2021 Plenary Speakers

Dr Tammy L Kernodle

Professor of Musicology, Miami University

Tammy L. Kernodle is an internationally-recognized scholar and musician that teaches and researches in the areas of African American music and gender and music. She has worked closely with a number of educational programs including The American Jazz Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture, NPR, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the BBC. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies ,and online platforms including NPR's Turning the Table Series and a recent digital exhibit of jazz materials at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Kernodle is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, served as Associate Editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music and the Editorial team for the revision of the Grove Dictionary of American Music. She has appeared in a number of award-winning documentaries including Girls in the Band, The Lady Who Swings the Band and Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool. A trained pianist and choral director, Kernodle has worked with choirs across the country and served as Minister of Music for over 20 years in the Cincinnati, OH area. Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle currently serves as the President of the Society for American Music and is Professor of Musicology at Miami University. 

Professor Pete Ward

Professor of Practical Theology, Durham University and Professor of Practical Theology, NLA University College, Bergen

Pete Ward teaches and Durham University and at NLA University College Bergen. He is the Co-Director of the Ecclesiology and Ethnography Network. His work on Contemporary Christian Worship in the UK was published as ’Selling Worship’ (2003). His current research is focussed on the Religious and Spiritual dimensions of Bluegrass and Old Time Music. This builds on his 2020 book ‘Celebrity Worship.’ He lives in Hexham and is involved in the local music scene.;

Dr Melvin L Butler

Associate Professor of Musicology, University of Miami

Melvin L. Butler is an associate professor in the Department of Musicology and the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. His work centers on music, religion, and cultural identity in the African diaspora. He is the author of Island Gospel: Pentecostal Music and Identity in Jamaica and the United States (University of Illinois Press, 2019). His second book, Heated Worship: Music and the Cultural Politics of Transcendence in Haiti, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

John L Bell

Iona Community

John Bell is a Resource Worker with The Iona Community, who lectures, preaches and conducts seminars across the denominations. He is a hymn writer, author and occasional broadcaster, but retains a primary passion for congregational song.  John is based in Glasgow and works with his colleagues in the areas of music, worship and spirituality.

Dr Mary Louise Bringle

Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Brevard College

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and coordinator of interdisciplinary studies at Brevard College in Brevard, NC; she is also a ruling elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC. Her Ph.D. in practical and pastoral theology is from Emory University. An award-winning hymn writer whose original texts and translations appear in the hymnals of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland, she has served as President of The Hymn Society in the US and Canada and as chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the hymnal Glory to God. In the summer of 2020, she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society.

Professor Kay Norton

Professor of Musicology, Arizona State University

Kay Norton, Professor of Musicology at ASU’s School of Music, writes about U. S. sacred vocal music and is currently at work on a monograph about Sallie Martin. She has published articles in Journal of the Society for American Music, American Music, and the Hymn, among other journals, and has written monographs on an 1810 Georgia hymnal and composer Normand Lockwood. Her 2016 book, Singing and Wellbeing: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Proof (Routledge) draws together musicology, anthropology, philosophy, medical history, psychology of music, and neuroscience to argue the centrality of the melodious voice in human experience. Kay is an editorial board member of the Journal for the Society of American Music, Journal of the Center for Popular Music, and the Sounding Spirit publication and digitization of Southern sacred music initiative at Emory University. Her co-edited volume with Esther Morgan-Ellis, Oxford Handbook of Community Singing, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Dr Nathan Kruse

Associate Professor of Music Education, Case Western Reserve University

Nathan B. Kruse is Associate Professor of Music Education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He teaches courses in research methods, the sociology of music education, vernacular music, and classroom guitar. He also conducts the Adult Orchestra at The Music Settlement, one of Cleveland’s oldest community music schools. Kruse’s research interests include adult music education and lifespan learning, ethnographic traditions of community music, and vernacular music approaches.

Dr Tala Jarjour

Dr Maria Guarino

Dr. Guarino is an ethnomusicologist working at the intersection of contemplative studies, ethnography, and religious life. She specializes in contemplative inquiry and pedagogy with a focus on the relationship between religious and musical ways of knowing, particularly the transformative experiences of mysticism, contemplation, and expressive culture. Her book, Listen with the Ear of the Heart: Music and Monastery Life at Weston Priory, explores these topics in the context of a Benedictine monastery while engaging broader epistemological and ontological questions that get to the heart of how we know what we know and how we become/enact who we are when we participate in liturgical music.   

Professor Tom Beaudoin

Professor, Fordham University, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education

Tom Beaudoin teaches theological and religious studies at Fordham University in New York City. He specializes in practical theology, popular music, and religious/nonreligious affiliation/disaffiliation.

Paul Vasile

Music that Makes Community

Paul Vasile (he/him/his) is the Executive Director of Music that Makes Community and a freelance church musician, consultant, and composer based in St. Louis, Missouri. He also serves as the Director of Music at Eden Theological Seminary. A multitalented musician and dynamic worship leader, he is committed to building, renewing, and re-shaping faith communities through singing and liturgy.