Speakers at the Tallahassee Sacred Music Conference – January 22 – January 24, 2015

 [button link=”” color=”purple”]Tallahassee Sacred Music Conference Schedule[/button]


Don Saliers
Don Saliers

Don E. Saliers

Don E. Saliers is Wm. R. Cannon Professor of Theology and Worship, Emeritus, at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and is adjunct professor at St. John’s University School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Yale Divinity School, with doctoral work at Cambridge and Yale Universities. He served as President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and the North American Academy of Liturgy, from whom he received the Berakah Award in 1992.. Before joining Emory University in 1974, he taught at Yale Divinity School and has taught in the summer programs at St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN), Notre Dame, Boston College, Vancouver School of Theology, and more recently at Boston University School of Theology.

For many years he directed the Sacred Music Program at Emory, and has been organist/choirmaster at Cannon Chapel for 35 years. Among his published books are Filled With Light ( 2008), Music and Theology (2007), Sounding Glory: Hymns for the Church Year (2006), A Song to Sing, A Life to Live (2005) with his daughter Emily of the Indigo Girls, Worship and Spirituality (1996), Worship Come to Its Senses (1996), Worship As Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine (1994),and The Soul in Paraphrase: Prayer and the Religious Affections (1991). He has published more than 150 articles, essays, chapters in books and book reviews. Currently he is working on a theological commentary on the Psalms.

Don served United Methodist churches in rural Ohio and the inner city of New Haven, Connecticut. He has given numerous named lectures across the United States on matters of worship, spirituality and music, and has been involved in the development of United Methodist worship resources for forty years. He has been an editor of Worship journal, and of Weavings, in addition to being an active composer, performing regularly with the Emory Chamber Players in Atlanta. He continues to teach, lecture and lead retreats.

Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra
Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra

Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, Guest Artist and Hymn Festival Leader

Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra resuscitates historic improvisation pedagogy in her acclaimed publications, Bach and the Art of Improvisation (professional-level), Improvisation Endeavors (entry-level), and Muse (a capella works for children), published by CHI Press. Ruiter-Feenstra performs solo recitals and hymn festivals throughout North America and Europe and early music concerts with Voci dell’Anima. She composes liturgical organ and choral works; conducts choral and chamber music ensembles; leads choral, historic keyboard, and sacred music workshops; and presents and teaches improvisation courses on historical instruments nationally and internationally, including at the Westfield Center for Keyboard Studies, the Smarano (Italy) International Organ and Improvisation Academy, and the Göteborg (Sweden) International Organ Academy. She was a featured artist and clinician at the 2014 National Conference of the American Guild of Organists in Boston, and Director of the AGO 2014 Pipe Organ Encounters Advanced for high school students.

From 1989–96, Ruiter-Feenstra served as Professor of Music at Bethany College, then Professor of Music, University Organist, and Director of Collegium Musicum at Eastern Michigan University from 1996–2008. During 1996–2002, Ruiter-Feenstra was engaged as Senior Researcher, pedagogue, and performer of historic improvisation at the international Göteborg (Sweden) Organ Art Center. Her CDs include: Tunder Organ Works and Bach, the Liturgical Year, and Improvisation (; and on the harpsichord: Froberger on the 1658 De Zentis, and Bach’ Teacher Böhm and Improvisation ( Ruiter-Feenstra is a Fleur De Son Classics recording artist.

Ruiter-Feenstra received the DMA and MFA degrees in Organ Performance & Pedagogy, with emphases in Conducting, Sacred Music, and Music Theory from the University of Iowa. Her undergraduate degree in Organ Performance and Choral Music Education is from the Dutch immigrant school, Dordt College. Her postdoctoral work focused on historic keyboard instruments in Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Italy. Ruiter-Feenstra’s mentors include Delbert Disselhorst, Delores Bruch, Harald Vogel, William Porter, Edoardo Bellotti, historic instruments and builders, and decades of colleagues, collaborators, and students.


Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director of the Church Music Institute
Charlotte Kroeker

Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director of the Church Music Institute, came to Dallas from the University of Notre Dame where she held a faculty research position in church music.  She is the author of The Sounds of Our Offerings: Achieving Excellence in Church Music, Alban Press, 2011, and editor of Music in Christian Worship, Liturgical Press, 2005.

Charlotte Kroeker is trained as a performing pianist and pedagogue, spending most of her career as a church-related college professor and administrator.  Born and raised in the General Conference Mennonite Church, she has served as organist and/or choir director in Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist congregations, concurrent with her academic appointments.  She has spent the last 15 years studying foundational issues for effective music in worship.  In this process she has had grants from the Lilly Endowment, Louisville Institute, Wabash Center, Indiana Arts Commission, the University of Notre Dame, the Lilly Library at Indiana University and private donors to fund research and to convene conferences, workshops, and focus groups of university/seminary faculty, church musicians, pastors and laypersons.  Dr. Kroeker oversees program development, research, and strategic planning for CMI.



Dr. Sara Eyerly
Sarah Eyerly

Sarah Eyerly

Sarah Eyerly, Assistant Professor of Musicology and Director of the Early Music Program at Florida State University, holds a Ph. D. in musicology and criticism from the University of California, Davis, and a M. M. in historical performance practices from the Mannes College of Music. As a Fulbright Fellow to the Netherlands, she studied historical performance practices at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague. She has taught at Butler University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California, and has been appointed as a visiting scholar with UCLA’s Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript, Utopia Improvised: the Heavenly Lotteries of the Moravian Church. She is a member of the Council of the American Musicological Society and the Board of Directors of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music.



Dr. Iain Quinn
Iain Quinn

Iain Quinn

Iain Quinn was born in Cardiff, Wales. He grew up as a chorister at Llandaff Cathedral, also studying the organ, piano, and trumpet. At fourteen, he was appointed Organist at St. Michael’s Theological College, Llandaff. He later joined the faculty of the Blackheath Conservatoire of Music, London. In 1994 he moved to the USA for study at The Juilliard School, the University of Hartford (BM summa cum laude) and the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University (MM), returning to the UK in 2009 as a Doctoral Fellow at the University of Durham (PhD historical musicology). He holds the diplomas of Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and the Royal Schools of Music (with distinction), and is the recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship. During 2011 he was a Visiting Composer at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and in 2012 a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University.

He has held church appointments in Durham, New York and Connecticut, and from 2005–2010 served as Director of Cathedral Music & Organist at the Cathedral of St. John (Episcopal), Albuquerque, New Mexico. As an organist and conductor he has released eleven CDs on the Chandos, Hyperion, Paulus and Raven labels and performed in the UK, USA, Europe, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan and Russia. He has recently completed editions of the previously unpublished organ works and early Christmas cantata of Samuel Barber (G. Schirmer), and the complete organ works of Carl Czerny (2 volumes, A-R Editions). He has given guest lectures at universities across the USA and papers for the American Musicological Society and the Royal Musical Association. Dr. Quinn is Assistant Professor of Organ at Florida State University.



Mr. Larry Gerber
Larry Gerber

Larry Gerber

Larry Gerber, tenor, received his Bachelor of Music degree from Fort Hays Kansas State University and his Master of Music degree from Colorado State University.  Mr. Gerber received additional operatic training as an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera and as a member of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco.  Mr. Gerber has performed opera, oratorio and recitals in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and Pakistan.  Among the thirty-four operatic roles he has performed are:  Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Rodolfo (La bohème), Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  As tenor soloist, he has been heard in numerous oratorios such as: Messiah, Mozart Requiem, The Creation, Elijah, St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion.  He has been a principal artist with The National Opera of Costa Rica, Orlando Opera, Charlotte Opera, Birmingham Civic Opera, Atlanta Symphony, Charleston Opera, Dallas Bach Society, Jacksonville Symphony, The Classical Music Seminar in Eisenstadt, Austria, Shreveport Opera, Brevard Music Center, Greenville, SC Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony and Florida State Opera.

In July, 2014 Mr. Gerber retired from Florida State University. He had served on the College of Music faculty since 1979.  During his tenure at FSU, Professor Gerber taught voice, vocal pedagogy and he was the Director of the Florida State University Men’s Glee Club for 35 years.  In addition he served as Coordinator of Voice and Opera at Florida State University from 2009 until his retirement.

Mr. Gerber received four awards for outstanding teaching from Florida State University.  The most recent honor for teaching was received in 2008.  His voice students have been selected for many of the major opera training programs throughout the United States.  Mr. Gerber also held teaching positions at the University of Alabama and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Mr. Gerber continues to serve on the teaching faculty for Florida State University International Programs.  During the fall 2001 semester, he served as Academic Administrator of the Florida State University Spain Program in Valencia, Spain.  Besides teaching in Spain, Mr. Gerber has also taught For Florida State University in London and Munich.

For twenty years, Mr. Gerber has been a choir director at the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Tallahassee.  In addition he has directed the Men’s Chorus of Good Shepherd since 1997.



Dr. Robert C. Mann, Director of Music Resources
Robert C. Mann

Robert C. Mann is Director of the Music Resource Library at the Church Music Institute and Professor Emeritus of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in organ, musicology, and church music.  He has served churches for over forty years as organist or organist-choirmaster and actively participated as recitalist in solo organ repertoire, organ duets, and music for two organs.  He has been workshop clinician for AGO chapters and church worship groups at the state, regional, and national levels.  Scholarly publications are in the areas of the organ duet and Mendelssohn’s organ music.  He has traveled extensively in Europe playing and studying historic organs and is editor of two published historical organ compositions by Eugene Thayer and Gustav Merkel.  Dr. Mann joined the Dallas AGO Chapter in 2006 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2009.  Dr. Mann is in charge of developing the online searchable resource database for CMI.



Ryan Luhrs
Ryan Luhrs

Ryan Luhrs is in his third year of study at Florida State University, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Education/Choral Conducting, and is choir director and organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Thomasville, GA. He holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from Luther Seminary (with St. Olaf College) and a B.A. in Music from Luther College in Decorah, IA.  Prior to graduate study, Ryan taught music in public schools and held church music positions in Minnesota and Iowa.  From 2006 to 2012, Ryan was a member of the National Lutheran Choir.

A proponent of using singing to build community, Ryan has led or co-led ecumenical hymn festival/choral services in Waseca, MN, Howard Lake, MN, St. Paul, MN, and Tallahassee, FL.  He contributed three articles to the recently released Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology and was awarded an Austin C. Lovelace Scholarship by Hymn Society of the United States and Canada in 2014.  Ryan has studied church and/or choral music with Anton Armstrong, Christopher Aspaas, Judy Bowers, David Cherwien, Susan Palo Cherwien, Kevin Fenton, John Ferguson, Weston Noble, Sandra Peter, Timothy Peter, André Thomas, and Paul Westermeyer.



Dr. André J. Thomas
André J. Thomas

André J. Thomas

Dr. André J. Thomas, the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University. A previous faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Thomas received his degrees from Friends University (B.A.), Northwestern University (M. M.), and the University of Illinois (D.M.A). He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia.


Dr. Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive. They include conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians, summer residency of the World Youth Choir in the Republic of China and the Philippines, winter residency of the World Youth Choir in Europe, and a premier performance by an American choir (Florida State University Singers) in Vietnam. He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished orchestras and choirs as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, guest Conductor for the Berlin Radio Choir in Germany, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Charlotte Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.  Since 1988, he has also served as Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus.


Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, Fitzsimons Music Company, Lawson Gould, Earthsongs, Choristers Guild, and Heritage Music Company publish his compositions and arrangements.

Dr. Thomas has produced two instructional videos “What They See Is What You Get” on choral conducting, with Rodney Eichenberger, and “Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice” on adolescent voices, with Anton Armstrong. His recent book “Way Over in Beulah Lan’. Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual” has quickly become a major source in this area of study.  The African Diaspora Sacred Music honored Dr. Thomas as a Living Legend.

In 2011, Thomas’ dedication to and accomplishments in the choral arts were recognized by his peers in Chorus America, when that organization presented Dr. Thomas with its Distinguished Service Award.

He is a past president of the Florida ACDA, and the past president of the Southern Division of ACDA.