Artistic Leaders

Dr. Alan Stevens

Dr. Alan Stevens was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus in June of 2015. Under his direction the chorus has grown in active membership, the number of performances has significantly increased, and he has created two small ensembles. Alan led the chorus to its first appearance at the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) Festival of Choruses in July of 2016, and he will return with KGMC to present a featured hour-long “Coffee Concert” at GALA Festival 2021 in Minneapolis. Most importantly, he has helped the chorus increase its commitment to outreach concerts and events that directly support other local and regional nonprofit organizations. 

Alan is also an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University, where he is the Co-Director of Choral Activities. He conducts the BucsWorth Tenor Bass Choir and Greyscale, an a cappella jazz/pop ensemble. BucsWorth has received numerous awards and frequently performs throughout the region. Greyscale has released four studio albums, all available on major digital music distributors. Alan’s university choirs have collaborated with Alice Parker, Ola Gjeilo, Daniel Gawthrop, Chanticleer, The Swingles, New York Voices, Deke Sharon, Ben Bram, and many local composers and performing groups. Alan is a contributing author to volume four of Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir, and a contributing author to Conducting Men’s Choirs. In 2017 he was selected by the American Choral Directors Association as an International Conductors Exchange fellow and traveled to Brazil to guest conduct at the renowned Conservatório de Tatuí. He returned on invitation in 2018 for a week-long residency. In June of 2019 he conducted and presented at the International Forum on American Choral Music in San Juan, Argentina. 

 

2020 Board of Directors

Bleu Copas - President

I have decided to return to the KGMC Board because I have a passion for the advocacy and activism involved with KGMC’s mission. I feel my past experiences have prepared me to be an asset to this team. I want to lead when able. I want to find creative ways to make KGMC more financially stable and explore ways to engage our past, current and potential donors. I want the community to feel more of an ownership of their Chorus, and that it belongs to them, and that they care if it thrives. I want to find ways to develop partnerships with communities and settings we haven’t been able to reach yet, particularly in educational settings and communities of color. I want to help KGMC be more responsible in our commitment to marginalized communities.

Bethany Love - Vice President

Bethany Love is an East Tennessee native who loves the mountains, people, cultures, and art of this region.  She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelors in Psychology and from the University of Denver with a masters degree in Clinical Social Work.  She is currently a therapist at Veterans Affairs, specializing in therapy and case management for those experiencing severe mental illness, PTSD, suicidality, and other challenges.  This is Bethany’s second term serving on the board of KGMC.  She lives in rural Blount County with her husband, two sons, two poodles, and various critters and wildlife.

 

Joe Jackson- Treasurer

Joe is a Charter Member and a Past President of the KGMC.  He has been a resident of Knoxville since his days of study at “THE” University of Tennessee. Through the years Joe has served and presided over many area non-profit organizations in East Tennessee.  He and his husband Kelly (27 years strong) have a seven-year-old son/Welsh Terrier named Storm.  Each Monday – Friday he can be found as the Human Resources Director for several Knoxville automotive dealerships.  

Joe returned to the KGMC Board in 2019 as the Treasure, a role in which he first served at the founding of the chorus in 2012.  Joe states: “I have witnessed the growth of this chorus in many ways and want to do my part to make sure that continues so that others will have that safe place, feel connected and most of all loved.”

Joe’s mantra is  “telling our stories through song.”

Ben Nicholas- Secretary

Ben has been with KGMC as a singing member since August 2018 and has served the organization in various roles including previously as Operations Committee chairman and currently as Board secretary. As a Knoxville native, Ben is passionate about community building and organizing in our little city- specifically engaged in disability access and LGBT+ advocacy. By day, he is a transportation engineer and by night he is a mountain biker, kayaker, and devoted dog dad to two perfect rescue pitties.

Eric Hill- Operations Committee Chairperson

Eric is a native of Walland, TN, but recently moved into his first home in East Knoxville. Music has always been a passion for Eric. After graduating high school, he attended Maryville College where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. Immediately after receiving his Bachelor of Music, Eric was accepted into the Master of Music in Choral Conducting program at the University of Tennessee where he studied under Dr. Angie Batey. While studying at the University of Tennessee, Eric had the pleasure of traveling abroad singing choral evensong at Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. After grad school, he entered the financial industry and is currently working for First Horizon Bank. 
In his spare time, Eric loves to travel as well as spend time with his six nieces and nephews. This is the third season Eric has sung with KGMC. He is currently the Operations Committee Chairperson as well as a Tenor 2 section leader. 

Keith Kirkland

Originally from Conyers, GA, Keith Kirkland first moved to Knoxville in 2002 to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in Lighting Design at the University of Tennessee.  Nationally recognized as a lighting designer in 2005 by the United States Institute for Technical Theatre for his body of work, Keith has designed more than 150 shows including 3 with KGMC.  As Production and then General Manager for the Clarence Brown Theatre from 2007-2014, Keith became heavily involved in both Knoxville’s performing arts–working with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Opera Company, and the Actor’s Co-Op among others–but also in UT’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusion–serving as the Chair of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People in 2012-2013.  Returning to Knoxville in 2018 after following his husband to pursue a PhD, Keith now works as a Construction Manager for the Public Building Authority and joined the KGMC Board of Directors in July 2018.

Greg Webb

I joined the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus in the fall of 2017 as a singing member, and have remained a member ever since. The chorus has made a radically positive difference in my life. It has provided a ‘chosen family’ of wonderful people whom I love and depend on. Beyond that, though, I feel that we serve as a beacon of light, inclusivity, and positive representation in our community. Ultimately, that is the most important part of this group, for me, and I am honored to be able to serve the organization in a new way as a member of the board.
 

Young Kim

Young Kim joined the KGMC Board because she loves music and supporting the LGBTQ+ community in any way she can! She is an Assistant Professor of Music at Lincoln Memorial University and also teaches aerial silks classes at Dragonfly Aerial & Circus Arts Studio. She and her husband, Shelby, enjoy living in Knoxville and are smitten with their cat, Sycamore. 

Wade McGarity

Wade began singing with the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus in the spring of 2019, and joined the board of directors that summer. His love for singing and community make KGMC an integral part of his life, as are the friendships that he has made in his short time with the chorus. He truly believes music is a gateway to the soul and can bring people together under any circumstance, and KGMC is the perfect place to provide that to our community.

Karyn Storts-Brinks

Born and raised in Michigan, Karyn Storts-Brinks has now been an East Tennessean for nearly half her life, and is proud of her accomplishments in Knoxville, including serving as a librarian at Fulton High School for twelve and a half years, starting and sponsoring the first Gay Straight Alliance at that school, and fighting censorship of LGBTQIA resources in her service to students and colleagues at Fulton and beyond. 
 
A variety of roles in the community have resulted in a broad and exemplary network of humans with whom Karyn is honored and delighted to engage, and this opportunity to serve KGMC is one of many gifts that have emerged from this network. Currently serving as a Customer Service Representative for CVS, Karyn enjoys reading, drinking on patios, consuming a variety of media, and spending time in the company of her perfect canine housemates.

Jaime Combs

Jaime Combs currently resides in Blount County after recently returning home from living in the Nashville area with her wife, a Papillon, and a parrot. She was the first openly transgender woman to serve as Regional Director for PFLAG. Jaime also has served as a board member for Nashville Pride and as part of Vanderbilt’s Center for Transgender Health. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Connectus Health. Jaime is currently studying at Tennessee School of Beauty to receive her instructor’s license. She was part of a documentary about trans healthcare in rural areas, “Climbing Every Mountain”, a project by Transilient.
 

Jeff Jarnigan

Jeff grew up in East Tennessee and after a 30 year hiatus returned to live in Knoxville. Prior to joining KGMC in January 2018, he sang with two other LGBTQ+ choruses: Triad Pride Men’s Chorus of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, NC and Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Music has always been a part of Jeff’s life and he is his happiest when singing as his true self. 
 
When he’s not spending time with his KGMC family, Jeff is a National Director for a Top 15 Seniors Housing Company. His work includes involvement with two company-based LGBTQ+ initiatives, SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders and the Systemic Inequities Commission. SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders is tasked with teaching LGBTQ sensitivity training to community-based leadership and frontline team members; Jeff leads a training champion task force coordinating and providing training with the goal of creating inclusive communities for all. The Systemic Inequities Commission works to incorporate the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the organization for their resident population, associate population, and company leadership. 
 

Dan Rojas

Dan, a transplant to East Tennessee for the past twelve years, originally hails from the state of Nebraska. Dan and his partner Jeffery, an East Tennessee native and professional musician, enjoy music and performance throughout the region. When they’re not catching a show, the “middle-aged” men enjoy traveling, working on their green thumbs, and taking care of their chickens, bees, and dogs. Dan’s passion for the arts has led him to contribute his time to the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus as a singer and Board member. 

Brent Leach

Brent is from Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his undergraduate degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Brent obtained a M.Ed. in counseling from East Tennessee State University as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Brent currently teaches psychology courses for the College of Education at ETSU.

Brent has performed with numerous choirs and productions throughout the years, most notably with Appalachian Men’s Ensemble (AMEN). Brent has thoroughly enjoyed attending the last 8 years of KGMC performances and is now thrilled to be a part of the chorus singing and serving on the Board of Directors.

Brent enjoys spending time with his three sons and anything outdoors, as well as anything related to musical performance or theatre. Go BUCS!

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