Homegrown Steering Committee & Board of Directors
The Homegrown Music Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to organize the annual Homegrown Music Festival for the cultural benefit of the Twin Ports, continued showcasing of local music, and helping sustain a supportive arts community.
Melissa La Tour
Melissa “Ginger” La Tour is serving her fourth year as Homegrown Music Festival’s Executive Director. Prior to that position, Melissa was Homegrown’s Volunteer Coordinator for 5 years. Melissa has been involved with Homegrown in several roles since 1999. She also performed during Homegrown as a member of Sing! A Women’s Chorus.
In 2007, Melissa founded Harbor City Roller Dames, the Twin Port’s first women’s flat track roller derby league. She is a Commissioner with Duluth Public Arts Commission and has worked for local Indie record label, Chaperone Records. In her spare time, she is a DJ for KUMD’s Women’s Music Show and is an active member of Junior League of Duluth.
Crystal is a proud new member of the DHMF Steering Committee. She is photographer/artist/small business owner and a busy Mama to three adorable children. She is obsessed with the outdoors and her hobbies change with the seasons.
A newer member to the committee, Dereck has been involved in the Duluth arts for almost 10 years. His connections from his involvement in the Duluth scene as well as his job as a local hairstylist gives him an eclectic taste that adds to the committee.
Left the homestead in 09’ and relocated to Duluth. Practicing percussionist, and mom to 2 punk rock little girls. During the day she works with the Police Department doing outreach, at night she’s either at a live music event or folding clothes. First year of many on the steering committee.
Joe is a Duluth native, a technology geek, and guitar player. Some of his favorite memories of the Duluth music scene are from the days of the Recyclabell all-ages venue and the Urban Grounds coffee shop in the 90’s.
Garrett is an enthusiastic new member of the DHMF Steering Committee. A native Duluthian, he has been DJing and helping promote concerts/parties in the area for about the past six years, and is currently studying Communications and Music Business at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. While a huge fan of rock in all its forms, his first-love is dance-music, and he can often be heard advocating for the area’s DJs. Being a die-hard Homegrown fan, Garrett is excited to get more involved with what he considers to be his favorite thing about the Twin Ports.
Mother of three boys and PTA parent. Don’t look so horrified, it is not that bad, I swear! I have been volunteering with Homegrown since 2010, and this will be my second year on the steering committee. This year I will be focusing on the children’s showcase.
Activities: Yoga, hiking, running, coffee and moving my body. I am essentially a golden retriever in a human body.
Musical Mutt with a sorry-not-sorry love of bass beats and 90’s rap.
Kara graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a Bachelor of Science. After college, she was given the choice to attend graduate school or travel the world as a microbiologist. She chose the latter, and visited more than 6 countries including Morocco, Spain, Germany, Iceland, England, and France. After a few years of this, she now works at the US Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Continent Ecology Division in Duluth, MN.
Kara spends her time obsessing over her 3 cats, listening to true crime podcasts, scrolling through Instagram, and attending events in the Duluth music, film, and art scene. Some of her favorite music comes from Tom Petty, Cloud Cult, and the Decemberists.
This is Sara’s first year as a Steering Committee member and she is very excited to be a part of something greater than the sum of its parts. Although she personally has neither musical expertise nor talent, she enjoys the vibrant and varied local music scene. A Milwaukee native, she and her family have been in the Poplar/Superior area for the past twenty-five years. She likes to knit, watch Danish crime series, and hang with her young adult children as well as her old man, if he is still awake past 8 o’clock at night.
Sean is an Iron Range native and permanent Duluth transplant. Homegrown is in his top three reasons for staying in Duluth. A live music and local music junkie; loves most flavors, but particularly rock and punk. Is part of Homegrown because he like to be part of the group, and it’s a joy to help put together his favorite event.
Scott is a Duluth native. This is his first year as Homegrown Music Festival’s production manager. Scott LOVES music and has been an advocate for the Twin Ports’ music scene all his life. He serves on the boards of four local arts-related organizations and is frequently found producing, mixing sound, networking, creating and promoting their programs. He was a partner in Crane Song, a manufacturer of high quality audio electronics. Scott Co-founder & produced Duluth’s High Schools’ “Battle of the Bands” raising thousands of dollars for Junior Achievement. This rockin’ event let kids be rock stars for the day!
Scott is currently, employed by Sound Central. He is also the devoted father of Tawna Rae, his terrific daughter. She loves music almost as much as her old man.
Matt relocated to Duluth in 2010 and had his first Homegrown experience seeing Trampled By Turtles at the old NorShore Theater that same year. He regularly attends Homegrown with a camera in hand to enjoy live music and photography together. Outside the festival he work as a consultant for IBM, spends a lot time photographing local high school sports and the night skies, enjoys time with his kids, and all the outdoor activities Duluth offers.
Alex “Coke” Chocholousek hails from Gregory County, South Dakota, but is now proud to call Duluth “home”. Coke is currently the head brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse and an active member of the music scene, playing bass in several projects around town, including his main band, Mallards. He fell in love with Homegrown the first time he attended and hasn’t found anything as cool, festival-wise, anywhere else. A lifelong audio dabbler and art/music nerd, Coke always has some side projects going including freelance photography, recording/mixing, and promoting music around town. Additionally, he has served on boards and committees related to a wide variety of projects including food co-ops, transportation policy, music festivals, energy justice, and beer industry topics. And, when he’s not busy with all that stuff, you can find him on the mountain bike trails, working on his house, or trying to smoke the perfect brisket.
Since the mid 90’s and up until recently, Cory had been performing in local groups and helping to book shows for a variety of other bands and and venues in the Twin Ports. He remembers when bands recorded demo tapes and hand made flyers but is currently happy for his new opportunity to work with Homegrown! In addition to Rock n’ Roll he also enjoys horror movies and is good friends with a dachshund named Rex.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Kelli Latuska served on the steering committee for four years before being elected Treasurer of the Board of Directors. By day, she is Executive Managing Director of the Minnesota Ballet, and by night she is crime-fighter by way of listening to true crime podcasts and armchair-sleuthing on the internet. She also likes painting, reading, and hanging out with her nephews.
Lyz Jaakola vaguely remembers being at the first Homegrown 20 years ago… and started playing in the festival a few years ago. Lyz is music faculty at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet and directs the Ojibwemowining Digital Arts Studio when she’s not singing, parenting or serving on various boards and committees. Lyz is honored to serve on the DHGMF Board of Directors.
Margie first attended Homegrown in 2010 and joined the Board of Directors in 2012. She is an active patron of local music and art and supports the nonprofit functions of the festival. Her day job consists of marketing and fundraising for Life House, and she is actively involved with the Duluth nonprofit and civic community.
Ryan is an umpteen-year veteran of the Duluth music scene, having played drums with the likes of the Hotel Coral Essex, the Farsights, and the Social Disaster. Ryan is currently drumming with Mallards. Having served five years as a Steering Committee member, in 2017, he transitioned to the Board of Directors.
With more than 20 years in Social Services, and nearly as many in live music Jason brings a unique perspective to Homegrown. Jason keeps his eye on liabilities, seeks ways to maximize assets, and jumps in to any situation that needs rectification. Jason decided to join the steering committee to give back to a festival he has attended annually since 2003.