Steve Warrenfeltz (Kiss The Sky) – Executive Director
Steve was born in Salzburg, Austria to US Military parents, and before the age of 16, lived in Munich, Frankfurt (Germany), Maryland, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, Minneapolis and Chicago.
In 1977, Steve’s career took him to Old World Trading where he served as the company’s controller.While there, Steve held the positions of CFO, vice president of operations, president and CEO and became a minority owner before reaching the age of 35.
A life long dream of owning his own retail music business came to fruition when Steve opened Kiss The Sky in 1996 . He looks forward to celebrating his 20th anniversary with KTS at the end of 2016.
The interest in music began around age 5 when Steve’s mother introduced him to Elvis, Bo Diddley and Little Richard while his father was encouraging him to listen to Hank Williams, Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold. He took accordion lessons from age 7 until 14, but The Beatles and The Kinks led him to abandon the accordion for a guitar. Seeing Jimi Hendrix and Cream live while he was 16 confirmed he made a good choice. Meeting Muddy Waters at age 18 ensured he would never look back.
He currently resides in Aurora and has three children of whom he is very proud.
Gina Moga (City of Aurora) – Vice Chairperson
Gina Moga is a life-long Aurora resident and graduate of East Aurora High School. She began working for the City of Aurora in 1998, at which time was assigned to develop a festival that would bring people back to the downtown. Downtown Alive premiered the summer of 1999. In 2006 she was appointed Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events which oversaw approximately eighteen major city sponsored events. Those included Blues on the Fox, Downtown Alive, Fall Festival, Holiday Magic and the Farmers’ Markets, as well as the Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Independence Day Parades and fireworks display, in addition to overseeing the programs sponsored by the African American Heritage and Hispanic Heritage advisory boards and the Neighborhood Festival Funding Grant Program.
She has been chair of the Blues on the Fox planning committee as well as a founding member of the Fox Valley Music Foundation. For the three years she took a break from events to assist with the construction of RiverEdge Park as one of the City’s project managers. She moved back to Special Events in October of 2013.
Gina serves as the Vice Chair of the board for the Aurora Civic Center Authority which runs the Paramount Theater and RiverEdge Park. She was on the board of the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2004 through 2014. She was also previously on the board of the Illinois Special Event Network and the advisory board of the Adult Literacy Project for Waubonsee Community College. She is a Board member of the Cultural Creatives, Inc.
Gina is married to Zack Moga, together they have three grown children, Daniel, Alexandra and Andrea and one granddaughter, Ava.
Karen Christensen – Secretary
Karen Fullett-Christensen was born and raised in Chicago, where she learned to play acoustic guitar and piano. A magna cum laude graduate of Northern Illinois University and retired urban planner, she sings with the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, which performed at Carnegie Hall in 2013 and at Lincoln Center in 2015. The group plans to tour Italy in 2017, with a performance scheduled at the Vatican in Rome.
She has written several collections of poetry and creative non-fiction. Her work has been included in the SNReview, the Downtown Auroran magazine, and a variety of religious/spiritual publications.
Karen’s volunteer activities include tutoring at the Dominican Literacy Center and serving on the Board of Waubonsee Community College’s Lifelong Learning Institute, the Aurora Jewish Renewal Congregation, and the Cultural Creatives, Inc. She leads a local book club (Books and Bread) and A-Town Poetics, an Aurora-based writers’ group.
Melissa Mercado – Treasurer
Melissa loves being involved in her community. She is a treasurer of the Fox Valley Music Foundation and involved with the Blues on the Fox Committee, the group that is instrumental in producing the annual two-day Blues Festival in downtown Aurora. She is a member of the Aurora Downtown Board, an organization of property owners who work cooperatively with the City of Aurora to implement projects funded by a Special Service Area tax, underwriting a variety of downtown improvements and enhancements, and sponsoring events like First Fridays and Winter Lights which she co-founded and co-chairs. She is the president of Cultural Creatives, Inc., a group responsible for putting on the Aurora ArtWalks and volunteers at Hesed House homeless shelter through Annunciation Church.
In addition to volunteer work, Melissa owns and operates Loco Logos Graphic Design and Consulting out of her home in North Aurora where she resides with her husband Claudio. Melissa has two grown daughters Gabriella & Amalia. She enjoys traveling, music, reading and creating things.
Dave Glynn (Blues On Stage) – Board Member
Dave Glynn is a local singer/songwriter and band leader of the Empty Can Band. Since Dave’s professional debut at the Earl of Old Town in 1976, Dave has been performing professionally in the Chicago area. Dave has recorded five albums over the years with various projects and recently contributed songs and performances to the local Made in Aurora projects. Dave has been the emcee and committee member for the Blues on the Fox Festival since 1999.
For his day job, Dave is an executive at a privately-owned Chicago-based legal publishing and software company. Dave is also active in the community as a board member of Hesed House, a homeless shelter and resource center in Aurora, IL. Dave is currently a resident of Sugar Grove, Illinois.
Kevin Drendel (Drendel & Jansons Law Group) – Board Member
Kevin G. Drendel is a lifelong Fox Valley resident. An attorney who loves music and cannot say no to a good cause, he offered to help the Fox Valley Music Foundation with the legal aspects of non-profit, charitable status while browsing music at Kiss the Sky and found himself shortly thereafter on the Board. Being a Blues enthusiast and avid Blues on the Fox participant is his only other qualification. A lack of musical prowess is made up in the appreciation of anyone with a modicum of musical talent. He is a 1982 graduate from Cornell College (cum laude) with a hard earned but impractical degree in English Literature. After six years of enjoying the rustic paradise of New Hampshire, he reluctantly returned to the Fox Valley area in pursuit of a law degree with a wife and two sons.
Kevin is a 1991 graduate of Northern Illinois University College of Law (magna cum laude) where that English Literature degree helped earn Law Review status, publication in the University’s scholarly journal (NIU Law Review 73, 1990) and receipt of the West Publishing Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement. Kevin is the managing shareholder of Drendel & Jansons Law Group in Batavia where he focuses on municipal, business and estate planning law when he is not appreciating music or serving in other volunteer capacities.
Current and past efforts include President of the Kane County Bar Association, member of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce Board, Fox Valley Estate Planning Council, Illinois Municipal League member and many other things. His children have decidedly not followed in his footsteps, taking up guitar, ukulele, keyboards and harmonica and writing their own songs. He is proud to say that most of his children do appreciate classic rock and blues, but they have led him down the rabbit hole of modern folksy, blue grassy, indie, and local music.
Jeannie Norris is a teacher, film enthusiast, and music lover. She is married to Jamie Norris, mother to Liam and Madeleine, and grandmother to MacKenzie. She hails from the South Side of Chicago but has called Aurora home for over three decades. A graduate of Northern Illinois University and former instructor at various local elementary schools and SciTech, she knows how to make technical concepts come to life, and is a fountain of creative energy. She is currently on the staff of People for Childcare, an after-school program for Aurora elementary students.
Jeannie founded Aurora’s popular Louche Puce Market and was instrumental in the creation, formation and operation of the nonprofit bookstore, Culture Stock, located in downtown Aurora. She was a key player in the success of Aurora’s Art Walk, which has evolved into First Fridays. She initiated the City Cineastes, a local film society, and continues to serve on the Board of the Cultural Creatives, Inc.
Jeannie is committed to promoting and improving of the cultural/arts scene in Aurora and the greater Fox River Valley region. Her experience, heart and desire are unquestioned. All combine to make her an important part of the Fox Valley Music Foundation team. She is celebrated for her love of the arts and her generous capacity for friendship. Undoubtedly, she is a magnet and inspiration for others who share her enthusiasm for cultural experiences and connections.