Board of Directors
Lois and her husband Todd own and operate Kearney Floral Company in Kearney. She has a degree in music education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and has been performing professionally as a vocalist in the jazz group Thalken, Tesdall & Thalken, for more than twenty years. She has been involved in countless area arts organizations including the Kearney Area Arts Council (executive director, board member), Nebraska Arts Council (artist’s review panels), and Kearney Community Theatre (numerous productions as a performer and/or musical director). Some of her other past volunteer efforts include Kearney Public Library Foundation, Kearney Public Schools Foundation, Kearney Community Concert Association, Frank House, Museum of Nebraska Art, and a season judge for UNK theatre productions.
Kathy was born and raised in Kearney. Throughout her education, she was involved in the performing arts. Singing or acting, she credits these early experiences in building her sense of the world and her self-confidence. After graduating from Kearney High School in 1992, she attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Even as a Biology major, Kathy found time to act and stage manage in a couple productions. After receiving a B.S. in Natural Science, she moved to Los Angeles and married her high school sweetheart. While in LA, Kathy received a Masters of Education from Pepperdine University. She taught Middle School Science at Burbank Unified School District until the birth of her son. Her family, including her son Jackson, daughter Eleanor, and husband Jon have split their time between Kearney and Los Angeles. Currently in Kearney, Kathy is excited to be able to contribute her time and efforts in support of Crane River Theater.
Julie is currently the publisher of the Kearney Hub, the daily newspaper serving Kearney and surrounding communities. She joined the Kearney Hub shortly after graduating from Kearney State College in 1978 and has served the newspaper as its advertising director, general manager and, since 2012, as its publisher. She also served as publisher of the Columbus Telegram from 1995-2000. Her career in journalism has included many leadership positions on the state level with the Nebraska Press Association. She has been a board member of the Kearney and Columbus Chambers of Commerce, Buffalo County Community Partners, Kearney Housing Authority, Kearney Area United Way, Kearney Arts Council, Kearney Family YMCA, CHI Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation and the Kearney Area Community Foundation. In 2015, she was named a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Julie and her husband Dan live in Kearney and plan to remain active as volunteers in the community.
Brian is a 1995 graduate of Kearney High School and a 2000 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. After 11 years as the vocal music instructor and assistant instrumental music instructor at Bishop Neumann High School, he is now the 6-12 vocal music instructor at Lexington Public Schools. Brian has been an active performer in the Lincoln and Omaha area, participating in groups such as the Omaha Symphonic Chorus, Lincoln Community Concert Band, Lincoln Civic Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church of Wahoo as well as solo music performances. Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Brian has served as the Musical Director for the last three summers for Crane River Theater.
A Kearney native, Bob graduated from Kearney High School in 2002. With a passion for the fine arts, he started out performing in musicals at the high school and community theatre level where he discovered his niche: designing, building and painting scenery. He earned a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Technical Theater from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Bob has designed and painted sets for many local organizations including Zion Lutheran Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Kearney Community Theatre. He has served in multiple design capacities with Crane River Theater during the last five seasons. When he’s not painting, Bob channels his creativity as the Creative Production Manager at The Buckle, Inc. where he manages the graphic design team for online marketing.
Bryce Jensen was born and raised in Kearney and has kept live theatre a part of his life since his start at Kearney High School. He received his undergraduate degree in performance from UNK and received his Masters in Media Arts and Drama from the University of Montana. After grad school, he returned to Kearney, where he continued his passion for performing by being a regular actor in Crane River productions. He was formerly the Executive Director of The World Theatre and is currently the Media Producer for Central Community College. He is also a co-owner of Buffalo Records in downtown Kearney and has previously served on the Kearney Downtown Improvement Board. Bryce is excited to serve on the CRT board and looks forward to helping keep Crane River Theater a vibrant part of the Kearney community.
A native of Wayne, Nebraska, Emily graduated with her Bachelors in K-12 Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2008. After graduation, she began teaching general elementary music for Grand Island Public Schools. During her time with GIPS, she began working on her Master’s of Music in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln which she graduated with in 2012. While in Grand Island, Emily directed the Grand Island Public Schools Fifth Grade Honor Choir, and made presentations on music and literacy at both the Nebraska State Reading Conference as well as at Wayne State College. In 2017, she began teaching for Kearney Public Schools at Northeast Elementary. Emily was recently elected the Director of Elementary/General Music Affairs for the Nebraska Music Education Association. In her spare time, she gives piano lessons, plays and sings for her local church, participates in local theater, and sings with the Platte River Singers. Emily also stays busy with her six-year-old son Jaxon.
Stephen received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University-Sacramento with a double major in Theatre (Acting/Directing & Design/Lighting/Tech -1972). He worked on a Masters in scenic design at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, but switched and graduated with an MBA from UNL in 1984. At the College of Business Administration, he was a teaching assistant and awarded two fellowships. He spent 14 years as a broadcast professional and 14 years in not-for-profit management, education and development including responsibility for a seven state area for American Red Cross. Stephen is the past President of the Kearney Concert Association and Treasurer of the Zion Lutheran School Foundation. Stephen has over 110 theater production program credits. Born in Kearney, he has lived in California, Hawaii, Missouri, Texas and four years in Japan, but upon reaching 51, he chose to retire early and return to his hometown of Kearney and became a professional volunteer.
Susan has a Major in Sociology with minors in Art and Business at UNK – formerly Kearney State College. Currently Owner/President of Horizon Designs Inc. formerly USA manufacturing now primarily offshore manufacturing of private label and custom products for a diverse customer base: Entertainment Retail, Chain Store and Specialty Store Retail, Agriculture supplies and Hardware Supplies. Susan has served on a wide range of Boards over the years, most recently Kearney Area Community Foundation; Himanchal Education Foundation (Current); Kearney Community Concert Association (Current); Ambassador with AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association (Current); National E-Free Church Board of Directors (Past); Kearney Dawn Rotary Club. Chair and co-chairs for 3 Cranes on Parage Public Art Projects. In addition to management rolls at Horizon Designs Susan has years of experience in Manufacturing processes, product design, graphic design, and project management. Currently has two Granddaughter living with me keeping me busy. Love to travel and love to serve in our community.
Susan is very excited and honored to become an active board member for Crane River Theater! She was involved with theater and musicals in high school growing up in Kimball, NE. Susan graduated from Kearney State college (UNK) with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Life Sciences and made Kearney home ever since then. Since 1997, she has been a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Town & Country Realty of Kearney, earning her GRI (Graduate of Residential Institute), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), and CBR (Certified Buyer Representative). She is also a member of the National Association of Realtors and Buffalo County Board of Realtors. Susan is an active member of Envoys of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Gold Torch Mentoring Society at UNK, Gamma Phi Beta Alumnae group, and PEO, Chapter EG. She’s a lover of the arts and appreciates, admires and applauds performers for their hard work and creativity.