The Naples Music Club was incorporated in 1965 and became a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs in 1996. The founders were Tom Truesdale (President & Director), Grace Truesdale (Vice President & Director), and G.E. Carroll (Secretary-Treasurer & Director). In Tom Truesdale's first message to the 50 members of the Club, he noted that the organization had a challenging goal, stating "The National and State Federation of Music Clubs offers an extensive program of awards and scholarships to further the advancement of young people with outstanding talent in any chosen field of music. As a federated club, it is our duty to open wide this door of opportunity. Among other goals, let this be our primary goal."
The organization moved rapidly to fill the music vacuum in Naples scheduling monthly concerts and broadcasting a 90-minute radio program of classical musical music over WNFM four times a week. From these humble beginnings grew a Foundation whose work helped hundreds of students of merit and need achieve their musical dreams and aspirations.
Today, the Foundation provides numerous programs, including private music lessons to economically disadvantaged students, piano programs and master classes. We also continue to host an Annual Scholarship Competition that is one of the areas most prestigious awards for local students.
We invite you to learn more and join us in this most worthy mission!
Naples - 1965
Joe Duffy is President of the Foundation and was elected in 2022. Prior to retiring in 2018, Joe was a Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he served on the leadership team for the Advisory business. His roles included US Strategy & Consulting Leader, where he led the Firm’s acquisition strategies. Since retiring, Joe has been an active member of the musical community in Naples, having performed with the Naples Concert band as a soloist and Concert Master, the Naples Community Orchestra, and the Bonita Springs Concert Band. This year, Joe established the Symphonic Winds of SW Florida, a 35 member ensemble of adult musicians focusing on wind orchestra repertoire.
Wendy Willis is Vice President of the Foundation, and was elected in 2023. A native of Michigan, Wendy teaches and performs on both modern and historical flutes and recorders. She has served on the faculties of numerous colleges and universities, most notably the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College (Indiana), and has been a guest lecturer in baroque flute at Florida State University. She has won numerous competitions through the National Flute Association, performing on the flute, baroque flute and piccolo. As a freelance flutist, Willis has performed with orchestras throughout Michigan, Indiana and Florida including the Naples Philharmonic, SW Florida Symphony, 5th Ave Chamber Orchestra, Gulf Shore Opera, Opera Naples, the Charlotte Symphony and the Miami Baroque Society. Wendy is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance, holds a Masters of Music in historical performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and completed an additional year of study at the Royal Northern College of Music in England
Ron Zagel is a successful entrepreneur and owner of the Jonathan Stevens Mattress Company (JSMC), which he has owned since 1972. Since taking the helm of JSMC, has thrived and prospered in West Michigan, with 5 stores in the Grand Rapids area as well as Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Holland, Michigan.
A small business owner of over 46 years, Ron serves as our Treasurer. Ron also serves as the Treasurer of the American Tinnitus Association. Ron's previous experience includes serving on national boards in the furniture and mattress industry, and is the current treasurer of two different condominium associations.
Jaclyn is a marketing and communications specialist with significant experience in the not-for-profit world. Her media experience includes stints at WBBH and WTHI-TV in Southwest Florida, and communications and marketing director for the American Heart Association. Currently, Jacqueline is the Media Relations Manager for Lee Health. Jaclyn brings a wealth of strategic marketing and communications insight to the Board of MFGN.
Laura Ferranti earned her B.M.E. and M.M. degrees from Louisiana State University. Her music teaching experience includes 7 years as a music specialist in Baton Rouge, LA, Miamisburg, OH, The Village School and First Baptist Academy in Naples, FL. She served as Assistant Professor of Music at Cedarville University for 3 years where her responsibilities included teaching courses in elementary music education, aural skills, supervising student teachers, and serving as the faculty advisor for the collegiate chapter of Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Laura also holds Level 1 certification in Orff-Schulwerk from Miami University and is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
Laura’s operatic performances include the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Bertha in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the Principessa in Suor Angelica, as well as a season at the esteemed Ohio Light Opera Company, and several seasons with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston.
Laura is sought after music director in the Naples area and has directed several musicals at local theaters (Naples Performing Arts Center and Gulfshore Playhouse) and high schools (Seacrest Country Day School and First Baptist Academy) including All Shook Up, 13 The Musical, West Side Story, School of Rock, Grease, Newsies, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins JR, Matilda, Frozen JR, Anastasia, Cinderella, and Chicago.
Laura has been married to her husband, Dr. Taylor Ferranti, for 22 years, and they have two children, Mia (13) and Leo (9). Together Laura and Taylor own the Vocal Ring Studio where they teach private voice lessons.
Julie received her BA in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado, studied Computer Science and Accounting at University of Denver. She plays piccolo and flute in the Naples Concert Band where she has been a featured artist on both instruments, Co-Principal for Naples Community Orchestra, Piccolo for Symphonic Winds of SW Florida, a member of Flute Cocktail flute choir, Piccolo 2022 and 2023 for WAWOP (World Adult Wind Orchestra Program in Schladming, Austria), 1st Piccolo for the 2018 National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir. Past Piccolo/2nd Flute for the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Opera Naples, Port Charlotte Symphony, Arvada Symphony, Bonita Springs Concert Band, and the ALRY Flute Choir. She was also a member of the National Flute Choir, recording 8 CD’s. Past Exhibits Chair for the Florida Flute Festival, and Exhibitor with ALRY Publications at the National Flute Association Convention for over 20 years. Julie is also the Assistant Director for the Wildacres Flute Masterclass, and freelances with various groups in southwest Florida.
Cathy Pflieger comes to Southwest Florida from upstate New York. She attended Ithaca College and received her Music Education degree from Fredonia State University of New York. She began her teaching career with the choral and orchestra program at West Canada Valley Central in New York State in 1984.
In 1985, Mrs. Pflieger moved to Bonita Springs, Florida. Cathy is a retired music educator from the Collier County Public School System (1987-2019).
She has served as District Chairman for the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) and has conducted area county festivals both in New York and Florida. Mrs. Pflieger also conducted the Sinfonietta Youth Orchestra in Fort Myers from 1999-2001. Mrs. Pflieger, a violinist, performed with the Southwest Florida Symphony and Punta Gorda Symphony for several years. At present, she teaches private lessons, is a Pre-K teacher for the MusicScores Violin/Literacy Program in Naples and a String Consultant for the Collier County Public Schools. She continues to participate in freelance violin work and plays with the Naples Community Orchestra. She lives in Estero, FL continuing her part-time work along with enjoying time with her family.
Tom Todd was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1967, and throughout his career, he specialized in business and corporate (securities) law including mergers and acquisitions. Before retiring from active practice, Tom was an attorney with Reed Smith LLP, an international network of attorneys. Tom currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Tom brings a wealth of legal and arts experience to the Board of MFGN.
Valerie Esnes comes to us from Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Fredonia State College and her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook, she studied with David Glazer.
Mrs. Esnes taught Elementary and Middle School Band for 32 years in the South Country School District, Bellport, NY. Other duties included directing an elementary Jazz Ensemble, conducting a Middle School Clarinet Choir , becoming a certified NYSSMA judge ( evaluating student musicians) . She also maintained a private clarinet studio and was a member of the Atlantic Wind Symphony, a group of professional musicians who made their Carnegie Hall Debut in 1998.
Mrs. Esnes’ time is now spent between Bonita Springs, Florida and Charlotte, Vermont. While in Florida, she plays clarinet in the Southwest Florida Winds, the Naples Concert Band and the Bonita Springs Concert Band. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, Pilates, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Dr. Taylor Ferranti earned an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, a master's degree in Vocal Performance from the Boston Conservatory, and a doctoral degree in Vocal Performance & Voice Science from Louisiana State University. He also holds the Certificate of Vocology from the National Center for Voice and Speech in Denver, CO. Dr. Ferranti is an accomplished vocal pedagogue, singer, pianist, and conductor. A versatile musician, he has sung leading tenor roles in opera and musical theater, has served as music director in several churches, and even had an opportunity to sing backup vocals for pop-star, Billy Joel.
Currently, Dr. Ferranti serves as an Associate Professor of Music & Department Chair at Ave Maria University. He is also the current Vice President of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Tampa Bay Chapter). Along with his wife, Laura, he runs a successful vocal studio in Naples called The Vocal Ring.
I moved to Naples 23 years ago from Northern Virginia. I have a BS in Finance from George Mason University and hold a Chartered Financial Analyst ( CFA) designation. I worked at Freddie Mac and the DC Retirement Board before leaving to be a full-time Mom.
I have played the piano for over 50 years. I joined the Crescendos piano group of MFGN over 10 years ago. Being a member of this group has challenged me to learn more difficult repertoire and to play in ensembles. I served on the MFGN board from 2018-2020 and was Chair of the Haegg Committee.
I have passed on my love of classical music to my two children. Christopher, my oldest son, was an accomplished pianist. He was a winner at the MFGN scholarship competition every year that he was eligible. My youngest son, Joshua, is a cello major at the University of Miami. He is a senior this year and hopes to win an orchestra job when he graduates. He also participated in the MFGN competition every year with the exception of his senior year during Co-vid. I enjoy accompanying Joshua on the cello.
I am passionate about music and would be honored to serve on the MFGN Board.
Beth Smith is Past President and Secretary of the Music Foundation of Greater Naples. Her career experience includes Mellon Bank, Bryant & Stratton Business Institute, Reserve Petroleum Company and Oxford Development Company. Beth has been very active in the past with several not-for-profits, including Benedum Center for the Arts, Fox Chapel District Association, Perennial Garden Club, Pittsburgh Fund for Arts Education, Shady Side Academy Board, Moorings Property Owners Association Board, Women's Giving Circle of Naples, and the Naples United Church Choir. We are pleased to have the benefit of Beth's time and talent with MFGN.
Lorraine has been a lifelong Music Educator and Band Director, having taught in suburban Chicago (Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Schaumburg) Illinois for 32+ years teaching grades 5-8. Lorraine received a BS in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and a Masters degree from Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. An accomplished musician, Lorraine performs as a Clarinetist and woodwind doubler on Flute and Saxophone playing in many community bands and orchestras plus the pit orchestra for local theater groups. After retiring in 2018, she and her husband, Ken, split their time between Naples and Ramsey MN during the summer months. In retirement, Lorraine enjoys playing with the Naples Concert Band, Naples Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonic Winds of Southwest Florida, as well as singing and playing clarinet and flute with the Emmanuel Lutheran Church choir.