Jeff Thompson was born in Melbourne, Florida and is well-educated from both the school of life and from college. Professionally, he spent the past 20 years working in libraries and has served as the Brevard County Library Services Director since 2012.
Jeff is also a filmmaker, having created The Florida Suite (2013), and is working on “TUES. Night,” a film that explores the nature of creativity, art and performance.
As an enthusiast of nature, art and history, Jeff, along with wife Joyce Wilden, enjoys hiking and exploring Florida’s out-of-the-way places. The active couple are also German language students who enjoy traveling to Europe and are passionate supporters of the arts.
“I am a native Floridian, and the landscape – thickets of palmettos, cumulous-clouded skies, sandy soil, heat, insects, and rows of citrus—has a savage and arresting beauty that has mesmerized me from my earliest memories and remains a constant inspiration. I’m fascinated, too, by the people living under the Sable Palms of Brevard.
Every subject of art has its appropriate expression, and Florida is a dreamland, best expressed in paint, photography and film. Though I have studied all three media, I work in film because only film allows the artist to create a dream state and to express the subtle beauty of this place.” Please visit www.FloridaSuite.com for more information.
Chris Kahl is a native of Brevard County and presents a music and storytelling program titled, “A Musical Journey Through Florida.” His presentation consists of original songs and stories highlighting the state’s history. He performs statewide, and his programs have been sponsored by the Florida State Touring Roster, Florida Humanities Council Road Scholar program, Florida Historical Society and Stetson University’s Continuing Education Program.
He also works in schools presenting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs to teach students scientific and mathematical concepts through music. These programs consist of activities that demonstrate scientific concepts relating to music by constructing and playing different instruments. The hands-on arts integrated lessons are designed to motivate students to learn while developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. His school programs have been sponsored by the Brevard Cultural Alliance, United Arts of Central Florida, and VSA Florida.
Trained at the Juilliard School, percussionist Brian Slawson has appeared on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” and “Entertainment Tonight,” the “CBS Morning News,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His smash Grammy-nominated debut recording, Bach On Wood (Sony/CBS Masterworks), remains a favorite for exposing new audiences to classical music. Brian’s compositions and arrangements are published by Alfred Music, the world’s leading print music publisher.
In addition to performing with a diverse list of icons including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Joshua Bell, Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Bill Maher, Marie Osmond and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slawson has performed on hundreds of national TV and radio commercials including American Express, Budweiser, Exxon/Mobil, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, IBM and NABISCO. He also produced the popular “Gotta Go To Gatto’s” jingle.
He is the accessory percussionist and voice of “Gusto the Bulldog” in Warner Bros. Music Expressions curriculum and a featured artist in McGraw-Hill’s, Spotlight on Music. Brian’s multimedia company, Slawsongs, has won Golden Reel, Addy and Tele custom music awards for feature film, television and radio. In addition to serving as Principal Timpanist of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Brian is a featured performer at Lincoln Center’s, Meet the Artist Series.
Legendary vibraphonist, Lionel Hampton, described Brian Slawson as “one of the finest percussionists to come along in many years.” Modern Drummer magazine hails Brian as “a visionary, be it performer, producer or composer.”