Board of Directors

The Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society, Inc., is a not for profit, 501 (C) (3) Corporation.
The following outline of our Board of Directors is posted for all to see and is as it appears
in our By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation, established in 1996.
Outline of Board of Directors
All of the business and affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by the Board of Directors in a manner consistent with these By-Laws and other applicable law. The Board shall make appropriate delegations of authority to the Officers and, to the extent permitted by law, by appropriate resolution, the Board may authorize one or more Board Committees to act on its behalf when it is not in session.

The Board of Directors shall consist of no less than nine (9) and up to (31) Directors until changed by amendment to these By-Laws, consistent with the Articles of Incorporation.

Directors shall be elected at the annual membership meeting in the year 2000, to serve for one (1) or two (2) years, as established by lottery at that meeting, and shall remain in office until they or their successors are elected and qualify for two (2) year terms  in subsequent years 2001 and 2002.  The Immediate Past President shall remain an Honorary, Voting Member of the Board of Directors.

An Annual Meeting of the Board shall be held each year during the second week of January, for the purposes of electing Officers, members of the Board Committees, and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the meeting, or at such other time as prescribed by the Board. The Board shall have regular meetings, the frequency of which is consistent with the needs of the Corporation and unless the Board shall provide otherwise by resolution, regular meetings of the Board shall be held at least twice per year, excluding the Annual Meeting.  The Board may, by resolution, prescribe the time and place for the holding of the regular meetings and may provide that the adoption of such resolution shall constitute notice of such regular meetings.  If the Board does not prescribe the time and place for the holding of regular meetings, such regular meetings shall be held at the time and place specified by the President in the notice of such regular meetings.    
At least fifty-one percent of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Board, unless otherwise  specifically  provided  by law, the Articles of Incorporation, or these By-Laws. Attendance shall be either in person or by telephonic connection whereby the distant member and those members present in person all hear and may speak to and be heard on the matters raised therein.

Claudio Berardi - Executive Vice President

At ten years old, Claudio Berardi discovered the excitement of playing drums and began to study in earnest with some of the area’s finest percussionists. Later, at the University of Bridgeport CT, he was the featured drummer in the Music Department’s Big Band workshop.
By his early teens, he was already playing professionally in several area combos and big bands. Soon after high school, he began touring the USA and Caribbean with Gene Hull and various other musical organizations, gaining valuable experience backing up such celebrities as Vic Damone, Sandler and Young, Bob Hope, and many others.
As a member of the pop combo The Hi Lights, Claudio performed on the Mike Douglas National TV Show with Kaye Ballard. In Las Vegas, he played main show rooms at the Sahara and Frontier hotels. He played the Playboy Club hotels and many of the Caribbean’s best resorts.
When Claudio gave up traveling and settled down with his family, he worked to develop a long career in the insurance business. But all the while he continued to play weekends in the Connecticut area. He became a regular in backing up local Broadway shows (even being on stage as an actor in a couple of comedies), played with the area’s top rock-pop band, and accepted random recording engagements.
Claudio moved to Florida upon retirement in 2010 and is currently a full-time “retired” musician.

Don Bestor, Jr. - President

Don Bestor, a pianist/keyboardist with 27 years of ‘on the road’ experience, 17 years of producing shows, and 12 years as a studio owner/engineer brings his talents to the Ft. Pierce Jazz and Blues Society. Don was an arranging major at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.  Don is committed to sharing his experience and talent with the NEW Ft. Pierce Jazz And Blues Society whose mission is to create greater awareness and enjoyment of jazz in the community through education and performances.

Mark Green - Executive Secretary

Mark Green performs regularly with the Jazz Society at the Black Box Theatre in Ft. Pierce. Originally from NY, where he played his trumpet on stage on Broadway as well as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Mark also travelled nationally and internationally accompanying such celebrities as Vic Damone, Neil Sedaka, and Mel Torme just to mention a few.

He moved to South Florida in 1988 and immediately formed his own Dixieland band known as the Rowdy Roosters. For the past 10 years he has directed, along with Al Hager, a 17pc. Big Band known as FDO-For Dancers Only, the Big Swingin’ Band.  Since 2001, Mark has written and presented 3 mixed-media shows, “A Tribute to Satchmo,” “The Genius of Duke Ellington,” and “Benny Goodman-The King of Swing.” The latter was performed on stage at the Sunrise Theater in 2013 with 19 musicians.

Mark has been a noted educator for as long as he’s been a musician, and was very honored to have received the Teacher of the Year Award for the State of Florida in 2004. This was presented to him by the Department of Juvenile Justice at Disney World, for his work with at-risk teenage youth. This summer will be the third year that he will direct and write the curriculum for the society’s Summer Jazz Band Camp program. This is designed to teach young music students, and recently older ones too, the techniques in improvising and performing jazz music in front of a live audience.

Mark states, “I’m happy to play a small part in attempting to keep this great American art form alive, by mentoring young people in the joy of performing jazz.”    

Al Hager - Education Chairman

Al Hager received degrees from Florida State University and the University of Florida. He has taught public school music in Florida and Georgia since 1968 and retired in 2009. Al was the first director of the Disneyworld All American College Band and the Atlanta Area McDonalds All Star Jazz Band. He is the Past President of the Florida Association of Jazz Educators and was selected Teacher of the Year at Jefferson Junior High and Stuart Middle School.
He performs with Flutes Renaissance, the Indian River Pops Orchestra, Live Session and directs the Treasure Coast Flute Choir and the big band, For Dancers Only. For the last ten years he has organized and directed the Director’s Jazz Band at the Florida Music Educators Association state convention. He is a popular adjudicator and clinician throughout the southeast.
Al is a published author, composer and arranger and has recently published three Paul Desmond transcriptions arranged for five saxophones. He is also the 2007, 2008 and 2009 National Barefoot Water Ski champion for the Men’s 6 Division.

John E. (Butch) Hutchison

 John E. Hutchison, (Butch), was born and raised on a farm in West Virginia and spent 3 years in the Marine Corp.  He attended the University of New Mexico for 2 years.  He worked 19 years in television  production in NYC., including 14 years as videotape editor on Sesame Street.  He retired from Clemson University after 23 years producing and directing distant learning classes by satellite.  He moved to Fort Pierce, FL., in March of 2014.

Max Duhalde - Audio/Event Setup Manager

George McDaniel - Vice President - Logistics

Hailing from Buffalo, New York, a former U.S. Air Force member and 40+ year veteran in the printing & graphic arts industry, George shares his penchant for organization & efficiency and his “get it done” attitude with the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society. Never sitting idle, George is an avid photographer, a proactive member in local community affairs, an Advanced Open-Water Certified Scuba Diver and an active, Licensed Coast Guard Capitan. With his positive, “can-do” attitude, George is a graciously welcomed member of the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society’s Board of Directors.

Anita Palma Sperry - Vice President - Administration

Anita Sperry and her husband Ron relocated to St. Lucie County from Miami in 2006.  She was a Dade County Commissions Operations Manager for 20 years. Among her many responsibilities, Anita served as liaison and worked with the Chief of Staff to the Chairperson and all thirteen Commissioners. 
Her excellent communications expertise, bilingual skills and event planning make her a very valuable asset to the New Fort Pierce Jazz and Blues Society.

Angela Zervos - Treasurer


Angela has, lived here all her life and is married with 3 kids who grew up loving music.  Her Dad had his own band and played locally in St. Lucie county for years. Angie loves all of the local non-profit organizations. She worked for the Boys and Girls Club of St Lucie county for 9 years and became involved with the Fort Pierce Jazz and Blues Society about two and half years ago, (Oct., 2014), when she was recommended to the Society by Wendy Dwyer.  

AJ Pastor

Living in a small southern town that had a local college with a fabulous jazz program was a super beginning for my lifelong love of jazz. Over several years my parents boarded four college boys in our home – who were always music majors. So there were jam sessions going on in our living room most every day.
Mom played piano and I sang. The two of us often entertained at local events.
When we married, my husband and I moved to New Jersey. With such close proximity to the myriad cultural attractions of New York City, I was fortunate to be exposed to forty-four years of seeing and listening to some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians. Because my late husband and my brother were involved in television production in New York City, I also got to go to many televised jazz venues that were not normally open to the public.
Imagine how wonderful it is for me to retire to Fort Pierce and find that quality jazz venues here are closer, less expensive, and absolutely top notch.

Jim Tucci

Jim Tucci, has been a drummer since the age of 12. He honed his jazz skills with the army band in France and played USO shows from New York to Europe, entertaining the troops. He has appeared with great singers such as: Frank Sinatra, Jr., Leslie Uggams and Don Rondo.
Jim is committed to sharing his skills and experience with young musicians through the opportunities made possible by the Ft. Pierce Jazz and Blues Society.
Mary Ann Ketcham
After graduating college with a degree in Communications I worked for many years in the insurance industry. In the ‘90’s I left my career behind to become a stay at home mother to my boy/girl twins. I spent a couple of years as a special education paraprofessional in their primary school. When not working I volunteered with the PTA, became a co-leader for Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, coached a girl’s softball team and played in a Mom’s Only soccer league.
In 2007 we all left our native New York and moved to Port St. Lucie. My hobbies include a love of music, photography, guitar, traveling and spending time with my husband Don, the kids and my dog. I also received a master scuba diver certification in the early 1990 and enjoy recreational diving!
Several years ago my son’s drum teacher recommended that he sit in with the Fort Pierce Jazz and Blues Society at one their Jazz Jams as a way to familiarize himself with playing in a professional setting with professional musicians. Sadly, at the time, our busy schedules did not afford us the time to do so.
Fast forward about two years when, on a beautiful Tuesday Florida evening, we found ourselves with a lighter load of homework, housework and all those other obligations that got in our way and Chris (my aforementioned son) and I were finally able to make our way to a Jazz Jam! “WOW,” I thought, what a wonderful opportunity for young aspiring musicians to express themselves and also receive informative tips from the professionals.
We’ve both been enjoying the Jazz Jams, the Festivals and all the activities put forth by this amazing group of people ever since! I was so impressed by what this organization offers that when I was offered a position on the Board of Directors I jumped at the chance!
To anyone out there reading this, please check us out- you will not be disappointed!!
Mia Batalini
Mia Batalini's love for music led her to the FPJ&BS a little over two years ago. She took on the position of Office Administrator and works behind the scenes to help with the day to day running of the organization.
The Society's mission to keep jazz & blues alive in our schools and community is the reason Mia is passionate about her work. She is enthusiastic about the Society's vision for the future and is honored and humbled to be a part of it.
Gene Hull
Former saxophonist with Duke Ellington and other bands of the post- swing era, Notre Dame graduate, Gene Hull was the entertainment producer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for 20 years. He is the author of four books, including “Chasing the Muse – A life in Music and Show Business.” He is President of the Treasure Coast Writers Guild and book reviewer for Scripps Newspapers.
Gene’s jazz roots run deep. His band big band, “The Jazz Giants,” was featured and recorded at the 1962 Newport Jazz Festival. His committed interest in jazz remains paramount today in the Jazz Society.
Pat Dicesare