Julie Grindle, B.M., M.M., is a lifelong church musician, working as an organist, choir director, and music clinician. She studied organ and church music at both Valparaiso University (Bachelor of Music with Dr. Martin Jean) and the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music (Master of Music with Dr. Marilyn Keiser). She has served Lutheran and Catholic parishes in Virginia Beach, VA, Atlanta, GA and Bloomington, IN. In addition, she was chapel organist and instructor at Valparaiso University (1997-98), before coming to Baldwinsville, NY, in 2010. There she served as organist at First Presbyterian before moving to St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA) in January of 2012, where she currently serves as Director of Music Ministries. Julie served as the conference chair for the 2013 ALCM Biennial Conference, “God Is Here: Worship in a Wireless World.” She is on the Advisory Board for the Institute of Liturgical Studies, based at Valparaiso University, and the board of the Leadership Program for Musicians. She is an active vocalist in the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, and occasionally writes for the blog “Prelude Music Planner.” She lives in Baldwinsville, New York with her husband, David, and children, Will and Tom.
Kevin Barger has served as the Director of Music Ministry at Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia since 1997. At Epiphany, he has responsibility for serving as the church’s organist as well as leading adult and children’s vocal choirs, adult handbells, brass and wind/string ensembles as well as youth music activities. In addition to his work at Epiphany, Kevin is involved in the Virginia Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) as a board and faculty member. He serves as the assistant accompanist for the Richmond Symphony Chorus as well as singing tenor with the group. Kevin serves on the worship committee for the Virginia Synod, and he has served as an instructor for the Synod’s Power in the Spirit on several occasions. He served on the state’s introductory team for the Evangelical Lutheran Worship resource in 2006. He has served 2 terms as ALCM Region 2 Secretary/Treasurer in addition to being the conference registrar, serving on the conference planning team and a workshop leader at regional conferences. Kevin received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Thiel College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He enjoys running and spending time with his wife and three children and engaging them in the work of the church.
Michael Krentz is a Lecturer and Director of Music Ministries/Seminary Cantor at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; he is an Associate in Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He also serves as Director of Music/Organist at Christ Lutheran Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He received Bachelor, Master, and Doctor of Music degrees from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Krentz is currently Dean of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, a member of the Worship Team of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA, and has served in the leadership of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, including as chairperson of ALCM’s 1997 national conference, president of Region 1, and national Secretary-Treasurer.
Region 1 President
Daniel Aune is the Director of Music and Organist at Christ Lutheran Church in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, MD. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Higgs. Previous degrees at Eastman include an MM in organ with David Higgs, an MM in harpsichord with William Porter, and the Sacred Music Diploma. Additional studies included improvisation with William Porter and a doctoral minor in composition. During his undergraduate formation at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, he studied choral conducting with René Clausen and sang in The Concordia Choir. He is currently the director of the national Task Force on Denominational Music Organizations for the American Guild of Organists.
Region 2 President
Ryan K. Hostler currently serves as Minister of Word and Service for Worship at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vero Beach, FL. At Our Savior he oversees a growing and dynamic music program for all ages, directs ensembles of all ages, plans all worship services and is the main Cantor for each service. He also oversees and directs the annual Worship and Fine Arts series and performs regularly in the community. Ryan graduated with honors from the University of South Florida where he studied voice, keyboard, conducting and elementary music education. He also earned a Masters of Arts in Church Music from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. Ryan credits his love and respect of church music to his many years as a student of Lutheran Summer Music Program where he also served as a counselor and summer staff member, as well as his upbringing in the Lutheran church and parochial school setting. Ryan has been a part of leading and designing worship services for synod assemblies, bishop installations, conferences on ministry, pan-Lutheran gatherings and Association of Lutheran Older Adults events. He is also a published composer and contributor to the Augsburg Fortress Prelude Music Planner resource.
Region 3 President
Linda Martin graduated with a BME degree from BethanyCollege, Lindsborg, Kansas. She has a long teaching career in the music classroom in Kansas, Alabama and Iowa. Mrs. Martin was Director of Youth Choirs for 15 years at BethesdaLutheranChurch (Ames, IA) where she also established a choir school. At IowaStateUniversity she served as piano accompanist and music coach. She has written articles on hymns and psalms for The Chorister, Choristers Guild resource magazine. Linda taught voice at Music/Arts Institute in Independence, MO and has appeared as soprano soloist for Immanuel Lutheran Church Bach Vespers Series (K.C., MO). She has presented workshops at the Choristers Guild National Summer Session and served on the local Choristers Guild Board of Directors. Mrs. Martin launched Alleluia Worship and Arts, a program of worship education for the Immanuel children in 1994, where she has directed adult and children’s choirs and served on the Worship and Arts Board.
Region 4 President
William F. Kuhn teaches at Concordia University – Portland where he came in 2008 after serving over thirty years in the teaching ministries of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in Chicago, Hong Kong, and at Concordia University, Nebraska. Kuhn received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Concordia University – Chicago where he studied with such notable Lutheran musicians as Paul Bunjes, Richard Hillert, Carl Schalk, and Thomas Gieschen. His MM is from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and his EdD in music education is from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Kuhn is a member of a number of professional organizations including the National Association for Music Education and the American Guild of Organists where he is completing a two-year tenure as Dean of the Portland chapter. In addition to his work at Concordia, Kuhn is also Cantor at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Portland.
Director at Large
Jeffrey Blersch is Professor of Music and University Organist at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, where he teaches organ, courses in music theory and arranging, and is conductor of the Concordia Women’s Chorale. Best known for his creative hymn interpretations, he regularly performs recitals and hymn festivals across the United States. Many of his is compositions are published by Concordia Publishing House, and four of his hymn tunes are included in Lutheran Service Book. Blersch has been an active Lutheran church musician since being appointed organist of Peace Lutheran Church, Cincinnati, Ohio, at age eight. He holds degrees in organ performance and music education from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Blersch has also served as Cantor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ill., Associate Professor of Music at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., and as an elementary music specialist in the Brunswick City Schools, Brunswick, Ohio. He serves as organist and choir director at his family congregation, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in rural Staplehurst, Nebraska. Jeff and his wife Carla, also an organist, have three children, Aaron, Ryan, and Jenna.
Director at Large
Omaldo Perez is the Director of Music Ministries and Organist at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg, Ohio, where he supports the congregation from the organ console and directs the choirs and ensembles. As a church musician, interests dear to his heart are early baroque music and musical diversity in today’s church. Omaldo has served congregations in NY, NJ, AZ, WA, and OH. He has helped organize music for two Synod Conventions (Region 4) and was a guest core musician for the ELCA’s 2016 Churchwide Assembly held in New Orleans. For the last three years he has been a contributor for Sundays and Seasons, and more recently for In Tempo magazine. Omaldo has led and collaborated in workshops at Regional ALCM Conferences, and for the 2017 Minneapolis ALCM conference presented a workshop on creativity and faithful musicianship.