The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Inc. (GRCPAC), is the result of a decade long effort that began as The Alternate Root, a simple operation with modest goals. The Alternate Root was created with a mission to keep traditional American Roots music alive and thriving for future generations, and to advocate for the composers, producers and performers creating what we believe to be the most forward thinking and vital music offered in America and around the world.
In 2007 we began to document our work on film, developing Alternate Root TV. We produced a weekly program distributed to over 275 Cable Access Channels around the country, in the UK and Canada. In the process of filming music and interviewing players, we were consistently exposed to and discovering a diverse group of artists who are creating and performing some of the most powerful and relevant music around; music we crave. So many of the artists we filmed are independent -under-served by the mainstream music business and under the radar of a public starved for authentic sound. We decided to expand our effort so as to share the "live" experience we were having as film-makers and documentarians, inviting a small studio audience of like-minded fans to attend the filming, creating The Extended Play Sessions experience.
What has emerged out of our original mission is a community of people over 2500 strong; kindred spirits who have joined our mission and grown with us in appreciation of American Roots music. What began with the simple desire to create a shared musical and educational experience, has evolved into an unexpected, intentional community engaged in something much greater and more significant than we ever imagined.
In March of 2017 the Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center non-profit corporation was formed. Our goal is to continue providing our home grown intentional community with The Extended Play Sessions experience, while bringing our collective passion and expertise to a wider community in order to foster creative partnerships, and advance a greater understanding and appreciation of traditional American Roots music.
The Building Blocks
Bill Hurley - Executive Director
A 40 year veteran of the music industry, Bill spent 15 years as Regional Promotion Manager for Atlantic Records, served as President of 95North Records and is the founder of The Alternate Root Magazine, one of the largest advocacy vehicles for American Roots music in the US. He is also the founder of The Extended Play Sessions where he serves as producer, editor and director and has interviewed over 400 artists for The Extended Play Sessions. He is an avid music collector and lifelong music lover.
Maribeth Arena - Board President
Maribeth Arena earned degrees from Harvard University in Art History and Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She has been working as a clinical social worker in a non-profit setting for over 25 years with a focus in community mental health, promoting the well-being of a diverse group of individuals, families, and groups. A lover of art, music, and performance; she is an amateur singer-songwriter herself, and a member of The Extended Play Sessions film and production crew.
Steve Kitay - Board Vice President
Steve Kitay is an IT and operations project manager with many years experience primarily in the financial services industry. His expertise also extends into building and construction. He served as an Officer in the Sharon Rotary Club and has been an advocate for many charitable causes and non-profit organizations. He’s been part of the Extended Play Sessions staff for the past 3 years. Steve is a huge music lover and part-time bartender.
Abigail Marsters - Board Clerk
Abigail Marsters is the Executive Director of The Sharon Cooperative School, a 501c3, serving 62 preschool families. Her skills include maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with the Board of Directors, managing the school’s operations while implementing the organization’s strategic imperatives. Key initiatives include state licensing and national accreditation, non-profit financial compliance, regulatory compliance with DPH, DFA, DEEC and IRS.
Ellen Snyder - Board Treasurer
Ellen Snyder is a Law Firm Manager for Kates & Barlow, PC in downtown Boston. During her eight years there, she also served as a board member for the Association of Legal Administrators/Boston chapter. Ellen has forty years of experience in the accounting industry both public and private, including being an independent consultant. She is a lifetime music lover who in 2016 decided to pursue her passion of learning to play the keyboard.
Johnny Erickson - Board Member
Johnny Erickson is a member of the Hilltop Society of The Friends of the Blue Hills, a Board member of The Narrows Center for The Arts in Fall River Ma, a member of The Fall River Historical Society, and a Patron member of the Many Hopes Home and School in Mtwapa, Kenya. Johnny is a supporter of many local bands and his business, Sunrise Erectors of Canton MA , supports many organizations including The New England Conservatory of Music.
Eric Nordstrom - Board Member
Eric Nordstrom is part of the Extended Play Sessions team that formed the foundations of the Grass Roots Organization. Reserved, and soft-spoken, Eric is often the calming force during hectic times. 100 plus shows and three years later, Eric is now Sound Technician for the studio. His job includes working with the artists on their stage setup, mic techniques for live taping, and gear maintenance. He is also sometimes called upon to whip up his "killer" fresh salsa!
Leo Waters - Board Member
For the last 20 years, Leo has supplied carpentry and remodeling services in Eastern Mass as A&L Fine Carpentry. Previously he was a golf course superintendent with responsibility for daily golf operations at a private golf course in Canton, Mass. He also serves on the board of directors for two other non-profit organizations: Sharon Friends of Conservation and Fair Environment Corp./ Friends of Prowse Farm.
Rick Smith - Board Member
An avid collector of music and music memorabilia, Rick is a married father of three girls. He came to us a couple years ago as a volunteer and is now one of the pivotal members of our staff. He’s the buildings manager for Norwood Bank and an all around fix-it guy for our studio. He started as a volunteer and quickly became one of the extended play sessions most valued assets handling lights and effects for the studio.
Stephen Dill - Board Member
Seasoned digital marketing expertise mixed with a lifelong appreciation of music and a strong history of building communities, Stephen Dill is a connector of people, a promoter of causes and events, and an active participant in the creation of this and other non-profits to benefit people. From 2011-17 Stephen served as the Marketing Manager for Wheelock College, a long-time Social Media Marketing Consultant and the first VP of Interactive Marketing for State Street.