About Us

Polestar Kirtanas at Green Lake, Big Island, HI

We are an inclusive community of friends and musicians.  From season to season our traveling/performing kirtan “band” and choir may change membership slightly. Here is our current core team.


Michael Gornik co-founded and currently co-directs Polestar Gardens along with his wife, Ann. Michael and Ann bring with them over 36 years of experience in intentional community, sustainable living, education, raja yoga, meditation, music and more.

Michael GornikMichael has a rich history as a leader, community planner, builder, educator, athletic coach and musician. He has worked directly throughout the years with public, private and charter schools in creating apprenticeships and mentoring programs.

Michael Gornik of Polestar playing harmoniumMichael inspires Polestar with his cheerful even-mindedness, indomitable joie-de-vivre and perhaps most of all, with his inspired music! He has been a musician all of his life, and plays from memory literally thousands of songs from many genres and cultures. His great love for the last 36 years has been sacred music and kirtan. Through this and along with inspirational advntures, service projects, wilderness trips, sports and performance art programs, he has provided students of all ages with the opportunity for life-long educational expansion and personal growth.


Bernadette Sabath is an actress, performance artist, stand-up comedian, producer, director and professional clown who has performed throughout Europe, the United States and Australia since her training at Dell’Arte International: Theatre Performance Training & Research on California’s Northern Coast in the 70s.

Bernadette started singing on the streets of Europe while busking with the band Available Jelly. It was performing for crowds of strangers where she made the connection between spirit, music, voice and movement. She enjoys writing and performing music for theatrical performances as well. She wrote the score and performed the music for her production of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez adaptation of “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”.

Bernadette with friendBernadette deeply enjoys working directly with and mentoring young people. She taught acting for young adults and movement for actors in Sydney for 3 years and is currently Polestar’s main contact with Polestar guests and apprentices. A dedicated meditator since the age of 16, Bernadette is also a meditation instructor at Polestar, has mastered the riding mower, and frequently keeps everyone in “in stitches” with her clowning antics.

Rich Mills playing ukeleleRich

Rich Mills is the personification of the “aloha” spirit. You may very well catch him walking barefoot in Hawaii, carrying his ukulele and entrancing visitors to the island with stories and favorite sing-alongs.

Born and raised in Millville, Pennsylvania, Rich grew up helping his father build and operate a saw mill. He went on to develop his interests in community building and organic farming and managed a chicken farm with over 800 free-range chickens! Rich is a fine craftsman, builder, mechanic, folk dancer and musician, and has built and maintained his own musical instruments. His ukulele classes are well attended and much appreciated by Polestar guests and visitors, many of whom have gone on to a sustained interest in music.

Rich Mills at Fire CeremonyA highly skilled tradesman, Rich is in charge of Polestar’s critical sustainable infrastructure, including the off-grid water catchment and purification and solar power systems. He also runs and maintains the backhoe, tractors, mowers and other important farm equipment—all the while overseeing Polestar’s orchards.

Rich loves to meet people, works with students, guests and apprentices daily, and generally spread his aloha wherever he can.


Christy Thompson loves people and they love her!

Christy playing harpDirector of Polestar’s Apprentice Program, Christy works daily at Polestar with the young-at-heart from around the globe. Raised in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania in a loving family of traditional musicians (aunts, brother, grandparents, sisters); she plays autoharp and enjoys singing folk, modern, traditional and sacred music.

Christy also enjoys sports and the great outdoors: she was co-captain of her college basketball team, completed a ½ Iron Man in with her father in 2010, and is a sought after teammate in Polestar’s Friday afternoon volleyball tournaments.

Christy Thompson playing volleyballShe graduated with degree in psychology from Connecticut College, and was awarded her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work in 2003. Christy loves hatha yoga, having received her RYS 200-hour yoga teacher certification from Jennifer Bonadio, in Maui in 2008, and has also received first level training in Reiki healing techniques. Christy’s depth of sincerity, infectious, smile and beautiful singing voice are a delight to people who visit the big island of Hawaii!

Fresh Pressed Turmeric Juice Matt Spencer

As an artist, my mission statement is the same as my dharma, or my life’s purpose. In the truest sense of art, there is no separating the artist from the art. Therefore, my mission statement is simply to “know thy Self”. Not MYself, but rather, “THY” Self.
My dharma, or my life’s work, is to transcend the limited and illusory identity of personhood as “my,” being the position of the ego (body/mind) centered consciousness, and to awaken to the reality of the true Self “I”, as the Infinite field of pure, blissful, conscious awareness.
To come into the recognition of this most sacred knowledge of the divine and infinite pure Self, is the highest of all attainments. To then allow this awareness of the non-dual Truth to be expressed and shared through the art forms of music and yoga, is the greatest of all successes.


Dorian Carter with Polestar ChoirDorian

Dorian Carter graduated with honors earning both a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Adult Education from Seattle University.

She has presented at Johns Hopkins University, Omega Institute in New York and Open Door in San Francisco. She has opened healing conferences in Italy and Scottsdale Arizona. Dorian’s musical skills range from personal performance, to composition, to ensemble, to choir, to opera, to musicals, to indigenous sacred, to healing music therapy. Her talents have taken her to Africa, Europe, India, South America, Israel, Mexico, Canada, to the east and west coasts of US, Hawaii and the Bermuda Triangle!


Dorian has lived a rich life as a co-creator in several intentional communities, and enjoys the deep and nourishing relationships they engender.