Piano on Stage

Board of Directors

Meet Our Team


Chris Hebert


Chris Hebert has a long history as a musician of the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra for 24 years. She has served on the LPCO board as the secretary in 2016 and as the board president since 2018.

Chris also continues teaching at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel School in Long Prairie for 24 years. She has served the parish as a catechist and musician with the Joy choir.

Chris lives in Long Prairie with her husband, Lauren, and two children.

Dan Shaffer

Vice President, Grant Writer

A cellist with the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, Dan is also a board member and grant writer.

His main occupation is as a high school science teacher, cross country and track coach at Melrose Area High School. 

He hails from Lancaster, PA – a place where Amish is commercialized, and many Germans settled along with others in the middle of the 18th century. What Lancaster has in common with Long Prairie, it also lacks in beautiful lakes and snow.


Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst & Jürgen Brunkhorst

Publicity and Volunteer Coordinator, Grant Reviewer, Facebook Administrator & Treasurer and Website

Luan has been on the LPCO board for over a decade.  Although not an active musician, she is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. In her role as the director of the Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce, she is already well-versed in promoting and coordinating local area events, updating Facebook pages and writing grants. Working with the orchestra as the grant reviewer, publicity and volunteer coordinator, and Facebook administrator, was a perfect fit for Luan.

Jürgen has always been a musician. Since his favorite instrument - the accordion - is usually not featured in a chamber orchestra, he supports the LPCO with his technical skills and love for numbers. During the day he is a land surveyor. At night he keeps track of the LPCO finances and provides technical support to Lydia, our media specialist. 

Pat Makepeace

Secretary, Fundraiser

In 2008, Pat reached the magic age of 60 years and had taught for 30 years in a job she absolutely loved.  This was "magical " in that she was now able to pursue a totally new way to stimulate her brain. 

First, she opened the clarinet case she had closed 34 years previously and began to rehearse with a community orchestra. 

Several years later,  she took up the oboe and her brain stimulation began in earnest.  It was a tough learning curve for an older retiree but now playing with the wonderful musicians of the LPCO under the very capable direction of our conductor, Mark Graf is often the highlight of her day.  


Carol Duke

Operations Manager

Carol retired to the Long Prairie area after a 30-year career in banking management. After retiring she became active in the community performing with the Prairie Players, 4 choirs, a fellowship coordinator at St. Joseph's in Grey Eagle, Vice President of the Grey Eagle library board, Treasurer of Long Lake Improvement Association, and Swanville Legion Auxiliary.

Carol has been on the LPCO board for 5 years. Her favorite job with the orchestra is planning and decorating for the events and meeting all of our patrons.

Given her love of music, Carol finds her time with the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra very gratifying.

Gary Taylor

At-Large Board Member

If you’re really looking to catch an inspiring musical experience, Gary Taylor knows how to do just that. As a flugelhorn, trumpet, and cornet player of the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, you definitely won’t be let down.

Gary Taylor

Married to Cheryl

Father to three

Grandfather to four

Pastor to many

Gary Taylor.jpg

Jim Downes

At-Large Board Member

 Passionate about performance and community involvement, Jim Downes is committed to the growth and general well-being of the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra.

We don’t know what we would do without Jim Downes.

Lydia Smith-Lenardson

Editor, Grant Writer, Media Specialist

Lydia is a recent addition to the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra board since January 2020 and plays a supportive role as an editor, grant writer, website, and social media manager.

She is from the remote Pacific islands of Palau in the Micronesia island region.

Ms. Smith-Lenardson's lifelong passion for art, music, and the performing arts led her to study at an early age.  Then later as a serious student when she studied and performed with the John F. Kennedy High School marching band, the Governor of Guam Youth Band, the University of Guam (UOG) Symphony, one-on-one mentoring with a master illustrator and associate professor at UOG while studying ballet, jazz, and tap at a local dance studio.

Lydia graduated from high school as an honor student with several scholarships, an art award, and the Who's Who Among American High School Students. 

She then studied at the University of Hawaii/Manoa (UH) with many well-known choreographers and teachers and graduated on the Dean's List and Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater and Dance. 

Lydia is currently a student of the Halau Ho'omau I Ka Wai Ola O Hawaii dance and culture school in northern Virginia.

Hula Dancer Doll
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