People

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 La Tour is entering her 6th year as Executive Director with the Homegrown Music Festival; the festival’s longest running Executive Director in the festival’s 24 year history! Previous to directing, Melissa was the festival’s Volunteer Coordinator for a record 5 years. Melissa’s involvement began at the first festival where she was “unofficial cord-carrying girlfriend” for a band member she was dating at the time. She has been involved every year since beginning as a volunteer. Most recently, Melissa donated her incredible collection of Homegrown memorabilia to the Kathryn A. Martin Library located at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
By day, Melissa is a retail manager. She is the current President of the Junior League of Duluth and a Commissioner on the Duluth Public Arts Commission.
Other fun facts about Melissa — She founded the Harbor City Roller Derby in 2007, bringing women’s flat-track roller derby to the Twin Ports. Melissa retired from derby in 2011, following an undefeated season as the HCRD’s Head Bench Coach. Melissa is a past DJ with KUMD for the Women’s Music Show. She Co-Produced FEmnFEST for two years and has performed at several past Homegrowns as a member of Sing! A Women’s Chorus.

Crystal Holden

Crystal joined the steering committee in 2017 after many years of volunteering for the festival in different capacities. She is a photographer/artist/graphic designer and small business owner. Always on the go, you may see her out at a show, shredding the gnar on the slopes, on a trail with her pup or rolling down the road in her Winne with her family or friends in tow.


Jess Nickila

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 Sauve

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.


Jenny Armstrong

If you bred a golden retriever with a feral cat, you’d get Jenny. Volunteer for Homegrown since 2010, Steering Committee since 2019.
Musically obsessed, magically blessed and occasionally stressed.
You will find her on a hiking trail when it’s warm, and sipping tea in front of a puzzle when it’s cold.
When you see her out, say hello. Hugs guaranteed. 


Kara Tudor

Kara spends her free time obsessing over her cats, spending too much money on books, taking too many selfies, and attending events in the Duluth music, film, and art scene. She has an obsession with the Decemberists that some have referred to as cult-like.


Sara Mannetter

“We’re all bold as love. Just ask the Axis” – Hendrix

“Music is our friend” – King Crimson 2021 Tour

“I hate and love. Why I do this, perhaps you ask. I know not, but I feel it happening, and I am tormented” – Catullus 85


Leon Rohrbaugh

Leon Rohrbaugh has a long running history with Homegrown going back to the beginning. He has played in all but one festival and has participated in the goings on prior to his joining the Homegrown Steering Committee this year. With past and present involvement in multiple bands in the Twin Ports, including a Homegrown favorite, A Band Called Truman, Leon is sure to bring the party. His energy is infectious and his passion for performing live is evident through the connection he has with his audience.
When Leon isn’t performing on stage, he can be found hanging with his family, cooking amazing grilled eats off Chicken Alley or riding dirty on his bike.

Scott Lillo

Scott is a Duluth native. Started as Homegrown Music Festival’s production manager, late 2018. 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.

An additional fun fact: Scott is known for his ability to nap, ANYWHERE!! So look for him, napping under a stage at a venue near you.

Matt Moses

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.


Cory Jezierski

Cory is an earth human obsessed with music and not at all an extraterrestrial hell bent on world domination. He burned up the last two decades by playing in some trashy bands, booking and promoting some wild shows, recording some weird music and doing a little touring. His other interests include horror movies, record collecting and spending time with his wife Suzy and his furry friend Rex. He’s not the greasy strangler.


Jessica McCarthy

West Duluthian, practicing percussionist, and aspiring juggler. During the day you can catch her doing outreach with folks struggling with substance use disorder, at night she’s either at a live music event or folding laundry. Third year on the DHGMF steering committee.


Breanne Tepler

Breanne is a Duluth lifer. Currently living in West Duluth with her husband, daughters and pets. She fronts local alt country band Breanne Marie & The Front Porch Sinners and has played every festival since 2012. She also plays trumpet in the Wrong Notes Pep Band during the Homegrown Kickball game. When she’s not playing music or checking out live music, you can find her outdoors on a trail or in a kayak.


Heidi Lord

This is Heidi’s first year on the Homegrown Steering Committee and she is stoked! Heidi spent her college years as a freelance musician, late 20s-early 30s working as an operations assistant at the Aspen (CO) Music Festival and since 2015 as the Director of Artistic Operations at the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. Heidi practices a hodgepodge of mystical and spiritual modalities and started The Wyrd Collective in 2021 out of a desire to share those practices with others. When she’s not working, Heidi enjoys skiing, camping, mountain biking, moon gazing, looking at/soaking in/hanging out by Lake Superior, laughing with her buds and fulfilling her true calling of being an aunt and cat lady.


Malachy Koons

Malachy has lived in Duluth since 2014 when he moved here to go to school. He loves the Twin Ports music scene and feels fortunate to work in it as a radio host at The North 1033 FM, where he hosts The Local and Music Through The Day.


Jessica Hodge

New to the committee and fresh off the UMD lot, currently working as a scientist in West Duluth. Catch me on the dancefloor of a Fenestra Funk show around town and I’ll buy you a beer. Cheers!

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Kelli Latuska

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.


Ryan Nelson

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.


Jason Beckman

With advanced degrees in management and business, plus thousands of hours working live music events, Jason brings a unique perspective to the Homegrown Music Festival.  Jason keeps his eye on liabilities, seeks ways to maximize assets, and jumps into any situation that needs rectification.  Jason joined the Steering Committee in 2016 and the Board of Directors in 2019 in order to support a festival he has attended annually since 2003.


Dereck Murphy-Williams

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.


Other Staff:

Paul Lundgren

Paul Lundgren has managed the content of the Homegrown Music Festival Field Guide, the annual magazine promoting the festival, since the first issue in 2006. Before that he covered Homegrown for the Ripsaw newspaper, so he’s been chronicling the festival since its inception. He served on Homegrown’s steering committee from 2006 to 2010, and was the committee chair in 2010. Paul also covers local culture on the Perfect Duluth Day website when he isn’t walking around daydreaming.


Tyler Scouton

Tyler has been involved in Twin Ports’ local music for over 20 years. Playing in bands like Bratwurst, Big Science, and others. Since 2016, he has been the Technology Director for the festival.

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