A. Alyce Claerbaut presently holds the position of President, Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. since 2010.   In this role she, along with other Board members, interacts with music publishers, producers and educators, particularly in jazz, to manage the rights and perpetuation of the Billy Strayhorn catalog.

Ms. Claerbaut’s formal music training includes concentration in applied voice.  She has sung professionally in many types of setting–jazz, classical, art song, popular song, with a specialty in choral repertoire.

As a jazz advocate and promoter, Claerbaut served as the president of the Northeastern Illinois University Jazz Society and was co-founder of the Skokie Valley Jazz Ensemble. She has been involved in the arts scene primarily in Chicago with membership on grants panels for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and as a panel member for the Illinois Arts Council.  She served the Chicago Jazz Orchestra from 2003-2010, two years as Director of Public Relation an five years as Executive Director.  Her professional memberships include educational and artistic boards and organizations.

Ms. Claerbaut was named “Chicagoan of the Year” in Jazz in 2011 by the Chicago Tribune.  Her work as a jazz advocate and artistic manager was cited for this award.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I attended Point Park University. Employed by a local public power utility, I began a lengthy career in electric generation and then Nuclear Energy. Eventually, I worked at the Shippingport Power Station and later at the Beaver Valley Power Station. Supporting Nuclear Purchasing activities, my responsibilities focused on major Contract Administration activities involving plant maintenance nuclear service contracts.

During the mid 1990’s, my career interests and the development of a family organization (Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. “BSSI”) merged. I began to consider the legacy of my uncle, the late American historical composer, Billy Strayhorn. As our family organization continued to develop, my efforts to contribute in a meaningful way came to the forefront.

In 2009, the Board of Directors approved my position as Vice President. Critical to this responsibility was the need to write and clearly define BSSI contractual standards relative to our corporate boiler plate. I ultimately developed and processed various revisited & new administrative agreements & contracts.

As a BSSI board member, my assessment of numerous BSSI solicitations for various potential business interests (some sanctioned by our Corporate Legal counsel) has enhanced our collective decision making process. Ultimately, contractual interpretations/assessments, evaluation of conclusions and final implementation are validated by the consensus of BSSI Board leadership.

Leslie M. Demus is heavily invested in community service. She is a former trustee of the New Rochelle Public Library and currently on the board of the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation and the New Rochelle Council on the Arts. Ms. Demus serves on the board of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc., a music publishing company, and is president of The Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to celebrating the music and life of composer, arranger, and pianist Billy Strayhorn.

Ms. Demus is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University School of Law. She spent almost 20 years in advertising and was a Vice President/Senior Attorney at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Ms. Demus met her husband, Ralph C. Dawson, in law school. They have two sons.

John C. Strayhorn attended the University of Pittsburgh where he earned bachelor of science in psychology and master of arts in education. He has been employed with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for more than thirty-two years where he has held numerous positions throughout his tenure with Goodyear’s North American Operations.
Strayhorn has served on the board of directors of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. for more than five years and currently serves as treasurer.

Gregory A. Morris, Ph.D. is a retired educator having served as Director of Reading and Literature for the Pittsburgh Public Schools and later as an Associate Professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.

Dr. Morris earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Gregory’s commitment to community service is exemplified by his service and leadership on numerous Boards of Directors such as Pace School, Schenley Heights Community Development Program and The Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, just to name a few. He has always been actively involved it church. Currently he serves on the Men’s Ministry of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church.

At the request of his uncle, William Thomas Strayhorn (aka Billy Strayhorn), Gregory became the Executor of his uncle’s estate in 1967 and continues to serve in that capacity. He worked with his family members, Billy Strayhorn’s heirs, to become incorporated as a family-owned corporation in 1996, known as Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. He became the corporation’s first President and remains active on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Morris is married to Thelma Lovette Morris and has three children and two grandchildren.

 

Galen Demus, nephew of Billy Strayhorn, joined the Board of Directors for Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc., in 2005. Galen has worked in the area of jazz education, promoting the legacy of Billy Strayhorn though several music-centered initiatives. Galen started the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship Award in 2008 and has played a pivotal role in coordinating and participation of Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation in the annual Jazz Education Network Conference (JEN), solidifying the musical and historical presence of Billy Strayhorn to an audience of middle school thru college level students, jazz educators and professional music artists both in the United States and abroad.