Musicians

Music and the other arts are the most potent demonstration that, in the heart, we are all one community.

~ Jan Swafford

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Michael Ray
guitar, keyboards, conductor

Michael Ray - guitar, keyboards, conductor

Michael currently serves as choral music director at both the upper- and middle-divisions of Augusta Preparatory Day School, where he has been musical director for the following productions: Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, Batboy, Chorus Line, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Grease. In addition, he has coached many state winners in vocal solo, trio, and quartet competitions, as well as in piano.

Aside from his work at Augusta Prep, Michael is also director of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, a nonprofit, after-school arts program for economically challenged youth in Augusta.

As a performer in his own right, Michael plays keys and guitar and provides back-up vocals for two area bands, “My Instant Lunch” and “Eleventhe Hour.” “My Instant Lunch,” has received numerous accolades, including: Augusta Magazine’s Best Rock Band of 2010. They also won the Band-Aide Competition in 2010, and were named Best New Band of 2009 by Lokal Loudness. “My Instant Lunch” had the unique honor of performing a joint program with the Augusta Ballet, and most recently, performed for an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field.

As an accompanist and solo pianist, Michael accompanied Nicole Sponberg, former lead singer for SELAH, opened for “The Charlie Daniels Band,” and regularly plays for the Augusta Comedy Troupe, “Schoedinger’s Cat.”

Michael holds a bachelor of music degree from Ohio University and is currently enrolled in a master’s program at Augusta State University in choral conducting.

Justin Resley
cello

bio-justinresley

Justin Resley comes from a musical family in West Texas and New Mexico where most all of his family play an instrument (fiddle, guitar, etc.) He left El Paso to go to center city Philadelphia and study with the late Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet, from there he moved to Cleveland to study with the prinicpal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Stephen Geber at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he graduated with a BM and MM.

Justin played with Cleveland Opera and Ballet while going back to school for Cardiovascular Perfusion at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He worked at INOVA Fairfax Hospital for 14 years before moving to Augusta to become the chief Perfusionist at the Medical College of Georgia. He has played with Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Augusta Opera, as well as The South Carolina Philharmonic. Currently he is a staff perfusionist at University Hospital and is on the search committee for the new conductor of the Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

Paul Roberts
keyboards, conductor, composer

Paul Roberts - keyboards, conductor, composer

Paul’s primary area of musical endeavor is church music.  After singing in professional choirs at Emmanuel Church in Boston and St. Thomas Chapel in New York, he held the positions of Organist and Choirmaster at the First Alliance Church in New York and the First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, where currently he is Music Director and Organist. 

His experience includes virtually all aspects of church music: choral and orchestral conducting, organ and piano performance, and composing and arranging a sizeable body of works for choir, organ, and various instrumental ensembles. Paul is also active in concert music.  In addition to organizing and directing chamber choir/orchestra performances in Boston, New York, and Augusta, he has participated as director and performer in various instrumental and choral ensembles, including directing a Christmas performance of the Augusta Symphony.

Another interest of Paul’s is theater music.  He has directed, performed, and arranged music for community and school theatrical productions in Boston and Augusta. Finally, Paul has a vital interest in folk music.  He maintains an affectionate interest in American jazz and bluegrass music, Middle-Eastern dance music, and traditional Celtic music of the U.K., writing arrangements and performing on several traditional folk instruments.

Paul has published works in several genres.  His Three Carols for Trumpets and Organ is published by GIA Publications.  His work for choir and solo flute, The Word Became Flesh, is published by Augsburg Fortress Publications.  His Greek and Jew for unaccompanied flute is published by Flute World, Inc.   Many other of his works are published privately through Paul’s website, Fresh Music All-Star Bands.

Paul was born in Richmond, Virginia and began private piano instruction at the age of 7.  He continued musical studies in theory and ear training during high school years at the Cleveland Institute of Music, private study in organ and cello in Boston, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition and conducting at Boston University and the Manhattan School of Music, respectively, and additional conducting study at the Juilliard School.  He won composition and arranging contests at both Boston and Harvard Universities during the same year.  Paul studied composition with Nicholas Flagello and Vittorio Giannini.  His conducting teachers included Hugh Ross and Jean Morel.

Erin Russ
Guitar, Vocals

Erin Russ - guitar, vocals

Erin Russ is an Augusta native who has been singing and playing music since elementary school. She started her music career with piano lessons when she was young and picked up the guitar at the age of 11. She has studied under the tutelage of Carl Purdy at Augusta State University. She loves performing and listening to a wide range of genres from bluegrass to musical show tunes. She is a member of the Sand Hills String Band, and has recorded and performed internationally through Augusta State University, including two successful trips to Ireland.

She currently studies at the University of Georgia completing her degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Disability Studies.

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