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Meet the Board 

Click the names in green to read more about each board member. Additional profiles can be viewed below.

Penny Hillemann: President

Brett Day: Vice President

Jim Franczyk

Edie Loy

Dale Gruber (see below)

George Rothenberger: Secretary / Treasurer

Jason Juran (see below)

Lucy Weberling

Rudy Marti 

Russell Lane

Ross Vaughan

Jason Juran (Jay)

Do you play an instrument? If so, what is it and how long have you played? Mostly I play guitar and sing; I’ve played guitar for about twenty years. My first instrument was trumpet (although it’s harder to get that in around the campfire). I can also play a little of the other bluegrass instruments, but fiddling in anything other than G, D and A gets above my pay grade. 

How long have you been on the Board and what’s your position?

I was elected a Member at Large in December of 2019.

What’s your occupation or what type of work did you do?

I am an attorney practicing primarily in civil litigation, business counseling and contracts.

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

When I’m not playing bluegrass and old-time music? You can usually find me boating and fishing on the frozen or non-frozen lakes in my neighborhood. I’m very into live music, travel, camping and am known to make a few homebrews to get through the winter

Tell us about your family.

I grew up around my mom’s side in New England. They were all Italian, so I ate well and had to learn carb management later in life. My dad’s side was spread between hell and breakfast, but I still spend a great deal of time around them. On that side we’re usually singing and picking tunes when we’re all together.

How long have you been part of MBOTMA and what brought you into the organization?

I’ve been coming to MBOTMA events since I moved to town a little over 4 years ago and my friend/ bandmate Adam invited me to Winter Weekend. I’ve been a member since the moment I found out I could join.

Do you have a favorite festival or activity at a festival?

It’s usually pretty hard to pull me away from the jams, but we’ve been bringing in some fantastic sets lately (you see Cleveland?!)

What excites you about MBOTMA right now?

It’s great seeing some new faces at the festivals and attendance growing. The best part of the organization for me is watching new friends and generations meeting and learning to share music with each other. Everybody learns and communicates in their own way, but when it comes together, there’s nothing better. 

Dale Gruber 

Do you have a favorite festival or activity at a festival?

The August festival is my favorite, and I love volunteering with reserved camping. Throughout the years different things were my favorite. Jamming until the early morning hours with others, the shows at the Main Stage, and meeting the entertainers were some of my favorites. Camping with friends while hearing good music at almost every hour was great. Now I also love Ranch House Live on Saturday Nights. I look forward all year to playing and singing with all my friends as Dale and the Nobodies.

Do you play an instrument? If so, what is it and how long have you played?

I play guitar and have played since I was 14 years old. I love playing bluegrass, but my favorites are old country classics. I also play Dobro. The festivals are the perfect place to jam and learn from others. 

How long have you been on the board and what’s your position?

I have been on the board for over three years and am a board member at large. I have also been volunteering in reserved camping for about 20 years. I have always tried to help in whatever ways I could.

What is your occupation and what type of work did you do?

I own a pallet company. I started it in 1985, along with my family, out of our garage with a hammer and nail. Everyone pitched in. We have grown quite a bit and now have 40 great employees. We have seen good times and bad times and weathered the storms. I have learned a lot through the years. I love what I do.

Tell us about your family.

I have a wonderful wife that I have been married to for 44 years. I love her more today than the first day I met her. We have 5 children, three girls and two boys. We have ten grandchildren with one on the way. My two sons work with me in the pallet business. Everyone lives locally and we are very close. Three of our children have a band named Blue Hazard.

How long have you been part of MBOTMA and what brought you to the organization?

We went to our first festival in Zimmerman MN around 1992. We came with our friends Gene and Joy Johnson and are very grateful they introduced us to this community. Quality bands and the family area were what kept bringing us back. The fact that the festivals were very family-oriented and our whole family had things to do made it fun for everyone. Barbara and Gary Carlson were great at the family stage and helped instill a love for the music in our kids. The talent show is what kept them practicing all year long. It was their dream to one day win the contest and play a tweener on the big stage.

What excites you about MBOTMA right now? The organization is much better financially than when I came aboard. I look forward to the future and getting more known national bands. I also love seeing the young kids at the festival. They are the future of Bluegrass. 

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association

P.O. Box 16408, Minneapolis, MN 55416

Become A Member

Our Mission: To preserve and promote bluegrass and old-time stringband music in and around the state of Minnesota.
MBOTMA is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. EIN: 36-3336499

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