Cooper Atkeson, Lubbock, Texas
Music Theory, Harmony I, Harmony II, Advanced Sight Reading, Advanced Song Writing
Cooper has been involved in worship ministry since 2002 at age 14. He completed his Public Worship Leadership Certification through the Singing School in 2009 and graduated from Freed-Hardeman University with a B.A. in music and education in 2011. Cooper joined the faculty in 2012 with a focus to instruct in music theory and sight reading. Cooper is a teacher by trade, published composer by hobby, an advocate of professional worship leader development, and a servant always seeking to better himself and the assembling of God’s people. Currently, Cooper and his family are residing in Lubbock, Texas as he is studying for the ministry at the Sunset International Bible Institute.
Randy Daw, Greenville, Texas
Music Theory for Song Leaders (MT102), Advanced Song Writing
Randy Daw is originally from Midland, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been with the Creekside Church of Christ (formerly Johnson Street Church of Christ), where Randy is the preacher, for over twenty years. Randy is a former student of the Texas Normal Singing School and has been pleased to be on its faculty since 2017.
Randy is a band director, choir director, and orchestra conductor. He has taught for 25 years in various singing schools around the Brotherhood and is a prolific composer and arranger of sacred music. He holds degrees from Abilene Christian University (BA Bible), West Texas A&M University (BM Ed.), and Pepperdine University (MA Ministry). Currently Randy is the Associate Editor and Music Editor for the Timeless Psalter, a project to set all 150 Psalms to multiple settings with new lyrics and music. He has composed many songs for this project. It is being published by ACU Press and Austin Christian A Cappella Music. He is also the Music Director and orchestra conductor for Greenville Family Theater.
Mike Dozier, Madison, Alabama
Song Leader Dynamics (SL401)
Mike has been a leading singing in worship for 30 years and is a 3rd-generation song leader within the Lord’s church. He’s active in Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program as a coordinator the Nashville convention and enjoys coaching song leading and singing for congregations in the North Alabama area. Mike attended Freed-Hardeman University where he was a member of the SonShine Singers. He has a passion for singing and song leading and completed his Worship Leader Certification from the Singing School in 2014, joining the faculty in 2015.
Evan Darnell, Commerce, Texas
Technology and Videography
Evan was born into a singing family. He began leading singing as a teenager at his small home congregation, outside of Lubbock, Texas. He completed the Worship Leader Certification program in the late 2000s and has been an active worship leader in several congregations since then. Since 2013 he and his family have worshiped with the church in Commerce, Texas where Evan serves as a deacon and regularly leads worship.
Evan works on the campus of Texas A&M-Commerce and other university campuses as a technology administrator.
He married a singer and – little surprise – all four of his children love to sing, too!
Robin Entrekin, Madison, Alabama
Adult Begining Song Leaders (SL101), Video Coaching
Robin vaguely remembers leading his first song at the Diana, Tennessee Singing in the early 1970s and has been leading singing in his congregations ever since. He’s led singing for congregations ranging in size from 150 to his current church home of 1,200 (Madison church of Christ in Huntsville, Alabama). “I felt I was an accomplished song leader before I attended the Singing School for the first time in 2011. Boy, was I wrong.” Robin excitedly joined the faculty this in 2018, working with our Adult Beginners and our Video Coaching program.
Jim Fletcher, Friendswood, Texas
Women’s Special Music, Trends in Church Music; Board of Directors
Jim has been a Worship Leader and Special Music Director for over 40 years. He and Joe Ed Furr were instrumental in the development of Worship Leader Conferences in Houston, Texas. He has also conducted singing emphasis events and workshops in Texas and Oklahoma. Joining The Singing School staff in 2005, Jim has taught Beginning Men’s Song Leading, Advanced Men’s Song Leading, and Women’s Special Music.
Joe Ed Furr, Sherman, Texas
History of Church Music, Advanced Song Leading, Ministry of Public Worship Leadership; Board of Directors
Joe is a long time preaching minister in the churches of Christ, most recently having completed a nearly thirty-year work with the Western Heights Church of Christ in Sherman, Texas. He was the Curriculum Director for The Singing School in Sabinal, Texas from 1973 until the school moved to the campus of Abilene Christian University in 1988. He now serves as Director of The Singing School. Joe teaches the senior level training class for worship leaders, Advanced Song Leading, and the History of Church Music.
Thana Furr, Sherman, Texas
The Role of Women, Children and Church Music
Thana has been married to Joe Furr for 50 years. They have two sons, Darren and David. She has her BA in Sociology and has more than 40 years’ experience teaching all ages, specializing in ages pre-K through fourth grade. Her curriculum for those ages is used in churches around the Brotherhood.
Paul Hoffecker, PhD, Mesa, Arizona
The Science of Sound, Singers’ Workshop, Worship Renewal
Michael Kersh, Manvel, Texas
Michael has been associated with The Singing School since 1964, when he attended the old Sabinal campus as a student for the full three year curriculum offered at that time. Today he functions as volunteer Office Administrator in support of the teaching staff. The goal of his position is to help the school function more smoothly, enhancing the overall experience of both student and staff.
Tony Kite, Lubbock, Texas
Harmony I, Song Writing; Housing and Dining Services Coordinator; Board of Directors
Tony, a student of the Singing School from 1993-1997, began teaching Song Writing and Music Theory in 1998. He has taught Song Writing, Music Theory, Harmony, and assisted with Men’s Beginning Song Leading. He loves singing tenor and currently sings 1st Tenor with Generations, a male gospel quartet out of South Plains church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, where he also serves as a deacon in the Missions and Music Ministries.
Tim Lowry, DVM, Weatherford, Oklahoma
Song Leading 101 (Adults), Video Coaching, 5th Year (Graduate) Class; Board of Directors
Tim is a third-generation song leader. Since first attending the Singing School in 2001, Tim has brought many of his fellow church members – including his father, wife, and two daughters – to be part of the Singing School family. He brings a plainspoken Oklahoma charm to the classroom as well as a sincere heart for God’s people and their worship. He takes time to impress upon his students the fundamentals of leading singing and takes great pride in seeing their progress.
Tim is a 1987 graduate of Oklahoma State University where he studied veterinary medicine. He keeps a veterinary practice and pursues agricultural interests near his home in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Tim serves as an elder for the Weatherford church of Christ.
Marilyn Pineda, Comanche, Oklahoma
Music Theory 1; Remedial Music Theory, Song Writing
Marilyn grew up as the daughter of a preacher and has spent most of her adult life as the wife of a preacher. Marilyn and her husband, Mario, have worked for thirty-nine years with the Prairie Hill Church of Christ between Duncan and Comanche, Oklahoma. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Marilyn attended Oklahoma Christian College, Oklahoma University, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (BS EEd), and East Central University (MS School Counseling). Marilyn has taught at Comanche Elementary School for 30 years. She has been awarded scholarships and grants for professional development in Japan, China, Korea, and Alaska. She worked at various church youth camps for twenty years. On mission trips to Nicaragua, she taught VBS each summer for nine years. She has also spoken at Ladies’ Days, Bible Teachers’ Workshops, and National Geography Conferences in Puerto Rico and Savannah, Georgia.
Marilyn sang in the chorus at Oklahoma Christian and was in the band, majoring in instrumental music. She played in the Pride of Oklahoma band and was in the jazz band at USAO. She has sung in gospel quartets for many years and participated in the recording of Faithful God, the 2017 addition to Keith Lancaster’s Praise and Harmony series.
In 1994, Marilyn traveled to Abilene because she wanted to become a more proficient songwriter; she has never left. After she had attended four years, she was asked to assist in the songwriting class, and later to teach in Music Theory I.
Sharlan Proper, Lubbock, Texas
Teaching Children through Music
Luis Salazar, Monterrey, Mexico
Escuela de Canto
Aaron Shotts, Fate, Texas
Intermediate Song Leading, Advanced Sight Reading, Video Coaching, Finale
Aaron is a native of Michigan, though he now calls Texas home. He graduated from Western Michigan University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s in Aviation Flight Science. Aaron first came to the Singing School as a student in 2008 and immediately started making friends when he met a couple from his sister’s home church in Mesa, Arizona! After earning his certification in 2011, he pursued a full-time worship minister position in 2012. The Singing School brought Aaron on as an instructor in 2013. After serving as worship minister for 2 1/2 years at a large church in the DFW area, he went back to his first love of flying the friendly skies. Aaron still enjoys volunteering his musical talents in other areas. He has recorded several albums with Keith Lancaster and The Acappella Company’s “Praise & Harmony” series. He also helps them in the design process of their worship slides for those projects.
Jerry Sisemore, Tulare, California
Song Leading 101 (Teens), History of Public Worship
Jerry is a graduate of Pepperdine University and Sunset School of Preaching. He inherited his father’s love of singing the gospel in song and his talent for leading others in worship. Since 1968, Jerry has served churches in California, Texas, Hawaii, and Michigan. He was a full-time missionary to Barnaul, Russia for 15 years and served as the Director for the Barnaul School of Preaching (a branch of the Sunset International Bible Institute). He graduated from The Singing School in 2008.
Sight Reading I (SR101), Adults Beginner Song Leading (SL101A), Trends in Church Music (MA201); Song Leader Dynamics (SL401); Webmaster; Board of Directors
Levi first came to The Singing School as a student in 2001 from Barnaul, Russia where his family served as missionaries. He has been on staff since 2006. He has led singing and conducted Congregational Music Workshops for congregations in several states as well as teaching for several years at Music Camp for Northwest Christian Camps. In 2006 he graduated from the Sunset International Bible Institute with a degree in Bible and Ministry, to which he later added an advanced degree in Missiology. In 2017 he completed his Master’s degree in Biblical and Ministry Studies. In 2018 he was accepted to begin studying at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in the Doctor of Worship Studies program. Levi is a collector of hymnals, especially of those from the Restoration Movement.
Levi, his wife Sara (whom he met at Singing School in 2001), and their two young boys make their home in West Texas where he has preached full-time for the City Park church of Christ in Floydada (2007-2014) and for the 37th Street church of Christ in Snyder (2014-2017). When he finds time, Levi writes about church music and hymnals at hymnalcollector.com.
Women’s Song Leading
Sara is a life-long learner and lover of music, who began studying shaped notes and music theory when she was five. She comes from a family who loves to sing, but gained her special love of singing and music from her aunt (herself a student at The Singing School). Sara’s music experience includes seven years of piano lessons, singing with a quartet in high school and the University Singers at Harding University, teaching song leading to girls for Leadership Training for Christ, and leading singing for Ladies’ Chapel at the Sunset International Bible Institute of Lubbock, Texas. In 2011, Sara was a featured speaker at the Sunset Workshop on the topic of church music.
Ken Spoor, Snyder, Texas
James Tackett, Austin, Texas
Music Theory; Harmony II, Singer’s Workshop, Finalé (seminar), Copyright Laws (seminar); Board of Directors
James first attended the Texas Normal Singing School in 1963 and studied under Holland Boring Sr., Austin Taylor, and others. In 1968 he started teaching first year theory. After a three-year absence from The Singing School, he has been on staff ever since. Besides teaching at the ACU Singing School, he has taught theory at the Acappella Christian Music Seminar and ACAFest in Paris, Tennessee; Murray, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee. For a few years, he joined former TNSS instructor John Blackstone at the singing school at Thorp Springs, Texas. James has directed The Sweet Expressions, a mixed choral group of Austin-area singers for some thirty years. After a career of 34 years with NCR (National Cash Register) where he was a large systems technician, he has devoted his retirement years to The Paperless Hymnal™, which supplies hundreds of churches with song slides that display both music and lyrics. He married his best friend, Wally, in 1969, and they have one son, Michael, who was sound tech for Acappella for several years. James and Wally live in Austin, Texas where James is the song leader for the Hyde Park Church of Christ.
David Williams, Marlton, New Jersey
Worship Development, Singers’ Workshop; Chapel Coordinator; Board of Directors
I have a music degree from a 4-year college and thought I knew everything I needed to know about singing and writing music. Guess what!!! Didn’t know as much as I thought I did. Learned tons of new stuff. They attract some of the best teachers in their field!! Well worth your time!!Aneva P.
“I highly recommend the Singing School, as there is an urgent need for song leader training.”Keith Lancaster (4/4/16), Cullman, Alabama
“I always thought I was a fairly decent song leader before attending the school. But having gone thru the program, I learned from excellent instructors and have confidence to lead in ways that I would have never tried before. I was challenged to be better, not for me, but for Him.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“The fellowship and love we had together in song and spirituality is something I will cherish for the rest of my life … I would encourage anyone who has a passion for leading the church in worship to take the time even for one year to experience what the Singing School has to offer.”Alan D., London, England
“I had a WONDERFUL time with all of you this week! I will work hard this year!”Megan A., Missouri
“We had a good time singing with you all tonight. Thanks for letting us stop by.”Jason F., Abilene, Texas
“What a great, intense week the Singing School was! I want to shout my thanks to all of you who work so hard to make this happen. I can only imagine the time and effort that goes into it.”Kerri R., Grants Pass, Oregon
“I thank all of the teachers, coaches, and staff here at ACU Singing School for helping me get where I am today. I had a long way to go and I’m just barely getting started… thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”Robert H., Temple, Texas
“So stoked to be in our church’s regular song leading rotation. Lead today again and loved it! I love leading people in worship for God! Thank you all for all I learned with you guys!”Jeff R., Abilene, Texas
“So today I was able to song lead in Ladies’ Chapel! I am proud to say that I did the time signature and was on pitch! … I got a lot of compliments and it made me really happy! So glad that I was able to go to this school and learn what I did!”Alejandra G., Lubbock, Texas
“Some of the most talented, sincere, and spiritual people I’ve ever met was because of the Singing School.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“I never would have thought or dreamed of being able to even be in front of 2 or 3 people a few years ago. … never would have been possible without the love, support, and teaching of this singing school.”Robert H., Temple, Texas