Meet the Directors
Susan Veres, is Executive Director of the American Youth Symphony (AYS) and a trainer in
communications at the Global Interdependence Initiative at the Aspen Institute. Susan was also the
Executive Director of Student Pugwash USA, a national organization promoting social responsibility in
science and technology through campus-based chapters, seminars, conferences, and online
publications. Susan was also the Director of the Department of Environmental Education Programs at
the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and has worked as a policy analyst and a research assistant in
the environmental field. Susan holds a professional certificate in nonprofit management from
Georgetown University, and BAs in international studies and environmental policies and analysis from
Bowling Green State University.
Gregory Charles Royal is a trombonist, performer, writer, producer and lecturer. He is the author of It's
a Hardbop Life, the first play to feature a cast of jazz musicians, which debuted at the 2004 New York
JVC Jazz Festival. In 2001, he received a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council for the
presentation of his program "Back Street Boys! Black Street Blues!", a demonstration and discussion
about the impact of black music in America. Also that year, Royal performed in New York with tap
sensation Savion Glover and Grammy Award winning saxophonist Wayne Shorter in a benefit for World
Trade Center Firemen. He was a soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1989 to 2000, touring
extensively in Europe and Asia. Royal also performed in two important tours with the Howard University
Jazz Ensemble and the Howard University Jazz Sextet, to China and Africa respectively.
Royal was also a protégé of drummer Art Blakey, whose band, the Jazz Messengers, is the inspiration for
"It's a Hardbop Life" (Royal lived with the legendary drummer as a teen). Royal was a member of the
original Broadway production of "Five Guys Named Moe" and performed with the original Broadway cast
of "Ain't Misbehavin" and in the national tour of "Jelly's Last Jam."
Gregory Charles Royal was the writer and producer behind the eclectic Canadian group ARIEL charting
two songs (Trust the Love You See and Can't Let Love) and producing three music videos which ran on
The BOX and Much Music. He can also be seen as a sideline musician in the motion picture "Life"
starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. Currently he is the creative producer of the AYS
sponsored project, America's Hot Musician, the first reality TV talent competition for instrumentalists,
airing nationally in 2007.
Royal earned a master's degree in jazz studies from Howard University and is listed in the Biographical
Encyclopedia of Jazz (Leonard Feather, Oxford University Press 1999). His interests include sports and
he played wide receiver for the Metro-Bucs semi-pro football team in Washington, DC.