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Joe Sferra

Board of Directors, President

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Joe Sferra is a musician from Ohio living on Long Island. While a grad student at Stony Brook University, he had the pleasure of working with Buddy Merriam as a clarinetist and vocalist in The Deep Roots Ensemble.

Taylor Ackley

Board Member, Vice President


Taylor is a scholar, composer and performer of American Roots music. His research works to understand and analyze American Folk and Roots music as art grounded in the experiences of poor and working-class people. He has presented papers at a number of conferences and panels including the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Northwestern Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology and is also in demand as a guest lecturer at colleges and public institutions. He has recently given talks at Vassar College, California State University Stanislaus, and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He is published by the MIT Press in Between the Tracks. As a composer, Taylor has been commissioned by a number of soloists, chamber ensembles, choirs and jazz bands. His music has been featured in festivals throughout the United States as well as Denmark and China.

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Buddy Merriam

Board Member

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Buddy Merriam was struck by lightning at his First Bluegrass Festival shortly after seeing Bill Monroe perform. He lived to tell the story and became close friends with the Father of Bluegrass music and he got to learn and perform with him.

     Buddy formed his band, Back Roads in 1980 and has performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the Grand Opening of the Bluegrass Museum and Hall Of Fame, Country Music's Fan Fair in Nashville, Northeast Bluegrass Festivals including Grey Fox & Podunk, International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass Show in Owensboro, KY, Fan Fest in Louisville, KY and at too many Long Island venues to list.

He also had a successful tour of Ireland, Scotland & England. 


Buddy has been featured in Mandolin Magazine, Bluegrass Unlimited, CMT's "Bluegrass Sound", Flatpicking Magazine,

WKET TV, PBS "Jubilee", PBS "Farming the Future" and several independent films. 

On Sept. 19, 2015 he was honored to receive the "Long Island Sound Award" from the LI Music Hall of Fame "For Outstanding Contributions to Long Island's Musical Heritage."  

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Kathy DeVine

Board of Directors, Secretary

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Kathy, a founding member of the MHA, musician(guitar) and vocalist, lends her skills to the MHA with her experience in local business operations and management for over 30 years.  Kathy is vice president of her Local School districts music education funding organization,  Rocky Point Friends of Music for the past 4 years. 

Preserving literary history, she works with the Port Jefferson Arts Council as a Street character in Its yearly award-winning Charles Dickens Festival and recently, volunteers as a docent at The Historic Lester Davis Meeting House in Coram, NY keeping local early American history alive through costume and music performance.   Kathy's passion, as she would say, is to " make things happen". She used these talents and experience to help get MHA off and running, and she takes pride in continuing her support in MHA"s mission and vision to preserve and promote original mandolin composition. 

Bill Slovin

Board Member, Treasurer

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Beginning in November 2021 Mr. Bill Slovin serves on our Advisory Board.  Bill is a member and on the Board of Directors for The Long Island Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra (LIMAGO) which began in 1957.  During its history LIMAGO has played for tens of thousands of appreciative music lovers. The orchestra is composed of mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, string bass, drums, accordion and vocalists. 


Bill also sits on the board for the COPE Foundation which is a not for profit grief and healing organization based on Long Island.  We are appreciative to have Bill on board with us due to his diverse abilities and experience serving with non profits for over 15 years. 

Bill also plays mandolin with the band Squid and the Wave Chasers based in Patchogue, NY.

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Greg Butler

Board Member

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Meet Greg Butler, a dedicated public-school educator with 22 years of experience teaching music on the East End of Long Island. Beyond the classroom, Greg has been playing mandolin for over two decades. He is a key member of two bands, “The Brother Pluckers” and “Free Grass Union,” who regularly perform throughout New York. Greg’s musical journey extends to his recent solo album, “Leaving the Cave,” where he showcases his versatility by playing all instruments himself. With a profound understanding and appreciation of various music styles, Greg elevates improvisation both on stage and in the classroom. 

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John Monteleone

Honorary Board Member

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We were honored to welcome Mr. John Monteleone as MHA's first Honorary Board member in December 2021. 


Recognized as being one of the finest living archtop guitar and mandolin makers in the world today, John Monteleone has been at the forefront of innovative cutting-edge archtop instrument making for many years. His uniquely designed instruments are the essence of artistic expression, reflected in the subtle but challenging marriage of form and function.

John Monteleone has been pushing the luthiery envelope for more than forty years with his refreshing passion for new and elegant designs. Producing instruments of great tonal expression is also one of Monteleone’s missions in life.

A dedication to the refined harmonic balances of tone and playability is always the central nucleus of structural foundation around which he often introduces the more interesting design accents and playful nature of his original and beautiful works. Although Monteleone offers a line of standard high-end instruments he is also well known for his

one-of-a-kind extravagantly individualized and prized custom works of playable musical art.

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Allan Varela

Advisory Board

Amy Tuttle

Advisory Board

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Chairman of the Board for Greater Port Jefferson Arts/Northern Brookhaven

Program Director for

Greater Port Jefferson

Arts Council

Since 1986, GPJAC has served the entire Northern Brookhaven area of Long Island from the North Shore down to the Long Island Expressway, a community of approximately 230,000 people consisting of all age, socio-economic and racial groups. We provide support for artistic activity embodying music, film, visual arts, and all educational and cultural endeavors as they relate to the arts. This mission is accomplished by coordinating our efforts with arts organizations, artists, local municipalities, schools, art galleries, libraries, theaters, and other such organizations that share our common goal. Most importantly, we do this for you! Our friends, our neighbors, our community!

Active programs and services include producing the Charles Dickens Festival for the Village of Port Jefferson; the Port Jefferson Documentary Series voted Best of Long Island for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.


For more info visit: 

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