Meet the Panelists & Opener for May’s BLOW YO HORN Events

Meet the Panelists & Opener for May’s BLOW YO HORN Events

At Age 12, Syreeta Thompson knew the trumpet was the instrument for her. It was the loudest in the band, a way to be heard far above the noise of Chicago’s busy streets. Now, music fans have been singing her praises for over a decade. Thompson’s “Winner” and “Evolution of a Winner” both debuted #1 in both jazz and gospel charts.

This May, Syreeta Thompson comes to Hopewell Theater for a film screening of her documentary, Blow Yo Horn!, on Thursday, May 12, followed by a live music performance on Saturday, May 14.

The film screening will be followed by a lively panel discussion featuring Syreeta Thompson herself, as well as international singer and Hopewell native Danielia Cotton, M’kina Tapscott of Artworks Trenton, and Elizabeth O’Connell-Ganges of Rutgers University. The live concert will be opened by the beloved local band, Mine Road!

Take a closer look at the events’ special guests below, and use the coupon code “JAZZY22” at checkout to waive online ticketing fees. The film event is Buy One, Get One Free!



Director and Musician

Syreeta Thompson, also known as the “Trumpet Lady,” is one of the greatest trumpet players in music.

She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and she holds a Masters Degree from NYU in film scoring, jazz composition, and arranging. She also has skillfully written six music curriculums for the East Orange School Districts and is a Master Music Educator with the New Jersey Education Association.

Amongst Thompson’s other projects she remains focused on paying it forward to the next generation of female musicians with a documentary entitled Blow Yo Horn: Making Music In a Man’s World. The documentary profiles female musicians, music producers, instrumentalists, and songwriters who have yet to have commercial success.



Hopewell Blues Band

Mine Road is a band born thanks to a vibrant local musical network. Members include Bill Flemer, John Timpane, Guy DeRosa, Chuggy Carter, Michelle Klein, and James Popik.

In 2019, longtime multi-instrumentalist Bill Flemer launched a series of Monday night music evenings at The Peasant Grill in Hopewell, NJ. Eventually, Bill dragged Michelle Klein – owner and baker at the restaurant – out of the kitchen to sing. Soon, an early version of Mine Road, called Michelle’s Blues Band, performed at The Peasant Grill and then landed a gig at Hopewell Theater as house band for Your Stage at Any Stage open mic events.

Drawing from various musical backgrounds and influences, the group enjoyed an immediate synergy, developing a repertoire of standards, blues, and torch songs with the occasional pop tune thrown into the mix. 

The band meets and rehearses regularly in an old farmhouse on Mine Road in beautiful Hopewell Township. Thus the name! There’s enough space to feel the music, and a friendly spirit you can feel on stage.



International Singer and Recording Artist

Danielia Cotton’s childhood was spent on the Sourland Mountain in Hopewell, NJ. Cotton comes from a music legacy. Her mother and aunts were all professional vocalists and music was in her blood. 

Cotton started performing in her teens. Early on she began veering away from the gospel and jazz/blues of her mother and aunts, finding greater allure in rock legends like AC/DC, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, and Todd Rundgren and soul and R&B royalty like Stevie Wonder and Donnie Hathaway. 

Cotton has crafted her own sound; an eclectic mix of the stuff that shaped her and the stuff that called her. Cotton’s magic is born of her ability to inhabit a song, to dwell in its rhythms and melodies, to live with the intricacies of its lyrical structure, and to emerge with an articulate proclamation of personal and social truths.



Executive Director of Artworks Trenton

M’kina Tapscott’s fifteen-year career in education, access, curation, and advocacy resonates with Artworks Trenton’s mission “to connect community, culture and creativity through the arts.” 

Beginning with her work as Director of Education and Programs at Project Row Houses, an art and social service development in Houston, TX, and continuing through education and outreach positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Tapscott has championed the primacy of art in building community and advancing social change. 

Tapscott has taught art history and studio art at all levels – most recently at the University of Houston and Houston Community College. A practicing artist, she holds an MFA from the University of Houston and a BFA from Texas State University.



Director of Student Success Initiatives, Rutgers University

Elizabeth O’Connell-Ganges is a higher education practitioner with thirty years of diverse experiences creating community and students’ sense of belonging, supporting retention, and facilitating students’ skill development for post-graduate success.

O’Connell-Ganges’ passion for advancing access and equity led to her development of mentoring programs for middle school students, initiatives for girls and women in math, science, and engineering, and grant-writing for a non-profit agency focused on racial and gender equity and women’s empowerment.

Her bachelor’s degree is from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, and her master’s degree is from Iowa State University; however, her insights and understanding about student success have been informed by the thousands of one-on-one conversations with students before, during, and after college.  


Get tickets for the Films That Made Music: “Blow Yo Horn!” Screening with Panel Discussion on Thursday, May 12 here.

Get tickets for Syreeta Thompson’s live music performance, opened by Mine Road, on Saturday, May 14 here.

Use the coupon code “JAZZY22” at checkout to waive online ticketing fees. The film event is Buy One, Get One Free!


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