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It all began with a festival in Manchester launched by two musicians,

Carol & Mark Palms.


Behind the Scenes


Carol Wells Palms, Interim President  - a classically trained string player who captures the heart of traditional music without letting go of high musical standards. She taught orchestra in Ann Arbor public schools and continues to play in several ensembles including The Raisin Pickers. Carol is currently Chair of the Manchester Gazebo Concert Committee as well as serving on the Cultural Art Strings Committee and the Blacksmith Shop Concert Committee.


James HortonJim Joined Riverfolk in 2017. Resides in rural, near-by Lodi Township. An art teacher in his working career, now a letterpress printer, engraver and a long-time enthusiast of folk tradition. Riverfolk is a good fit for serving the community with traditional values. Longtime volunteer and supporter of RMAO.


Elaine Osterbur, Board Secretary - Elaine is a Music Education graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and did graduate work in Austin, Texas at the University of Texas.  She has been a member of the violin sections of the Columbus Symphony, Evansville Symphony and the Rochester Symphony.  She is now a semi-retired private studio violin teacher.  Elaine has taught workshops for students and teachers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  In addition, she has been on the faculty of Blue Lake Family Camp for the past 32 Years, utilizing her training in the Suzuki Method. Elaine and her husband moved to Manchester four years ago where she has enjoyed her connections with the Cultural Arts Strings program and its talented staff.

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Rowena Villarias, Rowena considers herself a citizen of the world after a childhood spent in Asia and attending to a multi-cultural and multi-racial patient population in her medical career. She was born and raised in the Philippines and emigrated to the US at age 17 with her parents and two siblings. She graduated with a Bachelors in Nursing from Elmhurst College, Illinois in 1980 and initiated a career in Women's Health. Her employment as a nurse at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, spurred her to learn Spanish and spend a month sabbatical in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. She became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 1987 and relocated to the Detroit area to join the growing Midwifery practice at Hutzel Hospital DMC in Detroit. She joined other practices for a short time and completed her career as a Women's Health Practitioner with the Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood. 

She loves all aspects of the Humanities and specifically Music and would love to contribute to music education of young people. She is an avid gardener, baker/ kitchen tinkerer, and loves the fiber arts. (Her workshop is the fiber arts wing of the house!) She has an adult son, Rafael. She lives happily in the cabin in the woods with doting husband, Jim Horton, and Roscoe, the Halloween cat


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Mark Palms, Dance, Manchester Coordinator - educator and musician taught himself to play fiddle, banjo, and accordion. He founded the award-winning string band The Raisin Pickers and more recently the Cajun group, Creole du Nord. Mark continues to honor the legacy of traditional masters, sharing what he’s learned at festivals, concerts, and camps. Mark and Carol founded the Riverfolk Festival in 2001 and the nonprofit Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization in 2004. 

Riverfolk Music and Arts does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. Our programs have historically supported the engagement of our community through the exploration of cultural diversity. We recognize that this does not in itself confirm we are  equitable and inclusive of all individuals. We are, therefore, committed to educating ourselves to understand and strive to be an equitable and inclusive organization from administrative leadership to contracting employees to serving our community.

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