Serving Southwest Florida Music Students since 1991

The Music Foundation of Southwest Florida, Inc.

The Music Foundation of SW Florida aims to enrich and transform the lives of young people by igniting and nurturing the life long joy of making music.

The Music Foundation of Southwest Florida is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting interest in the musical arts among young people through summer camps, a traveling instrument program that brings instruments to all Lee County elementary schools, and through grants and scholarship programs.  Tax ID:  650264107

The Music Foundation of Southwest Florida Board of Directors -  2019 

Ruth Christman, Executive Director - Ruth is very active as both a performer and teacher throughout South Florida.

She has performed with The Florida Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra,

The Charlotte Symphony, Opera Naples and the Southwest Florida Symphony. She has also performed with Johnny Mathis,

Bebe Newirth, Bernadette Peters, Indina Menzel, James Taylor, Olivia Newton John, Clay Aiken and Michael Bolton.

As a teacher, she maintains a private studio of students and is an adjunct faculty member of Florida Southwestern State College.

She is also very active with The Music Foundation of Southwest Florida, of which she is the Executive Director. In 2010 she

was awarded the Angel of the Arts - Arts Organization Leader of the Year.

Ruth earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Concordia University and her Master’s degree in Oboe Performance

from Northwestern University. She also has a Professional Studies degree in Oboe Performance from The Harid Conservatory in

Boca Raton, Florida,  now currently Lynn University.  Prior to moving to Florida, Ruth was also active as a teacher and performer in

the Chicago area -  where she was born and raised. She has performed all throughout the United States as well as in Germany,

Austria, Taiwan, and Japan.

William Dawson, Past President​ - William Dawson, is an alumnus of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where

he studied piano under world famed concert pianist, Rudolf Serkin. Bill  completed his graduate studies at Yale University.

He has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops and various other orchestras and has concertized as a soloist throughout the U.S.,

Europe, Asia and Latin America. He is Professor Emeritus at Miami Dade College and is a founder of the New World School of the

Arts in Miami. Dawson has been a Visiting Professor at universities in Central America and Mexico. He was commissioned

by the Southwest Florida Symphony to compose choral works and was named  Composer of the Year (2007) by the

Florida State Music Teachers Association. 

Stacey Gossmann ​-  Stacey Gossmann lives in Fort Myers, and plays the bassoon in three orchestras (Florida Southwestern State College, Gulf Coast Symphony and Naples Symphony), Florida Southwestern State College band and numerous ensembles.  She received her Masters of Music from Cleveland Institute of Music before embarking in the world of business.  She worked for Xerox for 15 years, during which time she got an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology before coming to Florida.  She never played the bassoon while working for Xerox, and in 2002 she started playing again, and has not stopped.  She also makes bassoon reeds for sale, teaches the bassoon, walks dogs and plays tennis.

Katherine Light, Secretary/Treasurer​ -  Katherine Light has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from 

Iowa State University and a Master of Music in Trombone Performance from the University of Michigan.  She taught

general and instrumental music in several school districts in central Iowa and was an adjunct professor of low brass

instruments at Drake University in Des Moines. She played trombone professionally in a variety of venues, including

playing 2nd trombone in the Des Moines Symphony for 25 years.  Since moving to the Fort Myers area in 2002,

Katherine taught general music in the Lee County Schools for 6 years.  She has continued to play the trombone

professionally in Southwest Florida.

Patrick Neuman, Past President- Patrick Neuman earned a Bachelors Degree in music from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters Degree in music from Northwestern University, and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.


 His accomplishments include:

  •  Middle and High School instrumental music teacher / director of bands for 14 years in Elgin, Illinois and Delavan, Wisconsin.
  •  Principal trumpet, Milwaukee Civic Orchestra and Elgin, IL and Beloit, WI Symphony Orchestras and free-lance performer

           in Wisconsin, Illinois,  Michigan and Florida.

  •  Led / administered music and fine arts programs in the Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo Michigan schools for 22 years.
  •  Principal of the Benton Harbor, MI Creative Arts Academy Magnet School, a US Dept. of Education Exemplary School.
  •  Music Education Consultant for Kalamazoo and South Haven Michigan Schools and for the Kalamazoo County Education

           For The Arts Program and arts  education grant writer.

  •  Regional chairperson for education programs sponsored by the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 

Currently Patrick is a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Education Committee, on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Florida Music Foundation, and President of the Island Towers Association Board of Directors. In addition he works for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, a summer fine arts camp in Michigan.

Dorothy Rodwell, PresidentDorothy earned her BA from SUNY at Fredonia in Voice and has enjoyed singing in ensembles

and solo concerts in Miami (Miami Grand Opera) and Fort Myers.  Music has played a key role in her life and that’s

why she is glad to contribute to the Music Foundation of SW Florida as a board member.  She is a licensed psychotherapist.  239-851-7166

Jason Thomashefsky -  Jason Thomashefsky is currently in his 7th year of teaching band, choir, and general music at

Rayma C. Page Elementary School.  He received his Bachelors of Arts in Jazz Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Education:

Subject Matter K-12 from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey in 2011.  He majored in saxophone in his tenure at

Rowan and also received credits in studying classical guitar.  Mr. Thomashefsky earned his

Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and Neuroscience from Nova Southeastern University

and he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Nova Southeastern University.

Social Media Coordinator - 2018

MORGAN PEPITONE - Morgan earned her Bachelor's degree at Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida where she

majored in Elementary Education.  She has been with the Lee County School District for over three years and teaches Special Education at

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School.  She previously served in the United States Army at the United States Military Academy in

West Point, New York.


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