2022 – 2023 NASMD Board of Directors
CJ Averwater is President of Amro Music Stores in Memphis, Tennessee. He represents the fourth generation at Amro, a company founded in 1921 by his great-grandfather, Mil. CJ began working at Amro during school breaks in 1992 and has since worked in every facet of the business, including credit and collections, accounting, repair, sales and management. He received a bachelor of arts in business and economics from Hendrix College and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi. He has served as president of the NAMM Young Professionals group, and on the NAMM Presidents Council. CJ is a guitar and trumpet player. He and his wife, Heather, have two children.
Paul Finke is Vice President of Willis Music (est. 1899), a full-line retailer with five locations in Greater Cincinnati and Lexington, KY making major strides in the school music marketplace. He joined Willis 35 years ago as an order filler, then worked the retail floor, began buying nearly everything for the company and is now in charge of selling everything his team buys. Paul also oversees the piano and school service divisions. He loves the outdoors, riding his road bike, coaching baseball, being very active in his church and playing drums with a wel- known German band that tours regionally during Oktoberfest season. Paul and Debbie have been married 30 years and are devoted to raising their five children.
Tristann Rieck is the second generation owner of Brass Bell Music Store in Milwaukee, WI for over 30 years and recently celebrated the store’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
Outside of Brass Bell, Tristann shares her love of music by playing french horn in seven area community orchestras and bands throughout the year. Bird watching and indoor gardening has become a source of calm for her while navigating the challenges of the pandemic. Currently, her sunroom/home office now has over 50 different species of plants and it’s still growing! Tristann and her husband, Dr. Zack the veterinarian, have 3 cat babies – Pippin (their super shy, safari cat) and two adorable black kitty brothers, D’artangan and Braveheart.
The violin has been a part of Rick Thacker‘s life since he started private lessons at age three. He has played in many ensembles, most notably as concertmaster for the Advanced Ensemble at the Chicago School of Violin Making. Rick has also received teacher training in the Suzuki Method and has taught for nearly two decades. Rick is a certified luthier with a degree in Violin Making & Repair from the Chicago School of Violin Making. He has built several fine instruments, including the violin he gifted to his wife, Elizabeth, on their wedding day. Rick and Elizabeth own Plum Grove Music in Hebron, Indiana, and enjoy their five children, Kenneth, Adelyn, Michael, Caleb and Aubrey, age 7 and under!
Cris Behrens is the GM for Summerhays Music Center. Cris began working with Summerhays Music Center 27 years ago at the age of 19. He earned a degree in band instrument repair from Red Wing and spent his first five years at Summerhays repairing instruments. After catching the sales bug, Cris attended Utah Valley University for business and accounting. Cris served on the Utah Wind Symphony board, three years with NAMMYP and three years with NASMD. Cris has three kids and two grand kids. He enjoys playing in the ocean and snowboarding, and he came in fifth place at the Utah hot dog eating finals.
Jeremy McQuearyis the President of Paige’s Music in Indianapolis, IN. Jeremy began working at Paige’s in 1998 as a part-time sale associate and has held multiple positions before being named president in 2018. He received a B.S. in Marketing in Management from the IU Kelly School of Business and an M.B.A. from Indiana Institute of Technology. Jeremy has served as president of the NAMM Young Professionals as well as serving on the AIMM advisory board. He plays bass, sax, and is an avid motorcyclist. He and his wife, Erin have two sons.
John Tarpley is Secretary of Tarpley Music Company, a full line retailer with six locations in Texas and New Mexico. Tarpley Music was established in 1927 by his great-grandmother Clara Tarpley. John is a fourth-generation owner and has worked in the music business since he could walk. He has an accounting degree from Texas Tech University. John has previously served on the NAMM and NASMD boards. John and his wife Shelli have raised three boys, the oldest now represents the fifth generation to work in the family’s business. After coaching more youth basketball games than he can count, John and Shelli now enjoy traveling, concerts, hiking and swinging the occasional golf club.
Ryan West is executive vice president of West Music, based in Coralville, Iowa with seven retail locations in Iowa and Illinois. Ryan is the third generation to be part of West Music, founded in 1941 by Pearl West. West Music services local Iowa communities through their stores and school music representatives, as well as through their national music education catalog, wholesale business, and international distribution companies. Ryan serves on a number of boards including Theatre Cedar Rapids, the TEAM, and Theater Mitu (theatre companies based in New York) as well as the Iowa City Area Business Partnership. He enjoys spending time with his wife Amanda and their children, Eva and River, and playing the piano, and is currently learning the ukulele.