Annual Conference – Leadership Bios

We are proud that our Annual Conference always features a broad array of leaders that cover many denominations, fields of study, and lived experiences. Here you can learn more about the people who will lead us this year.


Hymn Festival Leaders

Laura d’Angiola
Laura d’Angiola is a teacher and prominent liturgical leader of the Methodist Church in Argentina. She has participated in various experiences of liturgical work in Argentina and at a continental level. She is a member of the Latin American worship arts collective Red Crearte (


Michel Guimont
Michel Guimont is the director of music at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Canada, since 1991. He was also the conductor of the Ottawa University Choir between 2010 and 2017.

Michel is a composer whose work is published in Canada by Novalis (Bayard-Presse), which issued two complete psalters in French, several Mass settings, and many other compositions. In the USA, his work is published mainly by GIA Publications, including several psalters (Lectionary Psalms) and Mass settings, along with communion antiphons written in collaboration with Delores Dufner, OSB, FHS. Many of his works appear in hymnals published by GIA. His work is also published by MorningStar.

He was named Musician of the Year in 2015 by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, NPM. For the Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops (CCCB), he has been part of the hymn selection committee and the editorial board of the soon-to-be published hymnal Music for Catholic Worship.


Michel Guimont est directeur de la musique à la cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Ottawa, au Canada, depuis 1991. Il a également été le chef du Chœur de l’Université d’Ottawa entre 2010 et 2017.

Michel est un compositeur dont les œuvres sont publiées au Canada par Novalis (Bayard-Presse), qui a publié deux psautiers complets en français, plusieurs mises en musique de messes et de nombreuses autres compositions. Aux États-Unis, ses œuvres sont publiées principalement par GIA Publications, y compris plusieurs psautiers (Lectionary Psalms) et des mises en musique de messes, ainsi que des antiennes de communion écrites en collaboration avec Delores Dufner, OSB, FHS. Plusieurs de ses œuvres figurent dans des recueils de cantiques publiés par GIA. Ses œuvres sont également publiées par MorningStar.

Il a été nommé musicien de l’année en 2015 par l’Association nationale des musiciens pastoraux (NPM). Pour la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada (CECC), il a fait partie du comité de sélection des hymnes et du comité de rédaction du recueil de cantiques Music for Catholic Worship, qui sera bientôt publié.


Leslie Jordan
Leslie Jordan is a Tennessee native who has lived and worked as an artist and songwriter in Nashville for the past 10 years, primarily in the band, All Sons & Daughters.

After AS&D adjourned in 2017, Leslie’s dream to create a safe space for writers & artists to gather and create became a reality. Alongside Co-Founder Chris DeTray, Leslie launched The Fold with a desire to see her friends and fellow songwriters recover their original voice and begin to create their most authentic work!

Leslie & her husband Thomas live in Franklin, TN with their son Judah.

Leslie Jordan est originaire du Tennessee et a vécu et travaillé comme artiste et autrice-compositrice à Nashville au cours des 10 dernières années, principalement au sein du groupe All Sons & Daughters.

Après l’ajournement d’AS&D en 2017, le rêve de Leslie de créer un espace sûr pour les écrivains et les artistes pour se réunir et créer est devenu une réalité.

Aux côtés du cofondateur Chris DeTray, Leslie a lancé The Fold avec le désir de voir ses amis et collègues auteurs-compositeurs retrouver leur voix originale et commencer à créer leurs œuvres les plus authentiques !

Leslie et son mari Thomas vivent à Franklin, TN, avec leur fils Judah.


Matthew Larkin
Recitalist, conductor, educator, and composer Matthew Larkin is one of Canada’s most in-demand concert performers and liturgical musicians. He is the founding director of Ottawa’s Caelis Academy Ensemble, and Custodian of Music at St. Andrew’s Church (Ottawa), in addition to maintaining a very full schedule of concerts, recitals, and recordings. A Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Matthew has performed worldwide in a variety of capacities, and was a 2013 recipient of the HM Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for his many years of work with young singers. He has a very extensive discography on a number of international labels, and frequently appears in concert with several of Canada’s premier orchestras and choirs. He attended the University of Toronto, and the Royal College of Music, and has served on the music staff at the director level in several prominent Canadian churches, including St. James Cathedral, Toronto, and Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa. Matthew is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Hymn Festival.


Jonathan Maracle
Mohawk Indian from Tyendinaga Territory in Ontario who performs Native American music. Maracle is the founder of Broken Walls, a Christian band that fuses aboriginal music with rock. He is also the creator of Eagle Wind Music, a company that specializes in handmade Native American flutes, drums, instruments, and music.

Jonathan Maracle est un Indien Mohawk du territoire de Tyendinaga, en Ontario, qui joue de la musique amérindienne. Maracle est le fondateur de Broken Walls, un groupe chrétien qui fusionne la musique aborigène et le rock. Il est également le créateur d’Eagle Wind Music, une entreprise spécialisée dans la fabrication artisanale de flûtes, de tambours, d’instruments et de musique amérindiens.


Marcell Silva Steuernagel
Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Pastoral Music Programs at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Marcell writes at the intersection of church music, theology, musicology, and performance theory. He served as Minister of Worship, Arts and Communication at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Curitiba, Brazil, for more than a decade and is an internationally active composer and performer. His most recent monograph is Church Music Through the Lens of Performance, published on Routledge’s Congregational Music Studies series.


Horacio Vivares
Horacio Vivares is a composer, arranger and conductor. He has been participating for many years in different liturgical projects in Latin America and in different parts of the world, placing special emphasis on liturgical renewal activities. Together with Gerardo Oberman, he has produced several albums and songbooks. He is a member of the Latin American worship arts collective Red Crearte (



Plenary Speakers

Kuzipa Nalwamba
Kuzipa Nalwamba works at the World Council of Churches as Programme Director for Unity and Mission, and Ecumenical Formation (UMEF), and as adjunct faculty member of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Her research interests include eco-theology, history of Christianity and literary studies. Nalwamba is a retired ordained minister of the United Church of Zambia.

Kuzipa Nalwamba travaille au Conseil œcuménique des Églises en tant que directeur de programme pour l’unité et la mission et la formation œcuménique (UMEF), et en tant que membre auxiliaire du corps enseignant de l’Institut œcuménique de Bossey. Ses recherches portent sur l’éco-théologie, l’histoire du christianisme et les études littéraires. Nalwamba est une pasteure ordonnée à la retraite de l’Église unie de Zambie.


Lester Ruth
Lester Ruth is Research Professor of Christian Worship at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. He came to this position after teaching at Asbury Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School.  Prior to teaching, he served several pastoral appointments in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  His doctorate in worship history is from the University of Notre Dame. His recent publications have focused on Contemporary Praise and Worship and include Flow: The Ancient Way to Do Contemporary WorshipEssays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship; (with Lim Swee Hong) Lovin’ On Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship; and (with Lim Swee Hong) A History of Contemporary Praise and Worship: Understanding the Ideas that Reshaped the Protestant Church. Most of his publications have dealt either with worship in the patristic period or worship in American Evangelicalism.  He remains dedicated to exploring how classic worship can renew the church today.

He describes himself as a pastor who once had an interest in liturgical history but later transformed into a liturgical historian who maintains his pastoral sensibilities.

Lester Ruth est professeur de recherche sur le culte chrétien à la Duke Divinity School de Durham, en Caroline du Nord. Il occupe ce poste après avoir enseigné à l’Asbury Theological Seminary et à la Yale Divinity School. Avant d’enseigner, il a occupé plusieurs postes pastoraux dans la Conférence annuelle du Texas de l’Église méthodiste unie. Il est titulaire d’un doctorat en histoire du culte de l’université de Notre Dame. Ses publications récentes portent sur la louange et le culte contemporains et comprennent “Flow : The Ancient Way to Do Contemporary Worship ;” “Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship ;” (avec Lim Swee Hong) “Lovin’ On Jesus : A Concise History of Contemporary Worship ;” et (avec Lim Swee Hong) “A History of Contemporary Praise and Worship : Understanding the Ideas that Reshaped the Protestant Church.” La plupart de ses publications ont porté sur le culte à l’époque patristique ou sur le culte dans l’évangélisme américain. Il se consacre toujours à l’étude de la manière dont le culte classique peut renouveler l’Église d’aujourd’hui.

Il se décrit comme un pasteur qui s’intéressait autrefois à l’histoire de la liturgie, mais qui s’est ensuite transformé en historien de la liturgie tout en conservant ses sensibilités pastorales.


Kenny Wallace
Dr. Kenny Wallace, Aboha ‘a Chihowa, is an African American Choctaw Pawnee from the United States living in Canada. He holds a doctorate in Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies with a focus on Christian contextualization of Indigenous worship. He teaches nationally and internationally about multi-ethnic worship with his organization Kingdom Reflections Multi-Ethnic Worship Ministries. He is a hoop dancer in the Way of Jesus both at powwows and for Blanket Exercises hosted by Kairos Canada, avid bead worker, and musician. He is also a certified ethnoarts specialist with the Global Ethnodoxology Network. In his spare time he runs a jewelry and essential oil business focused on wholistic wellness: physical, spiritual, and emotional. He is married to Achlaï Ernest, an esteemed leader in her own rite, and together they have a six-year-old growing worship leader named Hadassa.

Kenny Wallace, Aboha ‘a Chihowa, est un Pawnee Choctaw afro-américain originaire des États-Unis et vivant au Canada. Il est titulaire d’un doctorat en études cultuelles de l’Institut Robert E. Webber pour les études cultuelles, avec un accent sur la contextualisation chrétienne du culte indigène. Il enseigne le culte multiethnique au niveau national et international avec son organisation Kingdom Reflections Multi-Ethnic Worship Ministries. Il est danseur de cerceaux sur la Voie de Jésus lors de pow-wows et pour les exercices de couverture organisés par Kairos Canada, perleur passionné et musicien. Il est également un spécialiste certifié des ethnoarts par le Global Ethnodoxology Network. Dans ses temps libres, il dirige une entreprise de bijoux et d’huiles essentielles axée sur le bien-être holistique : physique, spirituel et émotionnel. Il est marié à Achlaï Ernest, une leader estimée dans son propre rite, et ensemble ils ont une fille de six ans, Hadassa, qui est une leader de culte en pleine croissance.

Morning Prayers Leaders

Ábner Campos
Ábner Elpino Campos, originally from Brazil, serves as music director at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Toronto and is currently studying in the Master of Sacred Music Program at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. Before moving to Canada, he was music director at Comunidade Luterana da Cruz in Porto Alegre and Lecturer in Keyboard Instruments at Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. In addition, he was a member of the Brazilian Lutheran Hymnal New Edition committee (Hinário Luterano, 2016), podcaster and coordinator of the project Toda IELB Canta (All IELB Sing), leading video and audio programs about Hymnology. Ábner holds a Bachelor of Music (2018) degree in Choir Conducting from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and a CTE certification (2002) in Piano studies from Cora Pavan Capparelli Conservatory of Music.


Maria Monteiro
Originally from Recife, Brazil, Maria Monteiro serves as Lecturer in Church Music at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and as music director at Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana (First Mexican Baptist Church), in San Antonio. Before joining the Baylor faculty in 2020, she taught for seventeen years at Baptist University of the Américas, also in San Antonio. These roles and activities have provided the essential connection between her academic interest in church music and the practical involvement in the musical life of a present-day congregation. Maria holds a Master of Music (1991) and a Bachelor of Music (1987) degrees in Music History and Literature, from Baylor, a certificate of graduate studies in Musicology from Duke University (1998), and a Ph.D. in Church Music (2021) from Baylor University.


Featured Session Leaders

Marco Bossé
Marco est né à Rivière-Bleue, dans la région du Bas du Fleuve. Ses parents chantaient et dansaient dans les soirées traditionnelles québécoises du village. C’est donc très tôt qu’il s’initie au folklore, à la chanson et à la guitare ! Étant diplômé en foresterie, Il travaille aujourd’hui pour la recherche forestière au ministère de la faune et des forêts.  Mais la musique ne l’a jamais quitté, il a longtemps été chansonnier dans les bars et boîtes à chanson de Québec, et est encore aujourd’hui guitariste et auteur-compositeur-interprète. Marco, un québécois d’origine, artiste dans l’âme et fin connaisseur de la culture québécoise, saura vous charmer par sa voix et sa guitare.

Marco was born in Rivière-Bleue, in the Lower St-Lawrence region. His parents sang and danced at traditional Quebecois evenings in the village. So it was that, from an early age he was introduced to folklore, song, and the guitar! Having graduated in forestry, he now works for forestry research at the Ministry of Wildlife and Forests. But the music never left him. He was a singer for many years in the bars and song clubs of Québec city, and is still today a guitarist and singer-songwriter. Marco, a native of Quebec, is an artist at heart and a fine connoisseur of Quebec culture. He will charm you with his voice and his guitar.


Valérie Magnan
Valérie a grandi à Québec dans une famille de musiciens. Elle joue du piano, chante et danse depuis qu’elle est toute petite. À l’âge de 19 ans, elle part pour Toronto pour compléter un BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) à l’Université York. De retour au Québec, elle fait un BEM (Baccalauréat en Éducation Musicale), ce qui la propulse dans la profession d’enseignante de musique au primaire, poste qu’elle occupe depuis 1998. Durant ses étés, elle a longtemps travaillé comme animatrice pour le programme FNF (Français pour non francophone) à l’Université Laval. Ces années d’expérience en français langue seconde auprès de clientèles de partout au monde ont fait d’elle une communicatrice, une passionnée du français et une amoureuse de la chanson.

Valérie grew up in Québec in a family of musicians. She has been playing the piano, singing, and dancing since she was very young. At the age of 19, she left for Toronto to complete a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) at York University. Back in Québec, she completed a BEM (Baccalaureate in Music Education), which propelled her into the profession of being an elementary music teacher, a position she has held since 1998. During her summers, she worked as an animator for the FNF (French for non-French speaking) program at Université Laval. These years of experience in French as a second language with people from all over the world have made her a communicator, a French enthusiast, and a lover of song.


SueAnn Shiah
SueAnn Shiah (@sueannshiah) is a Taiwanese American musician, filmmaker, community organizer, and emerging theologian specializing in identity formation, racial justice, gender, and sexuality. Her first feature length documentary HuanDao follows her journey of discovery, identity, and belonging in a two week bike trip around Taiwan. She released her debut solo album of reclaimed hymns, “A Liturgy for the Perseverance of the Saints” in June 2018. In addition to her own creative and theological works, she collaborates with others in a variety of capacities as an artist manager, producer, audio engineer, songwriter, podcast producer, and creator of liturgy. She has a B.B.A. in Music Business with a Production emphasis and a Chinese minor from Belmont University, a Masters of Arts in Musicology from National Taiwan University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.


Organ Recitalist

Isabelle Demers
With playing described as having “bracing virtuosity” (Chicago Classical Review) and being “fearless and extraordinary” (Amarillo-Globe News), Isabelle Demers has enraptured critics, presenters, and audience members around the globe.

She has appeared in recital throughout Europe, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, including at the Cathedrals of Cologne and Regensburg (Germany); the ElbPhilharmonie (Hamburg); the Royal Festival Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey (London); City Hall (Stockholm); the Royal Opera House of Muscat (Oman); the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing, China); Victoria Hall (Singapore); Melbourne Town Hall (Australia); Auckland Town Hall (New Zealand); Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Davies Hall (San Francisco), the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Kimmel Center, and the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s (Philadelphia); and the Maison Symphonique (Montréal).

Dr. Demers is in continual high demand by her colleagues as witnessed by performances for numerous regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Institute of Organ Builders and International Society of Organbuilders, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Organ Historical Society. She has released multiple CD recordings on the Acis and Pro Organo labels. Her latest CD, recorded at Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel, was released in January 2020, and includes works of Reger, Laurin, Dupré, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Macmillan.

A native of Québec and a doctoral graduate of the Juilliard School, Dr. Demers is Associate Professor of Organ at McGill University (Montréal, Québec). She was formerly the Joyce Bowden Chair in Organ and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University (Waco, Texas).

Avec un jeu décrit comme étant d’une « virtuosité vivifiante » (Chicago Classical Review) et « intrépide et extraordinaire « (Amarillo-Globe News), Isabelle Demers a enchanté les critiques, les présentateurs et les auditeurs du monde entier.

Elle s’est produite en récital dans toute l’Europe, à Oman, en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande, aux États-Unis et au Canada, notamment dans les cathédrales de Cologne et de Ratisbonne (Allemagne), à l’ElbPhilharmonie (Hambourg), au Royal Festival Hall, à la cathédrale St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral et Westminster Abbey (Londres) ; City Hall (Stockholm) ; Royal Opera House of Muscat (Oman) ; Forbidden City Concert Hall (Pékin, Chine) ; Victoria Hall (Singapour) ; Melbourne Town Hall (Australie) ; Auckland Town Hall (Nouvelle-Zélande) ; Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Davies Hall (San Francisco), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), Kimmel Center et l’orgue Wanamaker de Macy’s (Philadelphie) ; et la Maison symphonique (Montréal).

Mme Demers est très sollicitée par ses collègues, comme en témoignent ses prestations lors de nombreux congrès régionaux et nationaux de l’American Guild of Organists, de l’Institute of Organ Builders et de l’International Society of Organbuilders, du Collège royal canadien des organistes et de l’Organ Historical Society. Elle a enregistré plusieurs CD sous étiquettes Acis et Pro Organo. Son dernier CD, enregistré à la Rockefeller Chapel de Chicago, est sorti en janvier 2020 et comprend des œuvres de Reger, Laurin, Dupré, Mendelssohn, Tchaïkovski et Macmillan.

Originaire du Québec et titulaire d’un doctorat de la Juilliard School, madame Demers est professeure associée d’orgue à l’Université McGill (Montréal, Québec). Elle était auparavant titulaire de la chaire d’orgue Joyce Bowden et directrice du programme d’orgue de l’Université Baylor (Waco, Texas).


Sectional Leaders

Bruce Benedict
Bruce Benedict is the chaplain of worship arts at Hope College. Bruce also helps run Cardiphonia Music and is currently a PhD student at Durham University researching funeral music in evangelical contexts.


David Bjorlin
David is a professor of Music and Worship at North Park University and the Pastor of Worship and Creative Arts at Resurrection Covenant Church in Chicago. He has co-authored one book (Incorporating Children in Worship: Mark of the Kingdom) and written several journal articles on the history and practice of congregational song. He has served on the boards of both The Hymn Society and The Liturgical Conference. His first book of hymns, Protest of Praise (G-10101), was released in 2020 by GIA.


Jody Blake
Dr. Jody N. Blake earned his Doctor of Philosophy and Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degrees in Music Education from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, both of which concentrated in vocal music education. He also holds a Master of Music in Music Education from Anderson University (South Carolina), Bachelor of Science in Music (emphasis in voice) from Blue Mountain College, and Associate of Arts in Music Education from Northeast Mississippi Community College. Additionally, he earned a Level I Kodály Certificate from the University of Central Missouri. Dr. Blake has six years of public and private school teaching experience in Mississippi, where his choirs consistently received high ratings in performance and sight-singing. His professional experience also includes teaching community college choir, applied voice, music appreciation, and music theory in Texas. Currently, Dr. Blake serves as Coordinator of Music Education at The University of Tennessee at Martin where he teaches courses in music education, methods, music theory, and supervises student teachers.

Additionally, he has over ten years of church music experience, working with choirs and music ensembles of all age levels. His primary research interests include hymnody in choral music education, hymnology as it relates to church music education, sight-singing instruction, distance learning in music education, and the history of choral music education. His recent article, The Driver on the Bus Says: “Sing, Sing, Sing!” was published in the August 2019 edition of Teaching Music, a publication of the National Association for Music Education.

Dr. Blake’s teaching interests include music education and methods courses, especially related to curriculum, instruction, philosophical, and historical foundations. When teaching music education courses, he specifically focuses on helping students form a “teacher identity.” He also thoroughly enjoys teaching music theory, music appreciation and history/literature-related courses.

Dr. Blake maintains active memberships in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Professional Educators of Tennessee, and The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada. He also previously served as the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA) state chair for collegiate activities (NAfME Collegiate).


Mel Bringle, FHS
Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Her interest in other-than-human animals has been fostered by classes she regularly teaches in environmental theology. She is a hymn textwriter and translator who has served as President of The Hymn Society and chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the 2013 PCUSA hymnal Glory to God. In the summer of 2020, she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society.


Marty Wheeler Burnett
Marty Wheeler Burnett, D.Min., is the Associate Professor of Church Music and Director of Chapel Music at Virginia Theological Seminary. Prior to her faculty appointment in 2020, she led and coordinated the music ministry at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska. As Canon Precentor, she conducted several choirs and served as the founding director of the children’s and youth choir program, Cantate Choral Academy. An award-winning educator, Burnett previously served as Director of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Music at College of Saint Mary in Omaha. Under her leadership, the college choirs performed twice at Carnegie Hall and toured Ireland and Italy, singing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. She holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from The University of the South. Her publications, presentations, and research focus on liturgical music, particularly hymns and service music by women. Burnett is the Past President of the Association of Anglican Musicians, and she currently serves on the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. Her compositions are published by Church Publishing, Randall M. Egan, St. James Music Press, and Selah Publishing Company.


Chi-Yu Chen
I am a conductor and director of Sacred Music in Taipei Christian Shi-Pai Church for 9 years. I am also a second-year student in the doctoral program of the Graduate Institute of Musicology at National Taiwan University.

I earned my first master’s degree in church music at Taiwan Theological Seminary, where my graduation thesis was Curriculum for Teaching Congregational Singing: Using the Example of The New Bread of Life Selected Hymns.

My second master’s degree was at the Graduate Institute of Musicology of National Taiwan University, and my graduation thesis was The Birth of the 2009 Edition of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church Hymnal Sèng-si.


Scot Crandal
Scot is a gifted composer, singer and musician. Director of music at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist in Portland, Oregon, Scot has also worked at OCP for several years, both as a music editor and music development coordinator, in charge of submission and arranging. He earned his music degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and was a music teacher in public schools for several years. In addition to writing songs for the liturgy, Scot composes and performs jazz, classical and popular music. He plays guitar and piano, and has showcased his strong tenor voice in several Portland Opera productions.

Scot’s annual psalter, The Living Church Acclaims, offers contemporary responsorial psalms and Gospel acclamations for the entire 2019 liturgical year. His most recent collection, Down to the River to Pray, brings together eight liturgical songs and choral anthems that are wonderfully unique and equally well-written and arranged.

Scot lives in Oregon with his wife, Karen, and their two children.


Dan Damon, FHS
Dan Damon is an internationally published writer of hymn texts and tunes whose work appears in many current hymnals. He is Associate Editor of Hymnody for Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Illinois. Damon is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, retired July 1, 2020. He is a jazz pianist and plays Fridays and Saturdays at Lara’s Fine Dining on the waterfront in Richmond, CA. In 2016 Damon was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.


Chris de Silva
Chris de Silva is a widely published composer of sacred music whose music appears in hymnals and compilations throughout the world. A native of Singapore, he currently resides in Los Angeles where he serves as music minister on the campus ministry team at Loyola Marymount University. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition and Film Scoring from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University and a Doctor of Ministry from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.


Andrew Donaldson, FHS
Andrew Donaldson is a lyricist/composer, conductor, and enlivener of congregational song. He was co-editor of The Book of Praise for the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and worked on the committee which produced The Book of Psalms for the PCC. He has worked as music director in several Toronto-area churches, and in Geneva as Worship Consultant to the World Council of Churches, for whom he compiled and edited the songbook Hosanna! Ecumenical Songs for Justice and Peace. Recent publications include singing translations for Faithful Echoes: The Hymns of Basil Moreau (WLP/GIA) and for Let a Tiny Stone Shout Out (The Hymn Society in Japan).


Delores Dufner, OSB, FHS
Delores Dufner, OSB, FHS, is a member of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She writes liturgical, scripture-based hymn and song texts, which are found in many Christian hymnals. Her hymns have been published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and China.
In 2013 Sister Delores was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society. She was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM). The Christus Rex award was bestowed on Sister Delores in 2017 by Valparaiso University’s Institute of Liturgical Studies, for her lifelong commitment to liturgical renewal.


Adán Alejándro Fernández
Organist, Cal Lutheran University
Adjunct Professor, Cal Lutheran University
Dean, Ventura County AGO


Ryan Flanigan
Ryan Flanigan lives in Austin, TX and is the founder of Liturgical Folk. He is a melodist, church music director, and cultivator of new songs for the growing liturgical renewal movement in America. As an artist rooted in the Christian Story, Ryan works to create beautiful and believable sacred music for church folk and the world. He believes the Church can be a credible artistic witness of God’s beauty, truth, and goodness to the whole world, not only Christians, and not just through words. Ryan’s melodies are accessible and rooted in the inherently joyful sounds of the American folk traditions.

Born Catholic, raised Pentecostal, and educated Evangelical, Ryan focuses on the good in all traditions. He has created and led church music from Catholic chamber choirs to arena worship rock. Through 25 years of directing and choosing songs for church music, he has discovered that the “sound in the ground,” the melodies and rhythms native to a place, best and most naturally engage the human soul, especially of those who live the most down-to-earth lives. Ryan earned a BAS from Dallas Baptist University, an MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a CTS from Oxford University.


Bruce Harding
Bruce Harding is a church musician, composer and church music scholar residing in the Vancouver area in British Columbia, Canada. He has a deep interest in all aspects of the study of hymns, psalms and songs for Christian worship, but his particular area of expertise is in Canadian hymn traditions. Bruce’s Ph.D. dissertation from the University of Toronto involved a study of the hymn tune repertoire in The United Church of Canada, the denomination in which he works, and its parent denominations, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist Churches in Canada before church union in 1925. He currently directs “A Quired Taste,” a chamber choir in the Vancouver area devoted primarily to the performance of early Canadian hymn and psalm tune repertoire.

Bruce and his wife Cheryl are active as music leaders within the United Church and other denominations, in congregational ministry, in workshop and retreat leadership, and through concerts and other events. They have four recordings available of their own compositions and four songbooks, all available through their publishing company, Evensong Worship Resources. Bruce is a past co-chair of UCCAM, the United Church of Canada Association of Musicians, and has served as Managing Editor for More Voices (2007), a project of the United Church in partnership with Wood Lake Books to produce a supplement to the current hymn book, Voices United (1996).


David Harrison
Priest and musician, David Harrison holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Congregational Development from Bexley Seabury Seminary in Chicago and his Associateship of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. Originally trained as an historian, David is the compiler and editor of “Healey Willan: The Complete Hymn Tunes”.


Brian Hehn
Brian Hehn is the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, the outreach and resourcing arm of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada.


Peter Hill
Peter Hill is a graduate of Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Arts in music. Peter received a Master of Music degree in piano performance and a Professional Studies Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music and holds a Master of Education in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University. While attending the University of California, Davis for a degree in musicology, Peter was the assistant conductor for the UC Davis Chorus. Peter has taught at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, NJ. Recently, Peter was middle school music teacher for All Saints Episcopal Day School in Hoboken. Peter is Music Director for Chatham United Methodist Church where he directs the adult choirs, praise band, instrumental ensemble, and ukulele orchestra. He is also director of Music For All Seasons, a non-profit organization that brings music to hospitals, hospices, shelters, prisons and jails, and homes for youth at risk. Peter has two beautiful children, teen Valentine, tiny-tot son, Leighton, and a fantastic wife, Katie. He enjoys sci-fi motion pictures, deconstructing episodes of Doctor Who, a wide variety of quirky literature, too many dad jokes, and looking for music for his family to sing around the piano.


Marc Jolicoeur
Marc Jolicoeur is a Worship Pastor from Atlantic Canada, as well as a part-time academic. In 2021, he was part of a team that released a study on the life-curves of worship songs (published in Worship Leader Magazine in the US, Faith Today in Canada, and written about in multiple publications, including Christianity Today and RNS). Now, he is working with Dr Shannan Baker (Baylor University), Dr Adam Perez (Belmont University), Dr Mike Tapper (Southern Wesleyan University), and Elias Dummer (formerly with “The City Harmonic”) to try and better understand the relationship worship planners have with the broader worship industry.


Lloyd Larson
For 40 years, Lloyd Larson has been an active composer and arranger for several major publishing companies of church, school, and community choral and instrumental music. His compositions and arrangements number over 2,000 published works – including choral anthems, numerous extended Christmas, Easter, and non-seasonal works, keyboard collections, vocal solo and duet collections, instrumental solo and ensemble publications, orchestrations, and handbell settings.

Lloyd holds a B.A. in music from Anderson University (IN) and a Master’s degree in church music and composition from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (KY). He has done subsequent graduate work at Southern Baptist Seminary, Ohio State University, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (IL). He is married to his college sweetheart, Marci. They have three married children and seven grandchildren. He makes his home in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.


Richard Leach
Richard Leach is a leading contemporary writer of words for hymns. Using traditional forms, he creates striking new texts with biblical and theological integrity. His work is included in hymnals and hymnal supplements from a wide spectrum of denominations, and in many independent hymnals and hymnal supplements. Selah has published collections of his texts since 1995. In addition, dozens of anthem settings of his words have been composed and published by Selah, Augsburg-Fortress, GIA and others. He is a frequent presenter at conferences of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and has been called a master of his craft in the review pages of The Hymn Society journal.

Leach describes his writing in this way: “I often write in response to particular Bible passages. I try to tell familiar stories in new ways, or listen to less familiar passages for what they might say to us. I want my hymns to enliven those who sing, to give singers something new which they can make their own.”

Besides hymn and anthem texts, Leach has written three cantatas with music by Curt Oliver, and words for art song by composers Carson Cooman, William Vollinger, and Stanley Grill. With David Schaap, he edited The Selah Psalter, Hear the Angels Sing, and And Jesus Said, Hymns on the Parables.

Born in Bangor, Maine, in 1953, Leach received a B.A. in religion from Bowdoin College (1974), and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary (1978). He was a United Church of Christ pastor in Connecticut from 1978 to 1999. He is now a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Leach lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with his wife, Beverly. He writes secular poetry as well as sacred poetry, and is a visual artist working chiefly in paper collage.


Jason Locke
Jason Locke is a Toronto-based church music director, composer, keyboardist and teacher. He is currently at Islington United Church, Toronto after serving several churches across numerous denominations in the greater Toronto area.

Jason received his undergraduate degree in religious studies from Tyndale University College in Toronto, Ontario and his Master’s Degree in Sacred Music from Emmanuel College, University of Toronto where he majored in composition.

As a composer, Jason’s music has been performed across North America – most notably, The Suite of Psalms (2008), Requiem (2012), Three Christmas Spirituals (2016) and numerous other anthems, arrangements and choral settings. Most recently, Jason has composed choral settings of ‘Mid All the Traffic’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘This Is My Story’ (Blessed Assurance), ‘Peace For the Children’ and ‘Abide With Me’, which was published by GIA in the new Emmanuel College Choral Music Series, Fall 2021.


Lyn Loewi
Lyn Loewi has been engaged in the work of discovering and advancing the work of women composers for over 40 years. She is a president of the Women’s Sacred Music Project, member of the Great Host of Composers team, serves on the task force for gender equity for the American Guild of Organists, and highlights works by women organ composers in her work as Associate Organist at the historic St. John’s-Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. She holds a DMA from Stanford University and a Unanimous First Prize in Organ from the National Conservatory of France, where she studied with Marie-Claire Alain.


Lloyd MacLean
After many years juggling a career in farm equipment sales with life as a church musician, in retirement I now find time to be a music leader in a small rural United Church congregation, and a larger (meaning they have an organ!) Presbyterian congregation. Having helped introduce Voices United and More Voices, my involvement as chair of the Then Let Us Sing/Gathering Online project feels very natural. Our hope for this project is that we can provide digital access to all of our worship and music resources to our United Church congregations, those denominations with whom we are in communion (like the United Church of Christ), and others through our partners in this project, GIA Publications and Hope Publishing Company. We also are continuing our efforts to honour copyright in global song, by tracking down sources of material and compensating them for the use of their material through our global denominational partners. Our committee and various subcommittees have been working on this project for over three years, and intend to be fully active in time for our centennial in 2025.


Patrick Michaels
Patrick Michaels is a long-time member of The Hymn Society, who has composed hundreds of new hymn tunes, many of which are published by The Leupold Foundation or its predecessor, Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.


Bartholomew Orr II
The brilliancy of Bart Orr’s acclaimed artistry at drums, keyboard and organ has widely recruited him into setting, sharpening and stylistically syncopating the tempo behind Shirley Caesar, Myron Butler, Vashawn Mitchell, CeCe Winans , Earnest Pugh, Leandria Johnson, Dorinda Clark Cole, The Full Gospel Baptist Mass Choir, Tasha Cobb-Leonard, Lisa Knowles & The Brown Singers and The Walls Group. The precision of his rhythmic articulation can be also be felt pulsating behind Kurt Carr, Jekalyn Carr and Timiney Figueroa.

Bart has also established a popular presence on social media. Bart launched an internet challenge to musicians and singers – “The Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Challenge”. This challenge created an overwhelming response and excitement for musicians and singers all over the country. Since this viral challenge, Bart’s social media presence has grown and sparked more challenges and followers who groove and glean from his phenomenal artistry.

In addition to his growing popularity on social media, Bart has been nominated for two 2018 Sound Revolution Awards for Internet Break-Out Musician of the Year and Streaming Hit of the Year (“Gotta Keep It Pushin”).

Producer, songwriter, and musician Bart Orr celebrated his first win at the 53rd NAACP Image® Awards. As a co-songwriter (Justin Pearson, LaTia Mann, Phillip Bryant, Tamela Mann, Tiffany Mann) he was awarded for Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song for Tamela Mann’s Billboard #1 hit song, “Help Me,” featuring The Fellas.The song hit the #1 spot on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay Chart in September 2021, spent 4 weeks in that position and to date has generated over 5.4 million audio streams.

Orr is Grammy® Award Nominated, Billboard chart-topper and Stellar award-winning artist. The Memphis, Tennessee native who’s insanely famous on his Instagram and YouTube social media platforms kicked off 2022 on a high note with his contemporary jazz instrumental album, “NO FEAR.”


Deborah (Hyun-Hee) Park
Deborah Park is an accomplished pianist, conductor, composer, and educator with international experience. She has completed the Licentiate Diploma and the ARCT Diploma in Piano Performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto (the two highest diplomas in the examination system). Deborah has also performed formal concerts in Korea, Germany, Canada, and the US, and won international Competitions (the American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music 2014, the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition 2016, the Golden Classical Music Award Competition 2016, and the Concert Artists International Virtuoso Competition 2017), which resulted in being invited to perform in Carnegie Hall. She has released two CDs – see

Currently, Deborah is working as the Music Director/Organist at Fairview United Church (Branford, Ontario) and completed her Master of Sacred Music at Emmanuel College, in the University of Toronto in 2021. As a composer, she has been writing global music, hymns, and solo piano works that are inspired by her life experiences in many countries. Her musical portfolio includes explorations of spirit, theology, philosophy, nature, and human relationships. Her academic research explores Korean musical traditions and Christian contextual theologies as resources for liturgy and liberation.


Iteke Prins
Iteke Prins is a long-time member of The Hymn Society, who has composed hundreds of new hymn tunes, many of which are published by The Leupold Foundation or its successor, Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.


Katie Reimer
Katie Reimer is passionate about creating spaces for connecting to the Divine. She strives to build relationships of messy mutuality across all that divides, nourishing the conditions that allow life to flourish. Katie is a pianist, teacher, worship leader and theologian. She is the Executive Director for the World Day of Prayer International Committee. Katie is also the Artistic and Executive Director of the Mimesis Ensemble, a group she founded in 2008.

Katie holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, a M.M. in Piano Performance from Boston Conservatory, and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, with a concentration in Interreligious Engagement.


Gerald Lee Ricks
As a worship architect, conductor and educator, Gerald Lee Ricks enjoys a multifaceted career spanning a unique musical gamut. Gerald, a Florida native but Georgia-raised, holds an Associate of Science in Education from Middle Georgia State University (Macon State College), Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Georgia Southwestern State University, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Townsend School of Music at Mercer University.

Gerald’s distinctive style, creative skill, and bold charisma paved the way for Gerald to become a notable conductor and music director in the Southeastern region. In addition to leading music at various United Methodist connectional events and conferences, Gerald served on the staff of various metro Atlanta United Methodist congregations, including Ousley (Lithonia, GA), Wesley Chapel (McDonough, GA), Glenn Memorial (Atlanta, GA), and Central (Atlanta, GA). He also served as the minister of worship and arts at Brown Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the Mississippi area boasting a congregation of 12,000 members.

Gerald has collaborated with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra serving as the assistant director and accompanist of the Gospel Choir producing both The Atlanta Gospel Christmas Concert Series and S. Truett Cathy (Founder of Chick-fil-A) 90th birthday celebration at the Woodrow Arts Center. Gerald also served as the director of the Imani Voices at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In addition, Gerald vocally collaborated with the Heritage Signature Chorale and the National Symphony Orchestra in the production of “Get Out.” Most recently, Gerald designed and led worship for the both the 2021 and 2022 Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church alongside Bishop Sharma Lewis.

Gerald currently serves National City Christian Church as the Director of Worship, Music & Arts.


Fernando Berwig Silva
Fernando Berwig Silva is a Brazilian composer and Master of Sacred Music student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. A Drummer since his teenage years, Berwig Silva holds a bachelor’s degree in Composition and Conducting from Paraná State University and has experience leading music in churches from diverse cultural backgrounds. He served for three years as Coordinator of Arts Ministries at a Lutheran church in Brazil. Fernando has premiered compositions at the intersection of church and concert music in Europe, the US, and Brazil.


Alydia Smith
Alydia is the Program Coordinator for Worship, Music and Spirituality for the United Church of Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Western Ontario with a specialist in music history and popular culture, Learning Strategy Specialist training from Cambrian College, a Master’s in Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology and a doctorate in worship from Drew University under the mentorship of Donald Hilliard and Leonard Sweet.


Marcell Silva Steuernagel
Please see bio under Hymn Festival Leaders


Theresa Steward
Dr. Theresa Steward is an active musician and musicologist living and working in Richmond, VA. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Edinburgh (UK). Theresa is currently Organist/Pianist and Church Administrator at Grace Baptist Church in Richmond. Her musicological research and publications have focused on Iranian popular music studies, but these days she finds herself writing about her spiritual journey as a Muslim working in a Baptist church. Theresa is also a certified mind-body instructor, and she incorporates and promotes mindfulness practices in much of her work.


Joshua Taylor
Joshua Taylor is the Instructor of Sacred Music Studies in the College of Music at the University of North Texas and the Director of Worship & Music at First United Methodist Church of Denton, Texas. He is a former community musician for the Iona Community and the former Director of Worship & Music at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. He holds a Doctor of Pastoral Music Degree from Perkins School of Theology/SMU, a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Kansas State University, and a Bachelor of Music Education from UNT. Additionally, he has completed a Certificate in Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the proud dad of Hannah and Catherine.


Mykayla Turner
Mykayla Turner is a Master of Sacred Music student attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Under the direction of Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel, her thesis research focuses on the role of music in rural congregations. Mykayla has completed graduate coursework at Conrad Grebel University College and Southern Methodist University in both theological studies and church music. She obtained her A.C.C.M. in Piano Performance from Conservatory Canada in 2023. Mykayla is an active church musician and liturgist in Mennonite, Methodist, and ecumenical contexts.


Paul Weber
Paul David Weber, choral conductor and educator, composer, and Lutheran pastor is Visiting Professor of Church Music in the School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South for the 2022-2023 academic year. He is Professor Emeritus of Church Music and Director of Choral Activities at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, NC, where he coordinated the Sacred Music Program, developing an undergraduate degree in sacred music for the training of church musicians and pastors. Graduates of this program now serve in parishes and academic institutions across the country.

Weber has composed more than 250 anthems, hymn arrangements, and liturgical settings; and approximately 75 hymns, many including both text and tune. He is a contributing composer to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (#724, “All Who Love and Serve Your City;” #189, “Holy, Holy, Holy;” and the accompaniment for #411, “We All Believe in One True God”) and to Lutheran Service Book (#455, “The Royal Banners Forward Go,” and #962, “Lamb of God”). His setting for Jaroslav Vajda’s baptismal hymn, “This Child of Ours, This Miracle” is published at #455 in Voices United, the hymnal of the United Church of Canada. The new hymnal supplement to ELW, All Creation Sings, contains his text and tune, “Founded on Faith.”

Weber has graduate degrees from the University of Iowa, Yale University School of Music, Washington University (St. Louis), and Christ Seminary-Seminex (St. Louis) and is a distinguished alumnus of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Prior to his teaching career, Weber served two Lutheran congregations in western Pennsylvania, and in retirement has supplied in Episcopal parishes in southwestern Virginia.


Becca Whitla
Becca Whitla is the professor of practical ministry and the Dr. Lydia E. Gruchy Chair in Pastoral Theology at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she teaches worship and liturgy, preaching, and religious education. Her book Liberation, (De)Coloniality, and Liturgical Practices: Flipping the Song Bird (Palgrave McMillan, 2020) examines ways to liberate and decolonize liturgical practices, especially community singing.


Kiran Wimberly
Kiran Young Wimberly is an American PC(USA) minister based in Northern Ireland. Collaborating with Irish musicians, she has arranged and recorded four volumes of Celtic Psalms, all of which have been published by GIA, with Vols. 3 and 4 being new releases. The Celtic Psalms musical group is made up of Kiran and the McGrath family, and they have shared their Psalm settings in Ireland and in North America, on BBC and Irish TV and radio, and in Protestant, Catholic, mixed, and secular venues.

Kiran’s ThM studies at Princeton Theological Seminary focused on the convergence of music, spirituality, the Psalms, and trauma, and she continues to explore these subjects through her current creative projects. During COVID, Kiran began a podcast called “Psalms for the Spirit” in which she converses with guests about the connection between spirituality and resilience through the lens of the Psalms.

Kiran is also a spiritual director, a retreat and pilgrimage leader, and a member of the Corrymeela Community.