Board of Directors

Gary Davis Headshot_200

Gary retired from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2011 as Professor of Music and Director of the Honors Program. He was appointed to the UNK faculty in 1990 as Director of Bands and Professor of Brass, teaching private lessons to major and minor low brass students and conducting the UNK Brass Quintet. In addition, he conducted the UNK “Pride of the Plains” Marching Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble and taught instrumental conducting. Dr. Davis served as Director of Bands from 1990 to 2004 and Director of the Honors Program from 2003 to his retirement. A native of Lincoln, NE, Gary received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Trumpet Performance degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received his Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of Iowa. Prior to his appointment at UNK, he was Director of Bands at Wayne State College (Wayne, NE), Schuyler Central High School (NE) and Instrumental/Vocal Director at Cedar Bluffs Public Schools (NE). Gary is a veteran serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1971-1974. After retiring, he joined the 1733 Barbershop Chorus, the barbershop quartet Patent Pending and the Platte River Singers Chorus. He has joined the Kearney Dobytown Kiwanis Club, Kearney Concert Association, Torch Club International, and was selected into the TeamMates Mentor Program. Most recently, Gary was appointed to the Fine and Performing Arts Small Learning Community Advisory Team for Kearney High School. He continues to conduct high school honor bands and adjudicate music festivals and contests. During his 37-year career as a music educator, he has conducted more than 330 honor bands in 13 states and three Canadian provinces. Gary and his wife Debby have been married for 45 years. They have two grown children and five grand children.

Ann Bauer Headshot_200A native Kansan, Ann has taught music for more than forty years throughout the Midwest. During her career, she directed choirs and musicals in Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, South Dakota and Nebraska. She is in demand as an accomplished accompanist, choral clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator in the Midwest. She finished her career teaching and directing the music program at Kearney High School in Nebraska. She has traveled extensively throughout the world with her choirs. Her experience includes over 50 years playing the organ and accompanying ensembles and soloists in countless churches. At the present time, she is the organist at Kearney First United Methodist Church. Ann holds degrees from Ft. Hays State University, Arizona State University and Kearney State College. Ann has also sung professionally with the Richard Dales Chorale. Ann is the 2014 recipient of the Celebration of Giving Volunteer Award for her service to Kearney. She is currently enjoying time with her 16 grandchildren and 5 children. In her spare time, she works for Tour Resource Consultants, is a substitute teacher, volunteer worker, and avid gardener and supporter of her husband, David, in his many endeavors.

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 Botsford Headshot_200Brian 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.

Bob Heiden Headshot_200

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.

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.

Kelly currently serves as the vice chancellor for enrollment management and marketing at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Prior to joining UNK in 2013, she worked in the Office of University Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as news director, senior news writer, and national news editor. She also served as director of national news for the Office of the Vice President for External Affairs. Before joining the staff at UNL, she was managing editor for the York News-Times, news editor for the Kearney Hub and a reporter for the Lincoln Star and Beatrice Daily Sun. A native of York, Nebraska, Kelly attended Kearney State College as a first-generation college student before completing a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism at UNL. She also holds a Master of Arts in marketing, communication and advertising from the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications and has taught courses at UNK, UNL and Nebraska Wesleyan University in marketing, public relations, social media, media relations and crisis communication.

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.

Loralea Frank Headshot_200Loralea Frank was born and raised in Ainsworth, Nebraska. After graduating high school from Ainsworth, she went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2003. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 2006, where she was the Managing Editor of the South Dakota Law Review and a member of the South Dakota School of Law Trial Team. In 2006, Loralea moved to Kearney with her husband, Mark. In 2011, she formed a law firm, now called Bruner Frank. Loralea specializes in Family Law litigation. Loralea and her husband, Mark have three children. Loralea has served on numerous boards and committees in the Kearney community, including the SAFE Center, Kearney Area Children’s Museum, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee, Make A Wish, and Leadership Kearney. As a female leader in business and law, Loralea speaks to young women and serves charitable causes to advance women’s issues.

Luis is the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). He was born in Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico, but considers Schuyler, Nebraska home. Olivas obtained his associate’s degree from Central Community College in Columbus, his bachelor’s degree in Education and Ethnic Studies from UNK and is expecting to graduate in 2022 with a master’s degree in integrated media communications and marketing from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. His interests range from working with non-profit organizations that focus on equitable access to education and volunteering at citizenship and immigration clinics in the Tri-City area. He was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska State Education Association in 2019. Olivas has been an active contributor for Buzzfeed News, Univision, Fox News, Telemundo and NPR. Luis and wife, Ashley have called Kearney home since 2014.

Matt was born in Fort Collins, CO and grew up in Boulder, CO.  He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for his undergraduate degree and the University of Colorado School of Medicine for his Medical Doctorate.  While there, he obtained the Doctoring Award for demonstrating compassion, humanity, and respect of personhood in medicine.  He then moved to Omaha for his surgical training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  He is a board certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon and moved to Kearney to join ENT Physicians of Kearney in 2016 where he also directs the rural training of UNMC otolaryngology residents full time.  Matt’s first job as a teenager was bussing tables at the Boulder Dinner Theater in Boulder, CO before working up to bartending, serving and work as a backstage tech as well as with lighting and sound.  He fell in love with live musical theater there, but it wasn’t until he and his wife Emily hosted Crane River Theater at their property Mountain Rose Ranch for Of Mice and Men that he reconnected with his previous enjoyment of and passion for live theater.  Matt enjoys time with his wife and two children, experimenting as an amateur chef, dirt biking, and woodworking.

Michael “Del” recently started his 6th year as a Senior Lecturer in Lighting Design and Stage Management at the University of Nebraska Kearney. A North Carolina native, he attended UNC-Asheville for his undergraduate degree and received his MFA in Theatre Design and Production from the University of Memphis. Del spent several years in Memphis as a freelance designer and stage manager before he returned to North Carolina, joining the faculty of Western Carolina University. He taught lighting, stage management, and sound for eight years, while also serving as the Technical Director for the Bardo Performing Arts Center. Previous designs for Crane River include Footloose, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and RED. 

Steve Lewis Headshot_200Stephen 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.