Fountain Blues and Brews Festival Board Members
Fountain Blues Foundation uses its legacy to build a Board with strong community relationships and deep industry connections. The Board fundraises year-round and continues to add new Board Members who bring even more expertise and fundraising efforts to help get all booking, marketing and promotional efforts started sooner each year. All Board Members are willing and ready to leverage their networks and resources for the good of the Festival and have over 200 years of combined event production experience. They include:
Board and Festival Founder : 1981 – 2019
Ted has been the Director of the Festival since its inception in 1981 having booked such legends as John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Bo Diddley. The first 30 years were with the help of the Associated Students Program Board of San Jose State University (SJSU). Gehrke’s known as the “Elder Statesman of Blues” in the Bay Area, but his love for music history and diverse genres extends beyond the blues. With mostly OCA, NEA & AS backing, Gehrke created New Sounds SJ from 1978-81, which brought such musicians/composers as Phil Glass and Steve Reich in concert, participating in FREE discussions and master classes in San Jose. All of the FBF Board Members will tell you that the reason they are so passionate about keeping the blues alive, and volunteering on the Board, is due to the shared passion that Gehrke possesses and the legacy he has built.
Bob is a music industry veteran. He has been a musician for 5 decades, most notably with Syndicate of Sound, whose Nationally acclaimed 1965 hit “Little Girl” sealed them a record deal and place in Bay Area rock history as one of the first, successful “garage bands.” In addition to his duties as the Syndicate’s bass player and managing partner, he plays with a number of blues and rock bands in the Bay Area and fronts his own Bob Gonzalez Band. He also serves on the SVBS Board as their Treasurer, as well as Treasurer/Past President of Blossom Hill Homes Assoc. Inc. He manages the FBF budget and Festival band contracts, as well as liaison to Silicon Valley Blues Society and outreach to Bay Area blues musicians, promoters and media partners.
BONNIE MARGARET ROSS
Board Vice President & General Counsel
Bonnie is a litigator with the law firm of Messner Reeves, LLP. She incorporated Fountain Blues Foundation (FBF), authored the corporate governance documents, applied for non-profit status and helped put together the board of directors. Her 20+ years of experience in putting on numerous trials corresponds directly to putting on a successful annual festival. A tried-and-true live music fan, she plans her vacations around music festivals, and supported the FBF for years as a sponsor. As “The Bluesevangelist,” she curates and DJ’s the “Basement Full of Blues” radio and internet streaming program on KSCU 103.3. Her professional skills, commitment to the Downtown San Jose where she lives and works, and passion to see this festival continue to grow make her a key sponsorship solicitor, fundraiser, and volunteer recruiter for the organization.
As former SJSU Associated Students Program Board Director, Dan has worked with Gehrke to book the 2nd and 3rd Fountain Blues and Brews Festivals and has returned as a volunteer since 1983. He’s built a successful 26-year mortgage career and has been a cash sponsor of the Festival for years. A drummer, Dan has backed bands in the Bay Area since 1995, and frequents numerous festivals. Dan contributes by raising funds/sponsorships, and outreach to local schools and universities to increase youth participation in this longstanding community event
As a Contract Project Manager in Silicon Valley, Sherri is familiar with pulling and executing multiple projects together achieving excellent end results. As the former personal assistant to the Late Great Bluesman John Lee Hooker, Sherri’s love of the Blues is deeply personal. Having traveled with the Boogie man to festivals, she is familiar with how events are planned and operate on a large scale and promoting shows at smaller local venues. As his confidante Sherri has a deep understanding of how musicians work and relate to the public and their fans. Quoting John Lee “No one ever gave you an instruction booklet on how to be famous, am I a legend? I don’t know, I just play the blues.” As the Assistant Executive Director for the John Lee Hooker Foundation, Sherri is Realizing John Lee’s vision of providing funding music, art and education programs for underprivileged children in the San Francisco Bay Area. With guitars from Epiphone, and the assistance of John’s daughter Zakiya Hooker, they enjoy bringing his vision to life. Now a DJ with KSCU, Blues underground Radio, Sherri enjoys playing her beloved Blues tunes to a radio audience. With an end goal of keeping the Blues Alive.
Ned has been an operations leader and executive in the Silicon Valley High Tech industry for over 20 years. He brings years of operational experience in both business AND music to the Board. He has booked and managed corporate events at Hewlett-Packard, National Semiconductor, among others. He works on educational outreach, manages the ticketing and leads a weekly FBF music class to help teach the blues and mentor local musicians
Talent and Vendor Relations Manager
Jay is the founder of the Poor House Bistro. He received his degree from SJSU while working for various restaurants in the Bay Area, but blues music always held a special place in his heart. In 2005 he opened the Poor House Bistro, which serves New Orleans cuisine accompanied by live blues music almost every night of the week. Meduri has worked with Gehrke on the Festival since it’s early days at SJSU and holds multiple FBF fundraisers at the Bistro. He assists in talent bookings and caters food for the Festival, as well as manages and staffs all of the Festival’s beverage sponsor/vendor relationships
Booking and Vendor Management
Bruce has over 40 years of experience in performing arts management and festival production. He directed all programs at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga for 18 years, was performing arts director at Montalvo Arts Center for 12 years, has helped book Music in the Park (26 years) and FBF (13 years), and is the founder and festival director of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest (since 1990). His main duties with the FBBF are helping with artist bookings, securing craft and food vendors, and lending assistance in logistics and vendor management
Events and Promotions Manager
Amy has been the events and promotions manager at SJDA for 12 years, producing over 100 events annually, with high safety records. Prior to SJDA, she spent a combined 6 years with Live Nation and Bill Graham Presents concert promoters/producers. She began as a volunteer for – and fan of – the Festival, then later assumed the role as lead production manager when SJDA became the key fiscal partner 2011- 2013. She oversees all logistics for the Festival, including: coordinating the permits; managing vendors/contractors and sponsor fulfillment and set up and strike. She also assists with writing grants, trafficking ads with media partners and leveraging media/promotional partnerships
Stage Crew Manager
Dave is a Blues DJ for KSCU 103.3 and longtime Bay Area musician, who has also been a cash sponsor of the Festival for years. He recruits and manages the backstage crew at the Festival, and is key in helping with FBBF fundraisers, as well as outreach for FBBF’s numerous radio partners
Dan is founder of Orloff Marketing, founded in 1992 specializing in small- to medium-sized companies in non-tech B2B and B2C as well as nonprofit organizations. His clients contribute to the quality of life in Silicon Valley across a wide spectrum of industries. Music is in his DNA. Dan’s father was inducted into the Harmony Hall of Fame in Nashville. Dan’s cousin is Bob Dylan. Dan plays drums and guitar and sings harmonies in classic rock cover bands. He also founded San Jose Rocks and Bay Area Rocks – orgs whose mission celebrates our area’s unique role in rock and all forms of music and music technologies.