Presenting the communities of the Great North Woods with opportunities to participate and experience the musical, cultural and performing arts.
From the start, the GNWCA has emerged using local venues that invite individuals to partake and to enjoy the offerings of local and regional talents.
With the early creation of the Winter Warmers concert series and our popular annual TubaChristmas concert, the GNWCA has become a valued part of our community. The talents of many musicians, local, regional and international, have been showcased since the founding of the GNWCA in 2005.
It is the hard work and the vision of its founders and current board that provided the nucleus for the wide variety of performers we have been able to bring to the North Country.
What began as a “seed” concept at the North Country Summit held in May 2003, the GNWCA has now grown roots and continues to thrive thanks to its all-volunteer board of directors and the ever-growing interest of the community. Through associations with other performing arts venues around New England and Canada, the GNWCA has been able to bring world-class entertainment to our associated venues styles ranging from classical and bluegrass to Celtic, folk, jazz and World Music. Our headliners have included such top-draw performers as April Verch, Elizabeth Von Trapp, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Moya Brennan, Albannach and The Harp Twins. Our audiences for our concerts have come from across a wide radius of northern New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Quebec and have been a key part of helping the North Country gain its new identity as a new arts center.
We are fortunate to be developing a regional audience who share our love of the arts and look to the future with us. It is in broadening our efforts and reaching out to performers for their support that guides us to holding true to the founders of this organization’s mission that we will grow and flourish to provide a wide range of performing arts opportunities to the community. We are now working with our arts partners in the visual and theatrical arts fields to develop our new home at the former Our Lady of Grace Shrine in Columbia, N.H., as a multi-discipline arts campus, the Great North Wood Center for the Arts.
Charlie Jordan, President: is the editor and co-owner with his wife Donna of the Colebrook Chronicle. He has been a working journalist all his life. Charlie has had a long time appreciation for the arts and he plays the violin/fiddle, mandolin and cello. He is currently a member of the Celtic ensemble Islay Mist Ceilidh. He serves as President of the Great North Woods Center for the Arts. He has represented the board at international music showcases, annually serves as a U.S. judge for the East Coast Music Awards presented yearly in Canada and attends other music events and festivals seeking performers for consideration by the GNWCA.
Deb Sargent, Vice President: has been an Art Educator full time for over 25 years. She has been involved with the performing arts most of this time as a backstage person designing, building and moving sets. She actively supports the visual arts by exhibiting her own mandala work and serving on the gallery committee of the Connecticut River Artisans Group, of which she is a founding member. She also serves on the New Hampshire Art Educators board and the Currier Museum Educational Advisory Board.
Nancy Gray, Treasurer: With her husband Gordon and five children operated GrayMist Farm in Groveton for over 30 years. Before their retirement in 2011, GrayMist Farm was a busy 500 acre farm milking approximately 100 Holstein dairy cows, cropping 250 acres of alfalfa and corn, and growing about 10 acres of sweet corn and other vegetables. Now instead of herding cows, Nancy herds grandchildren, providing weekly child care for three of the Grays’ grandchildren. Before retiring from actively farming Nancy had been involved in several community organizations. She served several years as a board member on both the Northumberland School Board and Max York Educational Foundation and was vice president and secretary of Coӧs County Farm Bureau, as well as chair of the Associated Women’s committee and CCFB’s Scholarship committee. She also served as a 4-H leader in Coӧs County for over 20 years. Nancy has an interest in all kinds of music, from classical to Celtic, and makes an attempt to play the piano. Writing is her real passion however, and for several years she edited the monthly “Farm & Forest Pages” for the Coӧs County Democrat. She has self-published three books about her 45+ years of life as a dairy/vegetable farmer and is currently working on publishing books for children involving stories about her favorite animal, the dairy cow.
Thomas Jordan is a locally born journalist, musician, and producer. During the day, he works as the associate editor and videographer for the Colebrook Chronicle. By night, he records and produces original music, performing in a number of bands around the area. He provides live sound tech for GNWCA concerts and has represented the board at international music showcases. He plays the guitar, bass guitar and keyboard and is a member of the retro-rock group Rock On.
Gordon Gray recently retired from dairy farming after owning and operating GrayMist Farm in Groveton for 30 years with his wife Nancy and the five children they raised there. The farm has hosted many festivals, including the GrayMist Fiddlefest. He has volunteered on various town and school committees over the years and has been a board member of many local farm organizations. He has also served on county and state agricultural advisory boards. Early on, Gordon has had an interest in music; especially Bluegrass, Celtic and old-time fiddle music. He presently plays the fiddle in The Fireside Fiddlers.
Sandy Kamins and her husband Paul moved to Lancaster over 15 years ago where Paul joined a practice at Weeks Medical Center. Sandy found kindred souls in the local arts and culture community while encouraging her growing daughter to appreciate music and art. Sandy has continued to support the arts in the North Country and enjoyed countless wonderful concerts produced by the GNWCA. She loves Celtic music and is a member of the White Mountains Scottish Country Dancers. She is an oil and watercolor painter and her work can be viewed at the William Rugh Gallery in Lancaster.
Rachel O’Meara loves all the arts! A painter and printmaker, she currently exhibits her work at the William Rugh Gallery in Lancaster NH and at the LocalWorks Store and Gallery in Bethlehem, NH. Irish traditional music hooked her after seeing the band Altan in the 1980s, and she studies and enjoys playing Irish flute. Rachel is a member of the Connecticut River Artisans Group (CRAG), the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN), and also serves on her local Planning Board and Conservation Commission. She and her husband live in the hills above the beautiful Connecticut River, in Stratford.