Thomas Bandar currently serves as Executive and Artistic Director of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, and maintains active parallel careers as an arts administrator, violist, and music educator. Through his successive leadership roles at the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Curtis Institute of Music—where he served as Associate Dean—he has guided an entire generation of gifted young musicians through their music education and transition to life as professional musicians. Thomas is a frequent guest artist at universities and conservatories around the country and can often be heard performing with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra.
Barry Bobb has served as a junior high and high school teacher in Lutheran schools and has been an active church musician and composer for many years. For 16 years he served in various capacities at Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis. In retirement he works as the volunteer director of the Center for Church Music, located at Concordia University Chicago.
Todd Carrico has served the church in full-time Music Ministry for over 40 years, and has recently retired from his position at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In 1997 he founded the Cantate Domino Choir School in Toledo and from 2005 until 2017 served as the Accompanist and Associate Conductor of the Lutheran Youth Choir International. He has played organ concerts in Hungary at the Szeged Cathedral and at the St. Anna Church in Budapest. Todd holds degrees from Valparaiso University in organ performance and in choral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Chris Clay is a lifelong Lutheran and a worship leader who has served the church on every level from the local parish to national and churchwide events. He currently serves as Director of Contemporary Worship and Innovative Technologies at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Christopher Cock is Senior Research Professor in Music at Valparaiso University. As Director of the Bach Institute at Valparaiso from 2001-2022, he led multiple performances of all of Bach’s major works and numerous cantatas. This distinguished conducting experience combined with his critically acclaimed performances as a Bach Evangelist have made him one of America’s foremost experts on the music of J.S. Bach.
Michael D. Costello is the Cantor at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois, and is the Artistic Director of Chicago Choral Artists, a professional chorus specializing in works of contemporary composers and the German Baroque. At Grace Costello directs the Bach Cantata Vespers ministry, now in its 53rd year, has conducted nearly 100 of Bach’s cantatas and Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Mass in B Minor, and Christmas Oratorio. As a baritone, Costello sings with Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago and St. Charles Singers. A graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, Costello has choral and organ works published by MorningStar Music, Augsburg Fortress, and Concordia Publishing House, among others.
Alexa Doebele is professor of music, director of choral activities, and director of graduate church music at Concordia University Wisconsin, where she conducts three choirs in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, conducting, and choral literature. She is a frequent clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor, is active as an editor of choral music, and she is also active as both a solo and choral singer. Prior to her arrival in Wisconsin, Dr. Doebele served as the Director of Music at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and since then has served as interim choir director at churches in the Milwaukee area.
David Eyler started as director of percussion studies at Concordia College in 1987. He was director of the Concordia Percussion Ensemble and Marimba Choir until his retirement in 2023. These two groups have released three compact discs: “Wood, Metal, Skin,” “Reckless,” and Christmas Favorites.” Eyler has a broad background in both public school and college teaching. He has directed elementary through high school concert and marching bands, university wind ensembles, been assistant conductor of the Louisiana State University Symphony Orchestra, acting director of Percussion Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and director of The Concordia College Jazz Ensemble.
Chad Fothergill is a keyboardist and historian who serves the church as a musician, teacher, writer, and composer. He is author of Sing with All the People of God: A Handbook for Church Musicians and has contributed both writings and compositions to several worship resources. Chad presently serves as chapel organist at Duke University Chapel, assists with weekday liturgies at Duke Divinity School, and is cantor to the Lutheran Summer Music community. Prior to his appointment at Duke, he was interim co-director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, past editor of the ALCM journal CrossAccent, and taught at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Delaware.
Shannon Gravelle is Director of Choral Activities at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Her current research examines how identity, gesture, and pedagogy intersect; advocacy and equity are important components of her research. She has served as a church music director, choral conductor, hand bell conductor, pianist, and vocal soloist, and her publications can be found in Notes, Carolina Caroler, The Choral Scholar, ChoralNet, and The Choral Journal. In addition to conducting and scholarly activities, she enjoys singing, playing piano and guitar, identifying ways to collaborate with other musicians, running, and going to baseball games.
Julie Grindle is a lifelong church musician, accompanist and teacher now serving as Associate to the Bishop for Candidacy, Roster Care, and Administration in the Upstate NY Synod (ELCA). She is a former president of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and a former member of the advisory board
to the Institute of Liturgical Studies (ILS). She has written for CrossAccent, InTempo, Sundays and Seasons, Living Lutheran, and the Prelude Planner blog. She lives in Baldwinsville, NY, with her husband, David.
Linda Witte Henke pastored congregations in the ELCA’s Rocky Mountain Synod prior to developing a practice focused on liturgical art that resulted in the completion of more than 80 commissions for churches and church agencies. She has also exhibited her exploratory work in hundreds of venues in Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. A resident of Westfield, IN, Henke is in frequent demand as a writer and presenter on topics related to liturgical arts and worship.
Ana Hernández is a composer/arranger, workshop facilitator, theomusicologist, songleader, and author. She travels around collaborating with groups small and large to deepen community and create beautiful liturgies in many different styles. Ana’s work aims to bring each of us to a sustainable place in terms of showing up, being present, and listening generatively, so we can remember how beloved we all are.
Mark W. Lawson is President of ECS Publishing Group, parent company for E.C. Schirmer, Galaxy Music Corporation, and MorningStar Music Publishers. Mr. Lawson is responsible for publication development, strategic focus, and management of the three publishing imprints as well as for ARSIS Audio. ECS controls the rights to more than 20,000 copyrights and publishes music and books for schools, churches, professional ensembles, and opera companies. Mr. Lawson currently serves on the executive board of Chorus America. He is active in the National Music Publishers Association, and the Church Music Publishers Association.
Stacie Lightner is the Cantor at St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she plays organ and piano and directs the Chancel Choir and Wings of Grace handbell choir. She holds degrees in organ and church music from The University of Kansas and a doctorate in organ performance from McGill University in Montreal. She is a Minister of Word and Service in the ELCA and member of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA.
Craig Mueller has served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago since 1999. He is also auxiliary professor of spiritual formation and church administration at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Mueller is author of Any Body There? Being Human in a Digital Age; Soli Deo Gloria: Choir Devotions for Year A; and liturgical texts and other worship materials for Augsburg Fortress. In addition, he was primary compiler for Indexes for Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings, which includes a list of hymns for each Sunday and festival in the church year. Pr. Mueller has strong connections with Lutheran Summer Music, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the Institute of Liturgical Studies.
Sara Nordling is a deaconess in the LC-MS whose ministry finds expression both as an instructor and as a practicing artist. A resident of Fort Wayne, IN, she teaches in the art department at the University of St. Francis and maintains an active commission schedule for projects purposed for liturgical use.
John Arthur Nunes is a pastor in Santa Monica, California and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. Formerly he served as the President of Concordia College and the President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief. He and Monique, his wife, reside in Southern California where she serves as a Director in Student Affairs at Concordia University Irvine.
Anne Krentz Organ serves as Director of Music Ministries at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois. Her responsibilities include worship planning, service playing, and direction of the choral and instrumental music program which includes adult, youth, and children’s choirs, a handbell choir, and a variety of instrumental ensembles. She holds degrees from Valparaiso University, the University of Illinois, and Concordia University Chicago. Her choral, handbell, organ, and piano compositions are published by Abingdon Press, Augsburg Fortress, Choristers Guild, Concordia Publishing House, Hope Publishing Company, and MorningStar Music Publishers. Anne is a past-president of ALCM.
Ruth Sall is Director of Christian Education and Children’s Music at Abington Presbyterian Church in Abington, PA. She leads choirs for elementary aged children and older youth as well as weekly music exploration for preschoolers. Ruth brings abiding energy to a holistic approach to faith development for children through word and music, using many different paths to help children find their true expression of faith and worship. Her care for young people is evident as she employs creativity, learning, singing, reading, movement, and drama to help them find their voice, to discover a connection to their Creator, and to build a foundation of scripture through text.
David A. VanderMeer is currently Minister of Music and Fine Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to moving to Ann Arbor, Dave served for 18 years as Minister of Music and Fine Arts at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA. Dave has been in full-time church music for over 42 years and has served churches in New Jersey, Texas, Georgia and now Michigan, his home state. Dave is nationally known as a handbell clinician/conductor and has served as Conference Directors for various Worship and Music Conferences for the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM). Dave is past president of PAM and is currently the Vice President of the PAM Great Lakes Region. Dave has a passion for creative and authentic worship, visual and liturgical arts, and choral/handbell music. In his spare time, Dave enjoys cooking, entertaining, reading, traveling, and enjoying grandsons.