Torrey steps down after 30 years

After 30 years of service on the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC), Joyce Torrey has decided it’s time to pass the paintbrush to someone new.

During her tenure on the RAAC, she helped launch the Rogue River Blues Series, Celtic Fest, the Rockford Creative Arts Center, Rogue River Artists Association and the Rogue River Community Theater. She has received recognitions from the City of Rockford and Kent County for her efforts.

RAAC unanimously elected Kayle Clements to fill Torrey’s seat as president of the commission, effective October 1. Clements, a local musician and founder of Clementunes, has been a member of the commission for the past two years and organized this year’s Art in the Park event with his wife Suzy, also a commission member.

Clements is involved in the arts throughout West Michigan, working with the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys; Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp; Actors, Civic and Circle theatres; and area high schools. He was a finalist in both the 2009 Great American Song Contest and the Great Lakes Song Contest and has just released “Simple Pleasures,” a piano jazz compilation of new and classic music.

And although she’s no longer president, Torrey is not quite through with her service for the arts. She was elected president emeritus of RAAC for a term of one year.

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