Hoosier Star 2020 Committee Members

Liliana Ake

Liliana Ake has been a committee member for three years!

Her long time passion for music started in her native Russia where she studied piano since she was 7 years old. Liliana holds Masters Degrees in Linguistics and Education Administration. She is a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker 1st Choice and loves helping people. She has traveled to many countries including her recent trip to Tanzania helping with the construction of the Zinga Polyclinic.

Diana Blair

Diana has been a Committee member for four years and a major contributor in the assistance of tech and support for Hoosier STAR! Diana is a retired school teacher and holds a degree in Computer Sciences from Ivy Tech. She is an avid Yogi and loves to read.

Cherri Blair-Drayton

Cherri has been chairperson four years for Hoosier STAR! Cherri is honored and so proud of all of her committee members. They work hard and volunteer their time to make Hoosier STAR a successful event. Please enjoy the series of posts highlighting each member.  Her background is Program Specialist For the La Porte County Public Library planning events for all ages, purchasing books and conducting story-times. All this experience helps her plan the Hoosier STAR Event. Hoosier STAR Vocal Competition is an exciting event and wonderful platform to showcase the incredible talent that we find from all over the state of Indiana and Southwest Michigan. Please tune in to watch our event live this year on September 12. See HoosierSTAR.com for details. We are Hoosier STAR STRONG!

Greta Stirling Friedman

Greta is a native of LaPorte, a Slicer and graduate of Bates College in Lewiston Maine and Valparaiso Law School. Her earliest memories are of listening to every Broadway musical and memorizing the lyrics. As a child of two musicians and educators it was one of our favorite things to do. Greta’s first singing experience was as Gretel in “The Sound Of Music” along side her mother, Jayne Westphal as Maria.

Greta has appeared in numerous musicals and plays in the last 25 years in local theater. Her role as Peter in “Peter Pan gave her the unique perspective of singing while flying in the air. Much harder than it looks and it gave her a whole new appreciation of Mary Martin! While a huge challenge it was fun for her to share the stage with her two children who were part of the wonderful cast. For several years Greta has had the privilege of singing with the Praise Team at the First United Methodist Church with some truly talented musicians.

She has participated in Hoosier Star on several occasions as an Audition Judge and describes it as uplifting and joyful. “The level of talent we see in this remarkable competition is incredible. Every year I say that it was the best year yet….until the next year. It just keeps improving each year. The leadership, vision and talent of those who put on this competition each year is dedicated to encouraging young singers and is second to none.” ” It is an honor to be working with James Nearly and the other remarkable members like Cherri and Tim and the board to see that this competition continues even in this challenging time….we need music perhaps more than ever!”

Jackie Hart

My passion and love for music began at a young age of 5. My parents Richard and Diana bought me a Grinnell Brother’s piano. I was so excited, I started taking piano lessons immediately.

My parents encouraged me musically, they’d often ask me to play for them. They enjoyed when I played offering much praise and encouragement.

I played piano for my Father’s church in Denham Indiana. I played at weddings my Father performed, and in Nursing homes. Our entire family would participate. I played piano, mom played guitar, my Father, sister’s, and brother would sing. I remember the joy it would bring to the nursing home folks as we performed. They tapped their feet, nodded their heads, some would hum, some danced in their seats. Our family enjoyed ministering together through the music ministry.

Today I do not play as often as I’d like. My love for music whether playing or listening to talented individuals remains constant.

I’m excited for this years contestants! Once again we have an amazing line up of talent. I’m so proud to be a part of such an important organization that promotes and recognizes Great and Amazing talent!

Tim King

Seven years ago, when I moved into the La Porte area, I never dreamed that I would be so involved with this wonderful Orchestra. After having lived in Louisville and been involved with The Louisville Orchestra for so many years as well as soloing with a number of orchestras across the country, I was skeptical about hearing the LCSO. My first experience was the 2013 Hoosier Star event. I remember being so impressed with the sound and quality of the Orchestra and also impressed that creative minds came up with this wonderful idea of Hoosier Star! Now in our 15th year and still producing talent, it is such a joy to work with the finalists every year (our emcee, Jeremiah Mellen, won the 2013 Hoosier Star!) as well as our incredibly talented musicians. Long live Hoosier Star!

Jane Langford

Most recently I have enjoyed being a part of the LCSO board and participating in many of the board activities including Hoosier Star. I am married almost 59 years and we have raised three children as well as teaching 20 years.

Stephanie Murphy

Suzan Wade

Lorrie Feldt

Michele Magnuson