The Rev. Grace Imathiu currently serves as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Evanston, IL. She has a passion and gift for inspiring and nurturing prophetic communities of faith to live out loud the Jesus story. In addition to her ministry in the United States, Grace has served churches in Kenya as a church planter and considers herself to be a citizen of the world for whom “the world is her parish.” For Grace, the quintessential expression of the resurrected Lord’s presence is a community whose very DNA is a radical hospitality which births a loving and a healthy tension that is ideological, theological, racial, ethnic and cultural.
Laura Jaquith Bartlett
Worship Designer & Leader
Laura Jaquith Bartlett is a deacon in the Oregon-Idaho Conference who has served in music ministry in local churches and led workshops on congregational song, global praise, and worship design. She is a former national president of The Fellowship and served as Director of Music & Worship for the 2016 General Conference of the UMC, where she led a team that designed 27 worship services. She is currently appointed as the conference secretary for Oregon-Idaho. Laura is passionate about creative worship that engages the whole people of God, inspiring and deepening Christian discipleship.
Joby Bell has served on the faculty of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University since 2004 and has served churches in Houston and throughout North Carolina. Known for his keen sensitivity toward increasing an audience’s appreciation for organ music in his concert playing, Joby loves to hear congregations singing with the organ and brings a sense of grandeur, rhythmic integrity, and musical polish to his service playing. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ and piano from Appalachian State University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in organ from Rice University.
Choral (Adult & Youth)
Amanda Quist is the Director of Choral Activities for the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Previously, Dr. Quist was Associate Professor and Chair of the Conducting, Organ, and Sacred Music Department at Westminster Choir College. Honors include the James Mulholland National Choral Award and the Audrey Davidson Early Music Award. An active guest conductor and clinician, Dr. Quist has conducted honor choirs across the country, and served as clinician and adjudicator for national and international events. Her choral series is published through Walton Music.
Kenney Potter has been the Director of Choral Activities at Wingate University since 2005 and serves as the Artistic Director of the Charlotte Master Chorale. At Wingate, he oversees a program that is recognized for its artistic excellence. In addition, he serves as Choral Conductor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. His compositions are published by Hinshaw Music, Choristers Guild, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and he is founder and editor of Wingate University Music Press. He holds degrees from Florida State University, Portland State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Senior High Choir
Mark Miller is Associate Professor of Church Music, Director of Chapel, and Composer In Residence at Drew University in Madison, NJ, and is a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale University. He is also the Minister of Music of Christ Church (UCC) in Summit, NJ. A renowned composer of sacred music, Mark’s hymns and anthems are sung by communities of faith throughout the country and are published by Choristers Guild, Hinshaw, Hal Leonard, Abingdon Press, Santa Barbara Music Publishing and others. Mark believes that everyone is a child of God and that music can help heal the world. He also adheres to Cornel West’s belief that “justice is what love looks like in public.”
Middle High Choir
Vincent Oakes is the Artistic Director of the Chattanooga Boys Choir, a music education and performance organization which now includes over 120 choristers ages 8‐18 in five ensembles. Since 2006, he has also been the Director of Choral Music at The Baylor School, a grade 6‐12 school in Chattanooga. As a conductor/clinician, he has conducted numerous honor choirs and festivals throughout the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Sacred Music degree in Choral Conducting from Emory University.
Young Adult Choir & Evening Prayer
James Wells is the Director of Choral Ministries at Brentwood UMC near Nashville, TN. Over his 24 years of ministry he has directed choirs of every age. Currently, James leads the Asbury Children’s Choir (grades 3-5) and the Sonshine Youth Choir (grades 6-12) while overseeing all choir ensembles and participating in many areas of the Worship and Arts leadership. In addition, James has been a conductor with the Nashville Children’s Choir at Belmont University since 2010. He has been a frequent attendee and clinician at Music & Worship Arts Week since 2007.
Instrumental & Handbells
Martha Matthews conducts the longest consistently running community handbell ensemble in the country, Kalamazoo Ringers. A 34-year veteran of handbells, she founded and conducted Philadelphia Bronze, an advanced auditioned ensemble with the motto “elegant energy.” Martha also worked as Director of Sales at Malmark Bellcraftsmen, Inc. and for Handbell Musicians of America. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Houghton College and a Master of Flute Performance from the University of Idaho, and especially enjoys mentoring new directors.
Marcia J. Brantley
Marcia J. Brantley has been ringing and teaching handbells for more than 30 years. She is the Musical Director/Conductor of Palmetto Bronze, Inc., an auditioned community handbell ensemble that presents concerts in the lowcountry and across South Carolina and Georgia. In addition, she serves as the Education Chair for Handbell Musicians of America, Area 4. Marcia holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Furman University and is currently employed as pianist and handbell coordinator/director at Summerville Baptist Church in Summerville, SC.
David Stanley works as a teacher and musician to champion public music education, affirm regional identity, and promote community. At the University of Georgia, he is a doctoral graduate assistant actively involved in band program planning, logistical support, performances, and instruction. Within the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, he serves on two committees that foster coalitions and partnerships for actionable antiracism, justice, and engagement. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Furman University and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia.
Molly Stanley is the Academic Advisor for the Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Before moving to Georgia, she spent several years teaching middle school orchestra in South Carolina and Virginia. Her wide range of experience includes Suzuki violin, elementary strings, middle and high school orchestra, and children’s ministry. A native of Waynesville, NC, Molly remains connected to her hometown and Lake Junaluska (and Music & Worship Arts Week). She holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Georgia and Bachelor of Music Education degree from Furman University.
Dance, Drama & Art
Grace Cox-Johnson is a fiber artist and dyer. Her company, Color 4 the Journey, specializes in art for worship settings. In addition, Grace is Director of Music at Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church in Raytown, MO, and adjunct staff at Community Christian Church in Kansas City. She holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in church music from Scarritt Graduate School.
Korinne Cowles is a Los Angeles-based dancer, choreographer and actress. She has traveled the United States, training in all styles and performing in major cities including New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC. In Los Angeles, Korinne trains under some of the industry’s top choreographers. She is a long-time teacher of many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. Korinne holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory in Northern Virginia, and she’s excited to continue growing in faith and community at Music & Worship Arts Week 2022.
Ashanté Green is a creative director, choreographer, instructor, and dancer currently serving as the School Manager for The Dance Institute of Washington in Washington, DC, where she oversees the school’s pre-professional training program and bi-annual productions. She also coordinates performance opportunities and trains students in ballet, modern, and Afrocentric movement. Ashanté has danced in the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Pre-Professional Residency program at the Kennedy Center and has studied under Debbie Allen. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a Master of Science degree in Performance Arts Leadership and Management, both from Shenandoah University.
Hannah Barker Nickolay
Theatre in Worship
Hannah Barker Nickolay is a theatre artist, poet, and worship designer who seeks to find the place where all these things meet to serve the Kingdom. She has an M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI, and a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. Hannah and her spouse, Jackson, work with churches and academic institutions to explore how the intersection between enactment and scripture can give vitality to the worshipping life of the church.
Theatre in Worship
Jackson Nickolay is a trained theatre artist, audio producer, and audio book narrator who for the past 10 years has been working in finding the shared ground where faith and storytelling meet. Together with his spouse, Hannah, he teaches scripture enactment and tableau in the vein of the Ancient Hebrew Drama project and the Network of Biblical Storytellers. Jackson is currently pursuing an M.Div. at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI.
Mark Burrows is a composer, conductor, and educator whose music is published by many major houses. He currently serves as Director of Children’s Ministries at First UMC of Fort Worth, TX. Mark’s works are featured on numerous state and festival lists, and he receives multiple commissions each year for groups ranging from children’s choirs to adult ensembles to intergenerational festival choirs. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from Southern Methodist University and his graduate degree in conducting from Texas Christian University.