Founder/Executive Director

Mike Eldred

AMAZING PLACE MUSIC is a nonprofit corporation based in Whitefish, Montana and founded by entertainer Mike Eldred to produce and present music and performances that will enhance the community and inspire the residents of Flathead Valley.  

As a singer, actor, recording artist and 30-year veteran of the entertainment business, since 2004 Mike has long dreamed of sharing the magic of the Northwest Rocky Mountains with his musical friends from around the country and the world.  Founded in 2018, APM has presented "ON THE STAGE with Mike Eldred" to intimate crowds seated on the stage of the Whitefish Performing Arts Center. 

Mike has hosted Grammy, CMA award-winning musician friends from Nashville and New York and has shared with them the breathtaking beauty of Montana while they share their gifts with the residents of the Flathead Valley.  ON THE STAGE will feature internationally recognized musicians, entertainers and recording artists from various genres.  In 2022 and beyond, Mike will be hosting some very exciting artists both "On The Stage" and in full capacity concerts for the entire community.

Amazing Place Music Board of Directors

Diane Smith (President) - Columbia Falls, Montana

Diane Smith (A tech entrepreneur, lawyer, author, and investor with extensive background in start-ups and technology) was the co-founder and CEO of a high growth technology company in Northwest Montana.

After a career spent in Washington DC as a corporate executive in the fast growing tech and wireless industries, Diane moved to Montana and discovered that the most interesting people live and work beyond the Beltway. She authored TheNewRural.Com where she examined the role technology plays in rural and small town economic development.

She also continues to serve on boards and consult in various tech industry sectors across the country.

 

Ruth Ann Wisener - Whitefish, Montana

Ruth Ann Wisener (Vice President, Investor Relations at Bunge Limited) has spent 15 years with Fortune 100 companies advancing the transformation of businesses and functions by identifying the essential activities and deliverables required to produce exceptional results. Wisener must dissect complex issues and processes into addressable components and quickly stand up solutions. She enthusiastically engages organization at all levels and applies outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills to pinpoint opportunities.

Kari Pricher - Columbia Falls, Montana

Kari Pricher is an Emmy-winning editorial producer for CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. For 20 years, she has traveled to communities coping with enormous loss to report the stories of victims and survivors. She has also won a GLAAD award for Outstanding TV Journalism for the documentary, "The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub."

Kari was a 2013 Ochberg Fellow with The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University, an experience that deepened her resolve to report on the emotional impact of traumatic events as well as to work with other journalists on best practices for crisis reporting.

Her assignments have included covering the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, Typhoon Hayain in Tacloban City, Philippines, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the bombings at the Boston Marathon. 

Nikki Oaks - Whitefish, Montana

Nikki moved to Whitefish with her husband and two boys in 2009. She has a love for interior design and fashion. In her spare time, she competes in the equestrian sport of Dressage. In 2017, Nikki started and currently owns a high-end women's boutique in downtown Whitefish.

One of Nikki’s primary passions is giving back to the community. She is highly involved with the local schools, as well as teaching many entrepreneur classes for Junior Achievement. She is currently leading the Family Involvement Team and the Whitefish Education Foundation for the Whitefish Middle School.

She spends much of her time fundraising for the schools through the Boosterthon programs. Nikki has also collaborated with other local businesses, hosting several fundraising galas for Make A Wish Montana.

Jenanne Solberg - Whitefish, Montana

Jenanne Solberg is a graduate of the University of Montana (B.M. ’76, M.M. ’78 in Piano Performance) with continued studies and endorsements in string pedagogy, choral conducting and music education. She has served as Principal Viola with the Casper, Billings and Bozeman Symphonies and is currently Principal Viola with the Glacier Symphony.  Her performance experience also includes many years with the Missoula, Great Falls and Helena Symphonies, as well as the String Orchestra of the Rockies and the Yellowstone Chamber Players. 

During her 23 years in Billings, MT, Ms. Solberg maintained a private piano and violin/viola studio of over 50 students, served as music director and organist for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and was a founding member and director of the Montana Music Institute.  She established the orchestra program in the Billings Catholic Schools where she taught for 13 years, also directing the band and choir programs during that time. 

In 2002, Ms. Solberg was offered a position in the Whitefish School District teaching middle school choir and 5th and 6th grade general music classes, and began instruction at the North Valley Music School.  The arts environment in the community and the school district was rich with support; Ms. Solberg saw an opportunity, seized on it, and began an orchestra program in the middle school with a grant from the Whitefish Credit Union for the purchase of 30 violins.  The rest, as they say (hopefully!) is history!  The orchestra program blossomed, moving into the high school in 2004, and students have gone on to study, teach and share their music in college and beyond.   

Ms. Solberg was recognized by Yale University as one of 50 Distinguished Music Educators in the United States, and in 2021 was recognized by the National Federation of High Schools as Montana’s Outstanding Music Educator.  Her commissioned compositions for chamber ensembles, solo piano, and elementary school orchestras have been performed nationwide – with more to come!   

Ms. Solberg serves now as organist at All Saints Episcopal Church and is the founder of and Artistic Director of Camp Festival Amadeus, and performs still with the Glacier Symphony – all while happily retired. Two sons and their families, two grandchildren and two parents are all nearby…and life is very good indeed! 

Rachel Weil - Philadelphia, PA

 

Dan Sharkey (Secretary) - New York City

Dan Sharkey (Broadway, TV and Commercial Actor/Director) is a graduate of Bozeman Senior High and Montana State University, He currently resides in New York City.

Dan is an alumni of The Virginia City Players, Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Fort Peck Theater, Missoula Children’s Theater, and the Montana Rep. He has appeared on Broadway in; Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark, Amazing Grace, The Bridges of Madison County, Susan Stroman’s The Music Man, and Hal Prince’s ShowBoat on London’s West End.

National Tours include: Tommy Tune’s Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Marie Osmond’s Sound of Music. Dan plays villain Avery Duggans in Grand Theft Auto 5 Diamond Casino and played Herb Crocker on HBOs award-winning Boardwalk Empire.

He is proud to sit on the board of Amazing Place Music as it brings incredible artists to the Flathead Valley to share their lives, stories and of course, their amazing talents.

Jeff Giles - Los Angeles, CA

Jeff Giles (Executive Hollywood Editor - Vanity Fair) was a contributing editor at the title in addition to serving as a contract writer for The New York Times prior to taking on the newly created full-time position. 

Giles will turn his focus on entertainment coverage across Vanity Fair’s platforms, which include the magazine, the website’s HWD section and the Awards Extra special editions, assigning and editing as he oversees the bureau.

Prior to his work with Vanity Fair, Giles was a long-time editor at Entertainment Weekly from 2006 to 2014. He oversaw the movies team and book coverage during his time with EW. Giles was a senior editor at Newsweek and held editorial positions at Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.

Don Harvell (Treasurer) - Whitefish, Montana

Don Harvell (Finance, Retired) is a University of Arkansas  scholarship football athlete, BSBA Finance, and Real Estate grad. He worked for various banking and mortgage banking institutions in Alabama and Arkansas, including Collateral Mortgage, LTD, Birmingham, AL, New South Federal Saving Bank, Birmingham, AL, New South Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Branch, Fayetteville, AR and The Bank of Fayetteville, N.A. Roles varied from Management Trainee, Warehouse Credit Lines Manager, Loan Officer, Branch Manager, and VP of Mortgage Lending.

Today, Don supports his spouse's corporate career. He keeps the home fires burning and the finances churning while she works remotely. He's a jack of all trades and enjoys working home projects. Don also enjoys the Montana outdoors; hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing and, most importantly, downhill snow skiing.

Greg James, M.D. - Nashville, Tennessee

Greg graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his internship in Internal Medicine and the University of Tennessee Hospital. He completed his residency in Neurology, serving as Chief Resident, at the University of Alabama Hospitals. Greg holds an MBA from Auburn University and is currently part of the Ascension Health Leadership Academy.

Greg has been on the medical staff of St. Vincent’s since 1995, serving on the Medical Executive, Ethics, Education, Clinical Care, Service Excellence, Planning and Utilization Review Committees. He chaired the Peer Review Committee and served as Medical Staff Secretary/Treasurer prior to assuming the role of Chief Medical Officer in 2010. He maintained a private Neurology practice from 1995 to 2010 with Newton and James Neurology Associates in Birmingham.

As Chief Medical Officer for St. Vincent’s, he had direct oversight for Medical Affairs, Clinical Excellence, Case Management, Risk, Clinical IT and the St. Vincent’s Physician Alliance. Greg also served as system lead for the Healing Without Harm initiative and presided over two successful CME accreditations. Greg has completed the Ascension Health Mission and Mentoring program and has been active in medical staff formation efforts.

Greg is a diplomat of the American Academy of Neurology and a member of the American College of Physician Executives. He is on the advisory board for Birmingham-Southern College and serves as a pre-med mentor for the College. He is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham.