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Staff member
Mar 20, 2024
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Eastern Music Festival (EMF), a nationally recognized classical music festival and summer educational program announces the appointment of Bess Newton as the Director of Development and Mary Reading as the Director of Business Operations. The addition of these talented individuals to the leadership team will undoubtedly contribute to the continued growth and success of EMF.

Bess Newton, a seasoned fundraising professional and nonprofit executive, recently joined EMF as the Director of Development. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Bess embarked on a successful nonprofit career that has spanned two decades. Her experience includes serving as the lead staff liaison for donor-advised funds with the East Tennessee Foundation, bringing valuable insights and expertise in fund development back to her work with nonprofit organizations in North Carolina.

With a passion for creative endeavors and music education, Bess is well prepared to engage the community and partner with donors to elevate the mission of Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro and beyond. As a resident of Greensboro, NC, along with her wife and children, she enjoys walking in her neighborhood and on local trails, inventing new recipes, and wrangling their menagerie of dogs (and a cat). Bess is already immersing herself in the EMF community, drawing inspiration to dust off her childhood piano and cello from high school. Her focus will be working with individuals, businesses and corporations, and philanthropic organizations to further the mission of EMF.

Mary Reading, the newly appointed Director of Business Operations, is delighted to join the Eastern Music Festival team full-time after six fantastic summer seasons working with EMF patrons through Triad Stage. Mary brings a wealth of experience, having served as the Audience Services Manager at Triad Stage from July 2022 until its closure in August 2023. She looks forward to building on her relationships with EMF patrons as she establishes and manages EMF’s new in-house ticketing.

Holding an MFA in Performing Arts Management from UNC School of the Arts, Mary interned in both the Office of Advancement and the Office of Marketing & Communications. Mary is poised to contribute significantly to EMF’s operational excellence through her diverse background, including roles as a development assistant for workplace fundraising at the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, communications manager for Youth Opportunities, and Executive Director of the Piedmont Wind Symphony.

Originally from Sumter, SC, Mary has called the Triad home for 14 years. She currently resides in Walkertown with her husband, Coleman, and their pets, Grace the dog, and Odessa the cat.

“The team eagerly anticipates the invigorating energy and new perspectives that Bess and Mary will bring to the workplace. We’re enthusiastic about starting strong to guarantee another year of success in both educating and performing at EMF.” – Chris Williams, EMF Executive Director

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