Board of Directors

The Stoughton Opera House Friends Association is led by a volunteer board of directors and works closely with the Stoughton Opera House's professional staff and city-appointed board of directors.


Jonathan Lewis

President & director
Jon is a retired neuropsychologist. He is a member and vice chair of the city-appointed Stoughton Opera House board, member of the Stoughton Police & Fire Commission, the Stoughton Syttende Mai Executive Committee, the Stoughton River and Trails Task Force, the Stoughton Area Community Foundation Board, and is president of the Dane County Friends of Scandinavian Culture. His past experiences include work with the Stoughton Heritage Livsreise Center Steering Committee, the Stoughton Planning Commission, Stoughton Hospital Medical Staff and Chief of Geriatric Psychology, Chair of the Madison Hospitals United Credentials Commission Psychology Section, President of the Norwegian Singers Association of America, and Chair of the Forensic Psychology Division of the Wisconsin Psychological Association. Jon is married with one son, has lived in Stoughton for 28 years, and sings in the Edvard Grieg Chorus. He also volunteers at the Nature Conservancy and fishes a lot! 

Mary-Carel Verden

Vice President & director
Mary-Carel owns Grote Publishing, a communications, design, and marketing firm. Her professional background includes more than 30 years of magazine management, publication design and production, advertising, marketing, photography, public relations, social media, and exhibit work. She has worked closely with clients as varied as McGraw-Hill, John Deere, and CUNA, and was National Marketing Director for American Learning Corporation, an Encyclopaedia Britannica subsidiary. Prior to that, she was part of the international and national training and marketing staff for Encyclopaedia Britannica. She attended the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, majoring in Theater & Communications. Mary-Carel serves as head of the Drama Program at the Stoughton Center for the Performing Arts, and on the board of directors for StageWorks Projects. She has volunteered for many Stoughton activities since moving to the city in 1995. She is president of the Stoughton Opera House board, past chair of the Victorian Holiday Weekend Committee, and past president of the Stoughton Arts Council.

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William Brehm

Bill is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and currently works as the director of the Stoughton Opera House and Media Services for the City of Stoughton. Bill's past experiences include work as a freelance video producer for the Madison Metropolitan School District, owner of Bill Brehm Video Productions, Education and Outreach/Education and Production Director for WYOU Community Television, as well as multiple  media-related positions with the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Bill's volunteer work includes serving as a board member of the Stoughton Arts Council. He is also the founder of the Catfish River Music Festival.

Chris Ziemba

Chris has spent the majority of his career helping nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions. After graduating from Loyola University Chicago, Chris worked at Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME), an organization helping low-income seniors with their housing needs. He also worked with the Illinois Alliance for Aging. Since moving to Wisconsin, Chris has held various roles at the Stoughton Hospital Foundation, Three Gaits, and Salvation Army of Dane County. He currently works as Gift Officer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Leadership Stoughton, a program organized by the local chamber, and is also an Ambassador for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Chris and his wife Kathy live in the Town of Rutland and enjoy attending musical performances at the Stoughton Opera House.