. Having been an active participant on both corporate and not-for-profit boards, Richard understands the role and the duties of a director, and his years of experience as a lawyer would provide FMO with valuable and practical perspective in regulatory, governance, and advocacy matters. But Richard is also a performing musician and has served as a director of a community arts presenting organization, and insights gained from those experiences broaden his ability to connect with members and stakeholders and to make a meaningful contribution to Folk Music Ontario, an organization dedicated to supporting the growth and development of folk music in Ontario.

Emma Jane Julien

Emma Jane Julien

*Currently involved in FMO committee work

Emma Jane Julien is a friendly face on the FMO scene as, at 29, she is already over a decade into a career in the Canadian Music Industry. Conference-goers may have seen a set or two in the Campsite-themed, cedar-scented private showcase room she co-presents at FMO, or bumped into her in the First-Timers showcase room she has co-hosted at FAI in the last two years. She has been a publicist, a manager, an administrator, a hat-passer and ticket-taker, a promoter, a brainstormer, a web designer, a grantwriter and a lady of all trades for hundreds of artists over the years. She is currently an Account Representative at Re:Sound, the Canadian organization that advocates for music creators, educates music users, licenses broadcasters/businesses and distributes royalties to creators. Emma Jane has a BA in Commercial Music from the University of the West of Scotland’s School of Creative Industries and studied Recording Arts Management at Harris Institute.

Why would Emma make a good board member?

There are many ways that I can contribute to the FMO Board of Directors, from communications to fundraising to social media and web design, but perhaps the thing I am most passionate about is making sure that the FMO community is a safe and inclusive space for everyone, but especially our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ members and visitors. I am also dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of the organization, as I recognize its importance within not only the Canadian but the North American Music Industry, and wish to see many more generations of folkies come up through this community.

Max Merrifield

Max Merrifield

*Current FMO board member

By day (and sometimes nights) Max Merrifield is the Executive/Artistic Director of Northern Lights Festival Boréal, one of Canada’s original music and arts festivals. The now 4 day festival presents an eclectic blend of roots, indie, world and modern music, as well as other art forms. By night, Merrifield is a hip-hop and spoken word artist by the name of Silvertongue, as well as a show promoter with Cage Call Underground Hip-Hop and individually. Merrifield is also the current Vice Chair of Sudbury’s Myths & Mirrors Community Arts, and the chair of Folk Music Ontario’s Advocacy Committee. He is a lover of diversity and innovation as well as tradition in music and art.

Why would Max make a good board member?

I believe I would make a good director due to my existing experience on the board and in the festivals and live music industry. I feel as though the work being done with the Advocacy Committee is now starting to take off, and would love to continue my part in this work. Also, I believe representation from Northern Ontario on the board is absolutely vital in order to truly serve the province and the membership. I also hope to continue working on the training retreat for festival administrators, and feel I have made a solid contribution there. Being the ‘jack of all trades’ for Northern Lights Festival Boréal (over 8 years) has given me experience in most aspects of running a non-profit, arts-related organization.

Syma Shah

Syma Shah

As the Director of Programming and Special Events, Syma has been part of the revitalization of Union Station project since 2013. She has been working to connect with all major and grassroots arts and cultural organizations within the City and internationally, to create continuous contemporary programming in one of Canada’s most iconic buildings! Syma has been a passionate arts and cultural producer for more than 10 years. She has had many years’ experience with multidisciplinary arts festivals, with a focus and passion for diversity and inclusivity.

Why would Syma make a good board member?

My passion for arts and culture is my number one drive – with a major focus on music. Music has gotten me through life in such a positive way. I love all aspects of music/artists and love to promote and enhance the music scene. I have started many music programs at Union Station with a wide array of musical genres and am proud of what has been accomplished, and what’s to come. I am a go-getter and have a do what it takes mentality to get things done. I am an out of box thinker, and I have a ‘glass is always full’ mentality. I am committed to every project I take.

2017/18 Executive Committee


Katharine Partridge, President

Katharine Partridge,, term ends 2018
Katharine has been attending and supporting folk festivals since the ‘70s. She became actively involved in the community in 2003 as one of the founders of Shelter Valley Folk Festival. She has given presentations on governance, strategic planning, and green initiatives at FMO and Folk Alliance conferences. Katharine is a communications and stakeholder engagement specialist, managing a Toronto-based boutique consultancy advising international clients on sustainability issues. In past lives, she was a journalist and prior to that a production stage manager for Canadian theatres.

Vice President

Preetam Sengupta, Vice President

Preetam Sengupta,, term ends 2020
Preetam runs a company called Letting Artists Make Art (LAMA), dedicated to helping (predominantly folk-roots) musicians make a living through their music. LAMA fills in gaps on the business side so artists can focus on creativity. Preetam is a singer/songwriter, balancing the business and the stage. He writes and sings solo and in a band called Crash Bamboo, and works closely with Northstarr Entertainment, a leader in Canadian Urban music.


Dave Cool, Director

Dave Cool,, term ends 2019
Dave Cool is the Director of Artist & Industry Outreach at musician website platform Bandzoogle. From 2007-2011, Dave was the Program Director at the St-Ambroise Centre where he booked over 300 shows featuring folk artists from across Canada, helped to found the Montreal Folk Festival, and gave away over $15,000 in bursaries to musicians. In 2006, Dave directed the NFB documentary film “What is INDIE? A look into the World of Independent Musicians”, which featured interviews with Penny Lang, Ember Swift, Matt Large and many leading industry experts. From 2009 until the association was dissolved in 2016, Dave served on the Board of Directors of CIRAA (Canadian Independent Recording Artists’ Association).


Amie Therrien, Secretary

Amie Therrien,, term ends 2019
Amie Therrien is the owner of Balsam Pier Music in Toronto, Ontario. She manages award-winning roots act The Young Novelists (New/Emerging Artist, 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards) and folk/celtic/bluegrass band The Bombadils. She also provides freelance artist services including strategic planning, marketing, publicity, grant writing, tour booking to a variety of artists from different genres.


James Keelaghan, Director

James Keelaghan,, term ends 2020
For over 25 years James Keelaghan has been a touring singer songwriter. Born and raised in the folk music hothouse of Calgary, he writes about the history of working people, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and the landscape that forms such a large part of the Canadian artistic psyche. James is also the Artistic Director of the venerable Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario.


Rosalyn Dennett,, term ends 2020
Rosalyn is a leader and organizer in the national and international folk community. As a long-standing member, Rosalyn has worked with Folk Music Ontario in many capacities, including official and unofficial showcase artist, official and private showcase presenter, panelist and panel moderator, emcee, exhibitor, reception host and more. Her experience working in the non-profit sector for MusicOntario, CIMA, Music Canada Live, Ontario Live Music, and the Canadian Federation of Musicians would be an asset to any organization, and her dedication to music can be seen through her successful career as an artist, performing and recording with Oh My Darling, Ken Whiteley, Fred Penner, Donovan Woods, Kaia Kater, and many more fine folks.

2017/18 Directors

Darin Addison, Director

Darin Addison,, term ends 2019
Darin J. Addison has over 20 years of music industry experience. He has worked in artist management, booking, publicity, and promotion with independent and major label artists including Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, The Ashgrove, Sara Craig, Crash Test Dummies and The Pursuit of Happiness. Darin spent two years as Publicity Manager for London Ontario Live Arts (LOLA) Fest and hosted a weekly radio show at 94.9 CHRW (Western University) for seven years. He worked as Production and Marketing Coordinator at London’s Aeolian Hall before taking over as Artistic Director for London Ontario’s Home County Music & Art Festival in 2013.

Jan Cody, Treasurer

Jan Cody,, term ends 2018
Jan has been a part of the arts and music industries for many years, developing programming, marketing and outreach programs for clients and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian Country Music Association for a decade, and recently with Shelter Valley Folk Festival, she has sought roles that help support and grow organizations and knowledge for membership.

Christa Couture, Director

Christa Couture,, term ends 2018
Christa Couture is an award-winning performing and recording artist, a non-fiction writer, a digital producer, a cyborg and a halfbreed. Her fourth album “Long Time Leaving” was released in 2016 on Black Hen Music; she has toured across Canada and Europe; her writing has been published in Room Magazine, Shameless, and the anthology “The M Word;” and as a speaker and storyteller, she has addressed audiences for CBC’s DNTO, Moses Znaimer’s conference ideacity, and Imaginate in Port Hope, Ontario. She is currently an associate producer for CBC Digital, and she also manages the Indigenous music platform, label, and performance series Revolutions Per Minute.

Paul Fortune, Director

Paul Fortune,, term ends 2019
Paul’s early passion for Folk music has inspired years of support and promotion.  A long time attendee and volunteer of the Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival, Board member of the Eaglewood Folk Festival, and more. With 24 years experience in Sales, Marketing and Strategic Planning, Paul now operates Forch’s Record Store in Cambridge, offering Canadian and international Folk/Americana artists and promoting live music.

Max Merrifield, Director

Max Merrifield,, term ends 2018
By day (and sometimes nights) Max Merrifield is the Executive Director of Northern Lights Festival Boréal, one of Canada’s original music and arts festivals. The 3 day festival presents an eclectic blend of roots, indie, world and modern music, as well as other art forms. By night, Merrifield is a hip-hop and spoken word artist by the name of Silvertongue, as well as a show promoter with Cage Call Underground Hip-Hop. Merrifield is also the current chair of Myths & Mirrors Community Arts and a board member of Folk Music Canada. He is a lover of diversity and innovation as well as tradition in music and art.

Liz Scott, Director

Liz Scott,, term ends 2019
Liz has hosted Irish Mountain House Concerts since 2001, a life-changing decision that has been integral in feeding her passion for live music. She spent four years as Artistic Director at Eaglewood Folk Festival. Liz presents shows in soft-seat theatres in Meaford, Owen Sound and Collingwood and helps books acts into Blue Mountain Resort. Through Serendipitous Music she has provided support for booking, publicity and promotion. In 2013 Liz partnered with Fred Eaglesmith to build and promote his Ontario shows in small town, unconventional venues and now organizes Fred’s annual Charity Picnic. She has been a judge for the Junos and Songs From the Heart, FMO panelist, Folk Alliance mentor, and Summerfolk Media Liaison.

Alex Sinclair, Director

Alex Sinclair,, term ends 2020
Alex is a long-time musician and songwriter with deep roots on the Ontario folk scene, both as a solo artist and with the folk group Tamarack. Alex also works as an administrator/ bookkeeper for the likes of Borealis Records, and sits on the board of the ArtsCan Circle.

FMO Committees

Folk Music Ontario’s Board members serve on a variety of committees, some of which also include FMO members, staff members and consultants. Click here to see a list of the various FMO committees and working groups, and the people who sit on them.