With countless years of travel, education and musical experience, our staff provides an incredible range of knowledge of the music tour industry. And more than that, our clients love working with us because our pride for what we do comes from unbridled enthusiasm for what you do.
Dave, our beloved founder was a band director of 23 years. Dave retired from teaching shortly after his marching band, Monticello High School, appeared in the 1983 Tournament of Roses Parade. Dave decided to try something new and we’re sure glad he did! Starting Gateway Music Festivals & Tours in 1985, the company blossomed over the decades from operating competitive regional music festivals to managing major performance events and music tours world wide. Dave continued to be active in music, directing and performing in the Great River Community Band until his passing in February 2018. We miss him everyday!
Stacy began working with her dad in 1994 as the Director of Marketing for Gateway. With an industrial design degree from University of Wisconsin-Stout in tow, Stacy created a new look & feel for Gateway, establishing the personal style & classy character for which Gateway’s work is now known. Having grown up the child of a band director, Stacy spent countless hours in musical rehearsals, marching band practices, going to parades, performances as well as participating herself, and truly has a sense for the needs, goals and challenges of music educators. As President, Stacy now has her hands in all facets of the business. From client interaction to product development, Stacy enjoys being an integral part of the daily routine at Gateway.
You’d never know it from her fun-loving nature, but Lauren knows how to get down to business. Soon after graduating from St. Olaf College in 2001, she kicked off her career at Gateway by taking on the organization & management of ALL our competitive music festivals, talk about new employee initiation! Lauren has operated domestic and international tours for nine years and has played a key role as Gateway opened new destinations such as Norway, Japan and China. After years of studying piano and flute, Lauren met and married a band director at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic and she gleans great insights from his role as a music educator.
If you’ve met Angie, one place probably comes to mind: Hawaii! Angie is our resident islands expert and has been building relationships with our vendors and partners in Hawaii since 2002. Angie played piano and sang in choir and has now invested a great deal of time learning the marching world to better offer knowledgeable advice to all our traveling bands. Angie can tell you everything from what to expect on your Hawaii tour, the best parades on the islands or brainstorm methods for transporting your tubas. She’s great company to keep on the islands because she knows all the secret spots that most tourists never discover. Having worked with Gateway for so many years, Angie has also done her fair share of domestic and international travel and has some great stories to share.
Before joining Gateway in 2005, Margie already had over 20 years experience in the travel industry. Our “domestic guru”, it seems Margie has been to just about every U.S. city and state! Though she played the piccolo and flute, the love for travel took a stronger hold. Margie graduated with a Certified Tour Professional degree through the National Tour Association (NTA), and can professionally guide you through the Ozarks to Branson or navigate the Rockies en route to Calgary. Most people don’t know that Margie once owned her own tour company, working as not only the owner/manager but as tour guide and coach driver! On the road, Margie is in her element. In a pinch, she can drive your coach or make you a latte (she’s also been a barista).
Natalie Jost joins the Gateway team as our resident dance expert. Growing up in Bloomington, MN, Natalie danced with the Pat Peare Dance Studio, the Kennedy High School Kolleens Dance Team, and the Hamline University Dance Team. An experienced dancer and choreographer, Natalie knows how to perfectly craft a well-balanced tour for our dance groups. Natalie graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN with a double major in Public Health Sciences and Economics. An avid reader, she spearheads the Gateway book club and keeps dancing at Pure Barre, a Twin-Cities, ballet-inspired fitness studio.
With over 25 years experience in the travel industry working with airlines, hotels and travel agencies, Marcy gets us through the day with her quick knowledge of the complications the travel industry can throw at us. Our third flautist on staff, Marcy continued to play as an adult for her church. Her understanding of the demands on music directors and the very specific travel needs of bands, choirs and orchestras is a major asset to our clients each & every day. And if you’ve ever called our office, you’ve almost certainly spoken with Marcy’s friendly voice answering the phone, fielding our calls!
Despite being one of Gateway’s newest staff, Lin brings decades of touring experience from the educator’s perspective. Retired from a long and distinguished career as choral director at Hastings Senior High School (MN), Lin now puts his energy into helping directors craft the perfect performance tour.
After working in the travel industry for over 25 years, Melanie has been all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong King, Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico – five out of the seven continents! A former travel agent with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, she offers experience in leisure, business, and group travel. Melanie’s years of travel experience and friendly demeanor make her an invaluable member of Gateway’s operations team. When she’s not traveling the world, she enjoys shopping and sitting out by her pool during Minnesota’s beautiful summertime.
Shelli attended Monticello High School and had the pleasure of having Dave Thielman, Gateway’s founder and CEO, as her band director! Shelli graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, where she participated in the Europe & Israel semester. This was the spark that started her interest in working in the travel industry. Shelli comes to Gateway with a background in executive management, marketing and corporate incentive travel. She truly enjoys working with people and is looking forward to assisting with your group!
Kelly, a St. Olaf graduate, returned to Gateway in 2011 after a hiatus to explore outside of Minnesota. For nearly three years she worked for an international public health NGO/non-profit in Washington DC then moved to South Korea to teach English. She’s traveled with every job and can’t get enough. Kelly was in high school band and loves to sing in the shower. Her friendly demeanor and energetic smile are downright contagious; you’ll love working with her!
With a degree in management and music from Luther College, Jake is a perfect fit for the Gateway team. A former president of the Luther Nordic Choir, Jake currently performs as a member of The Singers, a professional choir in Minneapolis. Lest you think he is only a vocalist, he has also studied piano since third grade and was the drum major of his high school marching band. Jake’s love of travel sparked early on, thanks to the multitude of vacations spent in the back seat of the family minivan. By his count, he has visited all but three of the major cities in the United States in addition to Japan and much of Europe.
Matt entered the world of musical touring with a trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a trumpeter in his high school band and has never looked back. He toured as a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps and as a member of the brass and visual staff with the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. His music travels have taken him to a plethora of exciting international destinations, including a study program in Vienna and multiple tours with the St. Olaf Band & Orchestra. Matt brought invaluable experience to Gateway after five years with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra where he worked in artistic operations. Contributing to our unwritten quota of St. Olaf alums, he proudly displays the flag of his alma mater in Gateway’s operations department.
Raised in Monticello and the daughter of the high school choir director, Heather knew a thing or two about music and touring from an early age. To no one’s surprise, she later excelled in choir through her high school years. Along with her work in the operations department, Heather plays an integral role in the organization of two of Gateway’s exclusive events: the Waikiki Holiday Parade and Hollywood Christmas Parade. Outside of Gateway, Heather stays busy coaching the high school volleyball team.