Richard J. Wenning
Executive Director, BeFoundation and Cofounder, SpreadMusicNow
A national expert on education policy design and implementation, Richard Wenning is executive director of BeFoundation, a family foundation devoted to dramatic improvement in the education of underserved children in Connecticut and the vitality of their communities.
Richard also leads SpreadMusicNow, a fund that supports music education for underserved youth, helping to shape their futures and build lifelong success. Richard has worked with federal, state, and local agencies and nonprofits for more than 25 years and serves on the boards of Hartford Performs, a community arts organization, and Social Venture Partners Connecticut.
Richard’s role at BeFoundation fostered his return to his home state of Connecticut after stints in Washington, D.C. and Colorado focusing on education policy. These included positions with the Colorado Department of Education as Associate Commissioner, the Denver Public Schools as executive on loan, and the Colorado League of Charter Schools as vice president. In Washington, D.C., Richard served as a senior advisor to the DC Public Schools and as professional staff to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Richard holds a Master of Public Administration from The American University and was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Ithaca College and was a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Maryland before working for the United States Senate.
Founder and President, Music Empowers Foundation
Andrew Davis is a seasoned marketing executive with over 30 years of leadership experience at companies such as Procter& Gamble and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (formerly American Home Products). He has a proven track record of launching and/or growing some of the most recognizable consumer franchises in America, e.g. Advil, Centrum and Chapstick. Throughout his career his understanding of consumer insights, his creativity and his strategic acumen have ensured the success and growth of numerous consumer franchises.
Andrew was educated at the Johns Hopkins University where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics and history. He proceeded to earn a Master’s of Business from the University of Chicago, majoring in marketing and finance. He began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble and then joined the consumer division of Wyeth, commencing a 28-year career with that corporation.
During his career at Wyeth, Andrew gained marketing and leadership experience, rising from product manager to vice president of marketing in less than five years, becoming the youngest vice president in the company's history at the age of 29. Andrew continued to grow and excel in various leadership roles, including senior vice president and general manager.
Andrew's product successes are well known. In the 1980's as marketing director he led the launch of Advil Pain Reliever. Under Andrew's direction Advil became one of the most successful new products ever launched and grew to worldwide sales of $1 billion. Other household names which bear the marketing imprint of Mr. Davis include: Centrum Vitamins, Robitussin Cough Syrups, Chapstick Lip Balm, Preparation H, and The Today Sponge. During his career, Andrew played a leadership role in the launch of more than 75 new products and the development of countless advertising and marketing campaigns.
Andrew retired from the pharmaceutical industry in 2008 following the death of his wife of 25 years, Carol, to become a full-time father and pursue philanthropic opportunities. He founded the Music Empowers Foundation in 2010 in honor of his late wife. Music Empowers Foundation supports programs that provide innovative and engaging music instruction to children in communities with limited or nonexistent music programs. Andrew also endowed a lectureship series in honor of Carol at Temple Har Shalom in Warren, New Jersey. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Craig School, and through his Foundation, the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium.
Cofounder, Band Together Connecticut
Rob Fried lives in Redding, CT, balancing his time between family, business and music. He has had a successful career in institutional asset management and is a bassist, vocalist and musical director with two albums of original music, “Wind Song” and “Water Rhapsody”.
In 2005, along with co-founder Jerry Vigorito, Rob formed Band Together to create “Music With Purpose” and has helped raise over $1.6 million for local charities. Rob plays with Hot Sauce, Bone Dry and Stoneband and loves being engaged with music - composing songs, arranging shows, playing gigs and practicing.
Rob practices yoga and is inspired by the evolution of consciousness. He created the “Music & Healing Workshop” to explore music as a tool to uplift moods and to create wellness and ease in life.
Founder, Disruption Partners
Andy Kadison is an award-winning writer, producer and executive, with a one-of-a-kind background creating television, film, music, digital and social content. Andy has a proven track record turning moments into movements. From mainstream entertainment to vibrant social campaigns, Andy is a dynamic content creator and strategist who has developed, written and produced innovative, commercially successful multi-platform offerings that cut through the noise, transform brands, engage audiences and win awards.
Under his newly established Trainwreck TV, Films and Music banner, Andy has created an unprecedented number of scripted, unscripted and digital properties that are currently in development at the highest levels in New York and Los Angeles.
Prior to founding Trainwreck, Andy headed development and served as an executive producer for Viacom’s innovative brand-building agency, MTV Scratch. At Scratch, Andy helped Viacom reinvent the way it conducts business with a particular focus on creating content, strategy and partnerships with national brands. Andy Kadison’s work at MTV Scratch has received numerous accolades and awards, with Ad-Age recognizing the Sun Drop campaign (strategy, creative, head of digital) as the top digital/viral campaign of 2012/2013.
As an Executive Vice President and GM at Sony Music, Andy ran two business units - Sony Music Studios & Automatic Productions. Sony Studios is widely regard as the most accomplished multi-use production center to launch in a generation. For fifteen years, Andy managed a team of up to 200 of the industry’s most accomplished recording & mastering engineers, TV producers, editors, digital artists, audio post specialists and executives, and was directly responsible for over a thousand hours of produced content reaching hundreds of millions.
Andy has executive produced and supervised hundreds of Alternative TV Series/Specials and Live Events including: MTV Unplugged, VH-1 Storytellers, A&E’s Live By Request, PBS Sessions @West 54th, Hard Rock Live, Disney Channel Coming Home, The Wildlife Concerts, along with over 150 live events/concerts -- many on location -- featuring artists including; Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Don Henley, Santana, BB King, Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennett, John Denver, The Doobie Brothers, Elvis Costello, Neil Diamond, Backstreet Boys, NSync and Britney Spears.
Andy’s productions have won Emmy, Grammy, Peabody, Clio, AME, Ace, Monitor and Effie awards.
Since 2008 Andy has been the Executive Producer of Band Together CT. Recognized throughout Connecticut and the Tri-State region, Band Together unites a network of talented musicians and artists with organizations raising funds for families in need of a helping hand. Band Together produces themed benefit concerts, each one a unique and wonderful testament to the generosity of the human spirit. To date, Band Together has produced over 52 shows, in the process raising close to $2M for local charities and families.
Assistant Director of Athletic Bands, University of Connecticut
As the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at UConn, Marvin assists with all aspects of the UConn Marching Band. Marvin’s primary roles with the UCMB include overseeing the UCMB Drum Line and serving as arranger for the UCMB, providing unique musical arrangements for halftime performances. Marvin also serves as Director of the University Concert Band, works with the UConn Pep Bands, as the founder of the Funky Dawgz Brass Band. Marvin also teaches Instrumental Techniques courses within the School of Fine Arts Music Department.
Marvin served as a graduate assistant under Dr. David Mills from 1994-1997. From 1997-2002 Marvin served as the Director of Bands at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. During his five years at Sacred Heart University the band program experienced impressive growth and musical development. The program more than quadrupled in size since his arrival in 1997. While serving as Director of the SHU Pioneer Marching Band composed the words and music for SHU Pioneer Fight Song. The SHU Fight Song is performed at all football, basketball, and hockey games. Much loved and respected by both students and colleagues, Marvin was named Advisor of the Year in 2002.
Marvin holds a B.S. in Music Education from Virginia Polytechnic and State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Connecticut. Marvin performs widely in concert, commercial, salsa, and jazz venues throughout the Northeast. Marvin has also served as guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician, for concert bands and marching bands on both the middle and high school levels. Most recently, Marvin served as guest conductor of the CMEA Southern Region Middle School Band Festival and the CMEA Eastern Regional High School Band Festival.
Marvin McNeill is a member of the College Band Director’s Association, The Society of Ethnomusicology, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, Phi Beta Mu International Band Masters’ Fraternity and is an honorary member of both Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma.
Executive Director, Little Kids Rock
Dave Wish is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that funds and runs one of the largest, free instrumental music programs in US public schools today. Little Kids Rock is also a leading provider of free instruments and curriculum. Dave has initiated and managed the launch of campaigns to restore and revitalize music education for more than 400,000 low-income children in ten states.
A recognized social entrepreneur, Dave has been awarded numerous honors for his work in the field, including prestigious fellowships from Ashoka, The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, and The Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as receiving the 2014 New Jersey State Governor's Jeffersonian Awards in the 'Ambassador' category for his exemplary volunteer service beyond the borders of New Jersey.
Dave's work has been highlighted by national and local media outlets including The New York Times, CNN Headline News, Time Magazine, MTV, A&E, The Dr. Phil Show and National Public Radio. He has also been a speaker at the LEGO Idea Conference, Imagine Solutions Conference, Social Innovation Summit, TEDxSantaCruz and the Net Impact Conference.
Dave is active in the broader field of music education and sits on the Board of Directors of the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium as well as the Advisory Boards of Oberlin's Music in America Initiative.