Program Coordinators

Jim McKimm, Series Founder & Director

Music has been a part of Jim’s life from the age of four and continues 61 years later.

He has served several church in New York and New Jersey as Director of Music, remaining at the Hamilton United Methodist Church in Neptune, New Jersey, for 20 years where he also directed an adult choir of 50 as well as youth choir. He was also a guest director at the famed annual Ocean Grove Choir festival, an annual event with 1200 voices.

Jim served as organist for various annual organization services in New York, and has composed numerous choral anthems and hymns throughout the years.

He is currently in his 17th year as Music Director at St. Mark’s.

Jim is a founding and lifetime member of the MAC Center for the Arts on Main Street, Newport where he served as president over 5 years and almost 1 year as Creative Director, leaving to re-vitalize the NOW PLAYING NEWPORT music series which had a successful 5 year run, ending in 2008.

During his professional career, he worked for 26 years as Director of Visual Merchandising and Presentation for the former 16 store Steinbach Company, based in New Jersey.

In addition, he has won several NYC and national ballroom dancing competitions, art awards and has three published church history books.



Ken Michelli, Founder, Director, Newport Area Community Orchestra

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana,Ken earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music at Louisiana State University. He studied at the Eastman School of Music at Georgia State University. His major instruments are the trombone and the Euphonium.

Ken worked as an elementary school band director in north Georgia for eleven years. During this time in Georgia, he played in many wind ensembles and orchestras.

Ken retired to the Northeast Kingdom in 2010 after owning and operating a computer business for many years. He lives in Derby Center.

The orchestra was formed in Derby Line, Vermont in February of 2011 by Michelli and rehearses at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Derby Line, VT. Members come from many walks of life and from many age groups.

Many of its members have come out of retirement to play with the orchestra. Some members had not played their instruments for over 40 years! The orchestra's repertoire consists of a variety of music including church hymns, marches, overtures, pop, Christmas carols, and symphonies. I Anyone ho is interested in more information or joining us, kenmichelli@hotmail.com or call 802-766-3021.

Orchestra Website

Dr. Sara Doncaster, Music Department Head, Lake Region Union High School

Sara’s career in the arts has many dimensions.  She is a professional composer, writing vocal, chamber and symphonic music for musicians and ensembles across the country and has composed music for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra, Social Band, Village Harmony, Vermont Contemporary Music Festival, the Empyrean Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble and for the renowned operatic tenor Jon Garrison.

Sara has won awards and fellowships for her work, including a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Citation of Merit from the Vermont Arts Council for Distinguished Service to the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ragdale Foundation,Vermont Community Foundation, Composers Conference at Wellesley College,  ASCAP, and has given theory papers and presentations on my own music at New York University, the Manhattan School of Music, University of California - Davis, State University of New York - Plattsburgh and Bennington College.

She is a classically trained musician, However she has developed great enthusiasm for folk, rock, jazz, blues and world music.

Ph.D.Theory & Composition,Brandeis University, 2006

M.F.A., Theory & Composition, Brandeis University, 1996

Bachelor of Music, Theory & Composition/Piano Performance, Boston University, 1988