Professor Beavers, a resident of Lexington, Kentucky, is Adjunct Professor of violoncello at Asbury University and Transylvania University. He serves as the Assistant Principal cellist of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. Chamber music ensembles in which he performs include the Ashland Trio, the Beavers-Cooper Duo, and the Beavers-Kiekenapp Duo. In 1997, with the encouragement and assistance of several friends, he founded the one-week summer music camp Festival of Strings.
Professor Beavers has recorded Marcel Dupré’s Sonata in A minor, Op. 60 for cello and organ, the Trio, Op. 55 for violin, cello and organ, and the Quartet, Op. 52 for violin, viola, cello and organ on the Naxos label.
Clyde Beavers performs on a cello made by the American maker, Timothy J. Jansma. He frequently collaborates with pianist David Cooper in the Bluegrass area. In addition to his work in music, he enjoys growing, showing and hybridizing roses.
DMA, University of Kentucky
MM, BM, Julliard
Al Beers is Asbury University’s Instructor of Guitar and Director of the Guitar Ensemble. In addition to his studio at Asbury University, Mr. Beers teaches guitar at Asbury Theological Seminary and is director of the Childbloom Guitar Program of Lexington, Kentucky, which is licensed by the national program based in Austin, Texas. Mr. Beers has won several national awards from Childbloom, including Teacher of the Year.
M.Div, Asbury Theological Seminary
BM, Guitar Performance, University of South Alabama
Benjamin Black serves as an Admissions Counselor at Asbury University. Currently, he is assigned to the North Eastern United States and Northern Kentucky. He also has the privilege of serving as the Director of the Gospel Choir here on campus. Benjamin received is Bachelor of Arts degree from Asbury University in Media Communication with an emphasis in Entertainment Management. He is currently finishing his education at Asbury Theological Seminary with a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis in Church Planting.
Benjamin loves to worship, step into discipleship, and wants to help people step into the purpose of who God made them to be. Whether it is Admissions, leading worship, teaching worship, or doing life with people, Benjamin seeks to walk with God in the life he’s called him to live. He loves his wife, family, friends and dog Ginger.
B.A. in Media Communication, Asbury University (2020)
In progress: Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary 2020-2023
Isaac Brooks is a lifelong musician from Barbourville, Kentucky. Isaac holds a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from Eastern Kentucky University. While at Eastern Kentucky University he studied voice with Dr. Joyce Hall Wolf and conducting with Dr. Richard Waters and Dr. Ho-Yin Kwok. Isaac serves as the Children’s Choir director at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Kentucky. Isaac also conducts two community choruses, Licking Valley Singers in Cynthiana, Kentucky, and Madison Singers in Richmond, Kentucky. When Isaac is not performing classical music he is playing bluegrass music around regional venues.
Masters of Music, Choral Conducting
Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy
Mr. Cranfill teaches percussion lessons and percussion methods courses at Asbury. In addition, Clark currently works as the high school and junior high band director at Lexington Christian Academy, Volunteer Recruiter at The New Life Day Center, and Director of Artruism Inc. (a new nonprofit altruistic arts organization). He is also active as a composer.
BME, Music Education, University of Kentucky
MA, Digital Storytelling, Asbury University
Dr. Johnie Dean lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he is actively involved in educational and church music. He teaches applied lessons in composition and serves as the coordinator of Graduate Studies in the School of Communication Arts. In addition, he is the Assistant Conductor of The Lexington Singers and works with area local churches and their music leadership.
Dr. Dean received his Bachelor of Music degree in church music from Campbellsville College in Campbellsville, Kentucky, and his Master of Church Music degree in composition from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition was granted by the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Winner of numerous awards in both writing and performance, Dr. Dean is well-represented in sacred catalogs with having over 200 works published for piano, adult and children’s choirs, handbells, orchestra, and instrumental ensembles. He also serves as a frequent choral adjudicator, vocal coach, vocal soloist, accompanist, and guest conductor.
A Kentucky native, he has been composing and arranging music for over 40 years and has more than 200 published works. His recent published work, The Pirates of Penzance Medley, National Music Publishers, was performed by the Florida All-State High School TTBB Chorus in 2012 and by the Texas All-State Men’s High School TTBB Choir in 2013. Other recent published works include three piano collections published by FJH Music Publishing Company in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, a solo piano CD of his arrangements titled I Need Thee Every Hour, and numbers included on The American Spiritual Ensemble’s Christmas CD. Dr. Dean arranges and orchestrates commissioned numbers throughout the year.
DMA, University of Kentucky
MM, Southern Seminary
BM, Campbellsville College
Merrilee Elliott, a native Kentuckian, enjoys a varied career as a flutist. In addition to playing in the Lexington Philharmonic, she performs regularly throughout Kentucky and the South with The Ashland Trio (Flute, Viola, Cello), The Jefferson Duo (Flute, Harp), The Elliott/Fogler Duo (Flute, Guitar) and The Lexington Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet. Merrilee is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician and has played concerts in Greece, Italy, Austria, and Germany.
BM, Flute Performance, University of Kentucky
DMA, Trombone Performance, University of South Carolina
MA, Music Performance, Middle Tennessee State University
BM, Music Performance, University of Kentucky
JuRang Kim serves as the instructor of Violin and Viola. Ms. Kim is originally from South Korea, but has performed around the world as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Germany, France, Mongolia, and South Korea. During her udergraduate she achieved the teaching Artist Certificate at Longy Conservatory of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, and a Master of Music from Syracuse University in NY. Ms. Kim currently is working toward a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in violin performance at University of Kentucky.
As a prominent leader in educating future musicians, Kim held the Teaching Assistantship at University of Kentucky, as well as the Master teacher position at Seminary School of the Arts of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. Kim also was appointed as a faculty member at ArtsAhimsa music festival in Lenox, MA in 2019.
MM Syracuse University, NY
UD Longy School of Music of Bard College, MA
Mezzo-Soprano Sherri Phelps, is an active soloist throughout the Southeast. Her credits include: two roles from Puccini’s Il trittico– La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and the title character in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Madame Pernelle in Kirke Mecham’s Tartuffe, and Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. She performed with the Aspen Opera Center singing the role of Myrtle in Still Life. She has performed the mezzo-soprano solos in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the Lexington Philharmonic, and the role of Emilia in Otello with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. She often concertizes in Northern California singing the world premiere of Craig Bohmler’s song Keys as well as the rest of his song cycle Songs of Loss with the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose under the baton of Emily Ray.
Ms. Phelps’s other appearances include several performances with Fremont, California’s Music at the Mission Concert Series which have included Chaplin in Concert, Stravinsky’s L’histoire du Soldat with Roscoe Lee Brown, and Existentialist Poetry, Zen Buddhism & the American Song. Ms. Phelps has sung under the renown Jonathan Wilcox, and Sir Neville Marinner and has recorded a role in Aaron Copeland’s Tenderland with Kirk Trevor. Currently, she is specializing in the songs of composer John Jacob Niles and performing the multimedia recital of his music Written in the Stars with pianist Dr. Rachel Taylor. She is also an active teacher and currently teaches voice at Eastern Kentucky University and Asbury University, where she also directs the Opera Workshop.
A native of Morgantown, KY she currently resides in Lexington, KY where she has completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky as a student of Gail Robinson after having received her Masters in Voice from the Juilliard School, and her Bachelor of Music degree from Western Kentucky University.
DMA, University of Kentucky
Principal Teachers: Professor Gail Robinson
MM, The Juilliard School
Principal Teacher: Professor Beverly Johnson
BM, Western Kentucky University
Principal Teacher: Professor Elizabeth Volkman
Professor Cheryl Schell, Instructor of Handbells, graduated from Asbury University with a degree in Music Education. She is the wife of Music Department Chair, Dr. Mark Schell, and the mother of Hannah and Adam. Mrs. Schell also stays busy as the Minister of Children at the Wilmore Free Methodist Church. She has rung handbells since college and continues to do so both at the college and church, enjoying reading and cross-stitching in her spare time.
MM, University of Kentucky
BS, Music Education, Asbury University
Chris Weiss is a guitarist/singer-songwriter from Lexington, KY who is constantly exploring the sounds of steel-string guitar and the voice both in word and scat. Chris first picked up a guitar and began to teach himself at age 10. Inspired by songwriting legends like Paul Simon, John Denver, and Billy Joel, and later by iconic fingerstyle guitarists like Pierre Bensusan, Phil Keaggy, and Tommy Emmanuel, Chris began to carve his mark in the world of acoustic music. Since then, he has won the recognition of many and shared the stage with greats like Michael Chapdelaine and Ben Lacy. His music has been featured on the airwaves from Kentucky to Michigan and across the country on Red Barn Radio.
BA, Music, Asbury University
Having more than 50 years of experience teaching music at both Indiana Wesleyan University and, since 1988, at Asbury University, Asbury Professor of Piano Dr. Donald A. Zent has expertise in all levels and categories of piano instruction. A Nationally Certified Teacher of Music recognized by Music Teachers National Association, he earned three degrees in Piano Performance: Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, both from Indiana University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His previous piano teachers include Rebecca Penneys, Eduardo Berlendis, Santos Ojeda, Jorge Bolet, Nicholas Zumbro, Tong Il Han, Carolyn Kindley, Gizi Szanto, and Delight Murphy. Two of his former piano teachers can trace their piano teachers back to Franz Liszt and Ludwig van Beethoven. He has extensive performing experience not only as a piano soloist in both Kentucky and Indiana, but also with many vocalists, instrumentalists, and choirs. As a member of Kentucky Music Teachers Association, he has served in several official capacities and has been adjudicator for National Guild of Piano Teachers, Kentucky Music Teachers Association, and Kentucky Baptist Convention. He has performed in Europe and has taught piano to graduate students at Seminário Teológico Batista do Norte do Brasil. Some of his former piano students earned master’s degrees and doctoral degrees in piano. Both Dr. Zent and his wife, a former elementary and college educator, have one son, two daughters, and ten grandchildren, and are actively involved in the Wilmore Free Methodist Church.
1971: Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Indiana University
1973: Master of Music in Piano Performance at Indiana University
1988: Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati; thesis topic: “The Harmonic Language of Karol Szymanowski’s Metopes, Op. 29, and Masques, Op. 34”