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Singing the Journey Contributor Biographies


Alexander, Elizabeth (b. 1962)

An award-winning composer whose catalog includes choral, vocal, chamber and orchestral music for musicians of all ages and abilities. Since receiving her doctorate in music composition from Cornell University, she has composed over twenty-five commissioned works for orchestras, choirs, chamber ensembles and solo musicians, and received many state, national, and international grants and awards. Her choral music has been performed by hundreds of diverse ensembles, including professional, university, children's, community and church choirs. She lives in St. Paul, MN, where she attends Unity Unitarian Church. See current information about Alexander and her music.

Anway, Sharon (b. 1951)

Sharon is the Director of Music Ministry and Composer-in-Residence at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cedar Falls, IA. A guitarist and percussionist, Sharon received her B.A. degree in music education (percussion) from the University of Northern Iowa. She has a private studio in Cedar Falls, teaching fretted instruments, percussion, and piano. Sharon also plays bass guitar in a local jazz combo and big band.

Badri, Samir (b. 1952)

Samir is from Baghdad, Iraq. He is Muslim and is married with four children. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is currently a Software Engineer and Professor. He and his family currently reside in Arizona.

Barnwell, Ysaye (b. 1946)

Dr. Barnwell is a member of All Souls Church Unitarian, in Washington D.C. where she founded the All Souls Jubilee Singers in 1977. Her workshop, “Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition,” which has been conducted on three continents, was an out-growth of her work with this choir. Dr. Barnwell is a commissioned composer/arranger, author, actress, recording artist, and producer; and she has, since 1979, been a member of the internationally acclaimed a capella ensemble, Sweet Honey in The Rock. She holds the B.S. and M.S. in Speech Pathology, the Ph.D. in Cranio-facial Studies and the M.S. in Public Health. See Dr. Barnwell’s catalog of compositions and arrangements.

Barquero Cardenal, Salvador (b. 1960)

One of Nicaraguas most honored singer/songwriters. With his sister Katia, his duo, Guardabarranco, has sung all over the world. The movie Carla’s Song used his Guerrero del Amor (Warrior of Love) for its theme. He is a fine painter, a poet, a father of two boys, a husband, and an ecologist. He lives in house on the road from Managua to Masaya. His ancestors on both sides of the family had Jewish heritage.

Barron, Mortimer (b. 1939)

Mr. Barron lives in Providence, RI. He graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in 1961. He studied the pipe organ with Professor Anton Heiller, in Vienna, Austria, from 1961-1962. Mr. Barron did post-graduate work at the Yale University Music School from 1963-1964. He has written a symphony (which was performed in 1985), a string quartet, a cantata, numerous chamber works, and works for voice as well as for chorus.

Benjamin, Tom (b. 1940)

Born in Bennington, VT, Dr. Benjamin received his degrees from Bard College, Harvard, Brandeis, and Eastman. He studied composition with Leon Kirchner, Carlos Surinach, Ernst Krenek, Arthur Berger, and Bernard Rogers. Dr. Benjamin has composed works for all media, including concertos for violin, piano and viola, symphonies, oratorios, cantatas, six operas and a great deal of choral and chamber music. Over sixty of his works have been commercially published, and several have been commercially recorded. He is author of two books on counterpoint, published by Routledge, and co-author of three music theory texts, published by Wadsworth and Oxford University Press. He has won prizes in a wide variety of composition contests here and abroad, and he has received numerous grants, awards and commissions, from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, Meet-the-Composer, the National Music Theater Network, the Barlow Foundation and many others. He is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Virginia Center and Hambidge Center. Also active as a clarinetist and choral conductor, Dr. Benjamin taught for many years at the National Music Camp (Interlochen) and the University of Houston’s School of Music. He has just retired from teaching theory and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he was for some years Chair of the Department of Music Theory. Dr. Benjamin is a Unitarian Universalist (UU) and currently lives in Columbia, MD. He is the Director of Music at the UU Congregation of Columbia, MD.

Bornstein, Mimi (b. 1964)

Mimi is a professional choral director, pianist, singer, performer, composer, workshop and worship leader, and sound healer. Her home-base is in mid-coast Maine. Mimi travels extensively bringing her ministry to Unitarian Universalist congregations nationwide. She is a Unitarian Universalist with Jewish roots.

Budd, Daniel (b. 1951)

Daniel is currently serving as Parish Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, OH.

Denham, Shelley Jackson (b. 1950)

Shelley is the director of Marketing & Program at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Centers, a Unitarian Universalist (UU) values-based organization in Highlands, NC, where she has served on the staff since 1989. A life-long Unitarian Universalist, she grew up in Cincinnati, OH and is still a member of First Unitarian Church and Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church. She has four hymn tunes and five texts in Singing the Living Tradition and a number of published songs and anthems. As a member of The Mountain Quartet with fellow staff Tom & Jane Warth and Ian Denham, she has provided worship services, workshops and concerts throughout the UU Association. She is a member of the UU Musicians Network, Church of the Larger Fellowship, and The Interfaith Alliance.

Fernández-Badillo, Pablo (b. 1912)

Pablo was born in the mountain district of Aguadilla in Puerto Rico. He graduated with a Bachelor in Arts with concentrations in Spanish and Music from the Polytechnical Institute of San Germa'n (known as the Inter-American University today). He also studied in the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and has dedicated his life to the education of Spanish and Music in the system of Public Instruction of Puerto Rico.

He is an excellent composer, guitarist, pianist, and director of choral groupings. For fifty years he was part of a musical trio with Tatín Vale and Carmen Olga Perez, which performed in Aguadilla. He is now retired in the district mountain cradle and dedicated to agricultural tasks as well as reading, writing and composing.

Flurry, Henry S. (b. 1964)

Henry is a composer, pianist, and choral conductor. He composes for solo instruments and ensembles of all sizes. His works have been commissioned by many groups, including the Atlanta Wind Symphony, Kennesaw State University, Yavapai Community College, and Balance Duo. His sacred and secular choral works are frequently performed by many choirs, and his orchestral work Fanfare for My City was selected to be the official fanfare for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He and his family live Prescott, AZ, where he composes, teaches privately, and serves as Music Director for Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He and his wife, Maria Flurry, currently perform together as the duo, Sticks and Tones. Henry is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network. See additional information about Henry and his compositions.

Freundt, Mark (b. 1966)

Mark lives near Greensboro, NC, and is the Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro. He graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in piano performance. In 1992 he was the winner of the NC Jazz Composer’s Fellowship. Mark teaches at the Weaver Center Performing Arts School in Greensboro and at Guilford College where he founded Jazz Ensembles and released an all-original recording Dance for the Moon. As a jazz pianist, he has performed with Fred Wesley, Bobby Shew, Carl Fontana, and Nell Carter.

Gagné, Jeannie (b. 1960)

Jeannie lives in rural Massachusetts with her two children. She has been singing professionally since joining the Tri-Cities Opera (New York) at age four; since then her work includes recording with Philip Glass, singing R&B with comedians Penn and Teller on NBC-TV, and touring Europe with reggae legend Frankie Paul. She has received extensive press coverage such as feature stories on PBS's All Things Considered and the CBS Evening News. Jeannie is a voice professor at the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she teaches classes and lessons in pop/rock, blues, jazz, folk, and classical styles. She is a songwriter, with two solo CDs to her credit. She has also sung on numerous recordings by other artists including Jason Shelton’s recent “Fire of Commitment” and renowned jazzman Stan Strickland’s new release “Love and Beauty.”

At General Assembly 2005 in Ft. Worth, TX, Jeannie is leading the music for several major events, including the Sunday morning Worship Service, as well as the Closing Ceremony with co-director Rev. Jason Shelton. An active member and workshop leader for the Unitarian Universalist Musician Network (UUMN), Jeannie is currently completing her term serving the UUMN Board. She also served on the New Hymns Task Force which developed this supplement.

Born into a family that was musical, Unitarian Universalist (UU), and Jewish, Ms. Gagné has been writing songs and studying instruments since the tender age of six. Her musical background is diverse. It includes extensive classical study on piano and voice, plus contemporary singing/songwriting with guitar and piano, piano “combing” jazz, blues and pop, and West African Drumming at Wesleyan University where she received her B.A. in Music. With a mother and brother who are both classical pianists—plus a sound-engineer-brother for major contemporary artists like Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder—Ms. Gagné’s family environment was a significant part of her musical diversity. Jeannie’s mother, Molly Low, is also a retired UU Music Director in San Diego. Combining her musical diversity and vocal skill, UU service, and expertise as a teacher, Ms. Gagné has designed her M.A. from Lesley University in Wellness through Voice. She now offers performance-wellness workshops for vocalists and others with Stan Strickland. See additional information about Jeannie.

Hamilton, Dennis (b. 1944)

Dennis is senior minister at Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, TX. He is a member of Unitarian Universalist Musician Network and has also served on the New Hymns Task Force that developed this supplement.

Hayes, Mark W. (b. 1949)

Mark grew up in northern Michigan, and he discovered Unitarian Universalism at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, MD in 1988. He is currently the Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA.

Herman, Ken (b. 1944)

Ken is Music Director and Organist of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, CA, and a past president of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network. Raised in the Lutheran tradition, he majored in Church Music at St. Olaf College. Ken also served on the New Hymns Task Force which developed this supplement.

Jenson, Matt (b. 1964)

Matt is a pianist, organist, composer, singer, and educator. He asked for lessons in trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and piano at an early age. Piano finally became his instrument of choice, and Matt went on to receive a Masters Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Currently Matt is on the faculty at Berklee College of Music and performs with his group, The Acid Reggae Xperience. See more details about his music.

Jones, Sarah Dan (b. 1962)

Sarah Dan was born in Brunswick, GA and currently resides in Decatur, GA. Sarah Dan is the Director of Music at the Northwest Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregation in Sandy Springs, GA. She is on the Board of Trustees for Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network and has served as secretary of that organization. Active as a clinician and speaker, Sarah Dan has presented workshops around the country on effective songleading and growing music programs within UU congregations. Additionally, Sarah Dan has been the guest speaker at many churches within the MidSouth District, as well as congregations nationwide. She served as Music Coordinator for General Assembly in 2007 and will serve in this capacity again in 2008. Sarah Dan also teaches privately. See more information about Sarah.

Kleen, Les (b. 1942)

Les was born in Nebraska, but soon moved to Colorado. His father was a Methodist minister, and they lived in four different towns in Colorado while Les was growing up. He attended University of Denver, Cornell University, and received the Ph.D. in music composition from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was on the faculty of the School of Music and composer at Ohio University from 1974 to 1984. While there, he worked closely with the theater department, and wrote music for Lear, The Crucible, and the premier of Starfall by James Spencer. His Violin Designs was performed at the Biennale in Venice in 1982. Dr. Kleen is now a computer systems engineer in Columbus, OH. He has been the director of the choir of the First Untiarian Universalist Church of Columbus since 1985. Many of his compositions have been written for the Columbus choir. The larger recent compositions include a musical Stardust and Earthbeams in 1992, and You Are the Music for orchestra, soloists and choir in 1997.

Kyles, Jerome (b. 1974)

Jerome was born in Miami, Florida, and began performing at an early age. His music borrows from many different genres including classical, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and even pop, but never falls short of gospel. Visit his website to discover more about Jerome.

MacKay, Karen (b. 1952)

Karen is known as the "West Virginia Woman." It was at the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair in Ripley, WV, where fifteen year old Karen first sat at the feet of her teacher and mentor “Aunt Jennie” Wilson, the “undisputed banjo-pickin’ mountain matriarch of southern West Virginia.” From “Aunt Jennie” she learned the clawhammer style of banjo playing, as well as the old time songs and lore of the strong-minded women of the West Virginia mountains. For the next fifteen years Karen and “Aunt Jennie” were reunited for performances at that same fair. Karen also shared “Aunt Jennie’s” stories, old modal songs and folk philosophy in countless performances at fairs, festivals, conventions, and colleges throughout the East. Karen currently resides in Secane, PA, and she is available to provide programs, performances, concerts, workshops, and strolling entertainment at a wide variety of venues.

Martin, Windsong Dianne (b. 1954)

Dianne was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, to Sally and Bob Chapman. Dianne was interested in singing and music from a very young age and sang in many church and eclectic choirs. She learned to play guitar at fourteen and began to learn folk singing and began sharing her music in many settings. She wrote her first song in 1978. She received the singing name, Windsong, in 1978. She continues to write and sing for people in many settings—sharing songs about the beauty of nature and opening hearts with songs to inspire a compassionate humanity. She also teaches music is active in her own band which plays festivals and concerts primarily on the West Coast. She lives in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon in a rural valley called Williams. There she is raising a family, growing food, and continuing to express her love of music.

Mayer, Peter (b. 1963)

Peter is a singer/songwriter based in Stillwater, MN. He has been touring full-time since 1995. Peter has six CDs to his credit, and is currently working on his seventh. He has been a member of the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Community since 2000. Additional information about Peter and his compositions may be found at his website.

McDade, Carolyn (b. 1935)

Carolyn and was raised in Louisiana. She is a woman of faith seeking with others to touch what matters, and she has long, deep bonds with Unitarian Universalism. She now lives in Cape Cod, MA. See more information about Carolyn.

Moran, David (b. 1967)

David was born and currently lives in Richardson, TX. He is the music director at Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, TX.

Morn, Mary Katherine (b. 1961)

Mary Katherine had her first church job as a pianist at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Shreveport, LA, while in college. She entered seminary directly out of college and has served UU churches in Macon, GA, and Nashville, TN. Mary Katherine is currently serving as the Minister of Worship at the Fairfax Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fairfax, VA.

Nordlie, Nancy L. (b. 1953)

Nancy is a native of Michigan, where she currently resides. She is the choir director for the Paint Creek Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Rochester, MI. Although not actually a member of a Unitarian Universalist church, she has been a "friend" of Unitarian Universalist faith and principles for many years. Nancy met Karen MacKay in 2003 through her work on the O Beautiful Gaia recording project, which includes If Every Woman in the World.

Norton, Elizabeth (b. 1959)

Elizabeth lives in Acton, MA. She served as children’s choir director at First Parish in Weston, MA (1992-1994), and since 1994 she has been the director of music at First Parish in Concord, MA. She is a Unitarian Universalist and has served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network.

Page, Nick (b. 1952)

Nick is a Boston based song leader, composer, writer, and workshop leader. He has brought the house down at several Unitarian Unversalist General Assemblies (GA's) including Salt Lake City and Calgary. He led the first GA Children’s Choir in Nashville and brought tears to everyone’s eyes with a poignant song called Courage about a girl who decides to change the world, but realizes this courage has to begin with her school and her home. Nick’s riveting style of song leading captivates people of all ages and musical backgrounds including the ardent non-singers (who find themselves joining in most often simply because it’s not about performance or making judgments—it’s about compassion and celebration.)

In addition to his song leading, Nick is a composer with choral music published by Boosey & Hawkes and World Music Press. He is an educator and writer who is dedicated to teaching people of all ages that they are capable of great miracles through the simple, yet powerful, act of singing. His book Sing and Shine On, An Innovative Guide to Leading Multicultural Song is published by World Music Press, and his book Music As a Way of Knowing, which is part of a series of books on how to use the arts to teach all subjects, is published by Stenhouse. Nick directs the two hundred voice Mystic Chorale of Boston. His website is a good resource for those interested in multicultural music.

Palmer, Phillip (b. 1980)

Phillip received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied music theory, piano, bassoon, composition, and conducting. He currently lives in New York City and is music director at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County. Though he strongly agrees with the principles espoused by Unitarian Universalism, he does not like to refer to himself as a Unitarian Universalist because he feels that such categorization, in the case of religion and other similar sources of partitioning, creates inaccurate and detrimental divisions between people.

Peck, Susan (b. 1960)

Susan is the Music Director at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, OR. She teaches piano and general music courses at Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College.

Penfold, Nita (b. 1950)

Nita received her Doctorate in Ministry from UCS (Matthew Fox’s Wisdom School, CA) in 2002 and served as a Unitarian Universalist director of religious education for sixteen years. Currently, she teaches as adjunct faculty at Andover Newton Theological School. She is also a published poet and editor of Hunger Enough: Living Spiritually in a Consumer Society as well as an exhibiting mixed media artist.

Perkins, Wendy Luella (b. 1966)

Wendy was born in Halifax Nova Scotia and has lived in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Ontario. Wendy was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1999. She has worked as a parish minister and now consults to congregations in Canada and the United States to help nurture healthy and vital religious communities. Wendy, a lifelong singer, enjoys exploring the interplay between singing and spirituality. She leads a weekly "Soulful Singing" group in Kingston and offers singing workshops and retreats far and wide. Soulful Singing is an approach to group singing that celebrates each voice and focuses on breathing, listening, and embodying to create music in and for the moment. Soulful Singing is meditative, improvisational, playful, and inspirational.

Wendy lives in Kingston, Ontario, (on the north shore of Lake Ontario) with her companion, Charlie Walker, who is an organist and choir director for a United Church of Canada congregation. She loves to garden organically, write funky-folky songs and chants, cook and eat vegan, and live with as much awakeness as possible. She has two adult stepchildren, Jeremy and Steph who both live in Vancouver. If you are interested in Wendy's singing retreats, workshops, or any of her other compositions, please contact her at wendy @

Poley, Joyce (b. 1941)

Joyce is a Unitarian Universalist singer/songwriter who has been featured at many General Assemblies, District conferences, Unitarian Universalist retreats and summer camps. Based in Vancouver, Canada, she has traveled extensively throughout both Canada and the United States presenting workshops and worship services that focus on congregational singing and its importance to the worship experience.

Joyce is probably best known for her intergenerational worship services, Spirit of the Christmas Tree and Would You Like to Hold the Baby, as well as her CD and songbook, Let Your Heart Sing. Perhaps her most widely used song is One More Step, which is included in the Unitarian Universalist Association hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition.

Riddell, Ian (b. 1968)

Ian is the director of music ministry at James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the artistic director of Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus, both in Madison, WI. Before moving to the midwest, Ian was music director at Capitol Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregation in Victoria, British Columbia (1996-1999), and The UU Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA (2000-2002). He holds a Bachelor's degree in music from the University of Toronto, where he studied under Doreen Rao, William Wright, and Mary Morrison. He is most proud of his involvement in creating the Stepping Stones to Teaching Music Program with Dr. Dale McIntosh and others. He was one of the co-authors of Milestones in Music History: A Resource Manual and created Stepping Stones through Music History: A Teacher's Guide. Stepping Stones is a resource guide for teaching music and music listening in the classroom.

Roderick, Libby (b. 1958)

Libby is an internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, poet, activist, teacher and lifelong Alaskan. She is well-known as an exhilarating and witty artist who offers a remarkable blend of passionate music, wry humor, and incisive commentary on social and personal issues. To learn more, visit her website.

Sandefer, Martha (b. 1952)

Martha has performed many genres of music in a wide variety of settings for nearly thirty years. She recorded, sung, and played with Trapezoid, the folk and contemporary acoustic ensemble. She is currently a member of the Work ‘o the Weavers quartet. Martha is interested in folk music from around the world and has been studying frame drums and performing in concert with percussionist Glen Velez. She is currently working toward a Master's degree in Music Education with a focus on pedagogy at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, CT.

Sanders, Rose

Rose is a civil rights attorney, education activist, songwriter, and playwright living in Selma, AL. She is the mother of three children. Ms. Sanders was Alabama’s first African American woman judge. She has co-founded many organizations which work to protect children.

Scott, Jim (b. 1946)

Jim is an acoustic guitarist, singer, and composer of powerful music that furthers the ideals of ecology, justice, and peace. Jim is a Unitarian Universalist (UU) musician and activist, and he has performed with the Paul Winter Consort for many years and was co-composer of Missa Gaia/Earth Mass. As a solo artist dedicated to earth and peace causes, he has charmed and inspired audiences around the world, created choral works, film soundtracks, a stage musical, and many recordings of songs. Over two decades he has visited more than three hundred UU Churches, and his hymn Gather the Spirit is well known across the denomination. As co-chair of the UU Seventh Principle Project, Jim helped develop the UU "Green Sanctuary" program and created "The Earth and Spirit Songbook." He now serves as a musical ambassador for the UU Service Committee. See more information.

Senesh, Hannah (1921-1944)

Hannah volunteered for a rescue mission in Europe during World War II. She was captured, tortured, and executed by a firing squad in Budapest, Hungary on November 7, 1944, at the age of twenty-three. Her legacy, which was published after her death, includes a personal diary, a collection of poems, a play, letters, photographs, and various documents. Learn more about Hannah’s life.

Shabalala, Joseph (b. 1941)

Joseph is the leader of the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo who came to the world's attention after contributing to Paul Simon's Graceland album. The name "Shabalala" has an interesting origin. "Shaba" means to wake up and "lala" means to enter the world of dreams, so Shabalala means to "wake up to the world of dreams." Discover more about Joseph Shabalala.

Shelton, Jason (b. 1972)

Jason is an award-winning composer, arranger, conductor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, workshop and retreat leader, as well as the director of music at the First Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Nashville, TN. He holds a BA in Classics from Saint Meinrad College—a Catholic seminary in Indiana; and an M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Since coming to First UU in 1998, Jason has been exploring how a Unitarian Universalist ministry of music might come to life both in the congregation and the larger community. He was fellowshipped and ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2004. In 2005, Jason released his first CD entitled The Fire of Commitment, which features studio recordings of several of the pieces found in Singing the Journey. Rev. Shelton also served on the New Hymns Task Force that developed this supplement. More information about Jason and his music can be found on his website.

Small, Fred (b. 1952)

Fred was born in Plainfield, NJ. Grandnephew of Thomas Hart Benton, the American regionalist painter (and outstanding harmonica player), Fred was playing guitar and singing folk songs by age seven. After graduating from Yale, Fred earned a law degree and a Master's Degree in natural resources policy at the University of Michigan. Fred wrote his first song in 1974 on the morning of his first law school examination. In 1980 Fred left his position as staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation to pursue his career in music full time.

In September 1996, Fred entered Harvard Divinity School in preparation for Unitarian Universalist ministry. He is now pastor of First Church Unitarian, Littleton, MA, and co-chair of Religious Witness for the Earth. See more information on Fred Small’s music.

Smith, Kenny (b. 1965)

Kenny graduated from the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. He is currently completing a degree in Music Education at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Kenny is the founder and director of Peace and Serenity, a gospel based choir going into its 21st year. He and his ensemble, Peace and Serenity, are in demand across the tri-state area. Kenny is especially sought out for his brilliance as a gospel and improvisational keyboard artist. He is director of music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Cincinnati, OH.

Tate, Brian (b. 1954)

Brian is an award-winning composer as well as an accomplished and versatile musician and facilitator. Brian attributes the success of his multifaceted career to a love of working with people and a passion for the arts. Learn more about Brian.

Udis-Kessler, Amanda (b. 1965)

Amanda is a writer, musician, sociologist and educator and currently lives in Colorado Springs, CO. Amanda’s essays on bisexuality, feminism, homophobia, and religion have appeared in more than ten books and a number of journals. Amanda is an award-winning hymn writer and composer. Other hymns of hers have been published in the hymnal supplement, Sing Justice, Do Justice.

Warmbrand, Ted (b. 1943)

Ted is a Jew, has been singing writing and collecting songs since he was a child growing up in a multicultural center of the world, the Bronx, NY. After a university teaching stint during the 1960's in the midwest, he took to the road and collected, wrote, and shared songs of social concern as a traveling minstrel. He sang for children, for rallies, for public meetings as well as campuses, commercial establishments and the like. After settling with his family in Tucson during the 70's he participated in local efforts there as an organizer most visibly contributing original and collected music. He was asked to host a community radio show in the 80's. "Music From The Living Loom” ran for seventeen years and introduced listeners to songs of conscience they'd not hear anywhere else on any dial. As his traveling times got fewer he founded a non profit cultural organization called ITZABOUTIME productions. With that Ted's been responsible for bringing major talents form all over the world to his adopted home.

As a singer Ted has toured Japan, sponsored by Gensuikin (the prestigious anti-nuke group), Nicaragua (sponsored by the Quaker group, Pro-Nica), and most of the U.S. At home he founded the Tucson Labor Chorus in the 90's. He recently put together with some young people working on the Muslim Jewish PeaceWalk, the Band of Cousins. They perform in Arabic Hebrew and English songs for peace and international understanding. Ted has written many songs which have been performed in many places. For more information about his works, contact him at its @

Witt, Elise (b. 1953)

Elise was born in Bern, Switzerland, moved to the United States at age three and has lived in Atlanta, GA, since 1977. She calls her music "Global, Local & Homemade Songs," and has composed music in English, Italian, German, French, and Spanish—the five languages she speaks fluently. Elise also sings in at least a dozen more languages and is a widely acknowledged teacher of community singing classes, vocal master classes, and multi-lingual programs for schools and universities. She sings often and happily for and with Unitarian Universalist congregations. For more information about Elise, visit her webpage.

Zárate Macias, Rosa Martha

Rosa Martha was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is a community and labor organizer, singer, and songwriter. She first migrated to the United States from Mexico in 1968. It is in the United States that she has successfully combined her rich musical talent with courageous leadership in championing the rights of the Mexican and Latino community in this country. She has given concerts, conferences, and workshops in community organizing and popular education in Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as in Europe, Africa, and the United States. In 1985 she was the cofounder of Libreria del Pueblo, Inc., and cofounder of Calpulli Project, both organizations that promote the empowerment of the Mexican/Latino low income and underserved immigrant population in Southern California. With such a strong commitment to building a new world order, her music is an echo of the hopes, struggles of the impoverished. She states, "I believe that Popular Organization is one of the essential elements needed by the Pueblo in order to exercise its own power of decision making and thus become agents of our own history and our own destiny." Rosa Martha actually lives in Colton, CA.

Zala, Elsie (b. 1925)

Elsie is a retired psychologist and an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, CA.

Zwozdesky, Willi (b. 1955)

Willi is a native of Alberta, Canada. He moved to Seattle, where he completed a Master of Music in choral conducting and a Master of Arts in music theory at the University of Washington in 1981. Following his move to Vancouver in that year, he established himself as a leader in the city’s cultural community, working in choral music, education, and musical theatre. At the core of Zwozdesky’s career are his choral and instrumental arrangements, many of which have appeared in concert programs and recordings across Canada, in the U.S., and abroad. In 1990 he established Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing, which focuses on his own and new Canadian work. He has been at the helm of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus since 1981, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the British Columbia Choral Federation. See more information about his works.

For more information contact web @

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Last updated on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

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