Clinicians and Workshop Presenters

Dr. Christopher Ellis

Dr. Christopher Ellis

Dr. Christopher Ellis is the director of choral activities and music department chair at Faith Baptist Bible College, where he conducts the Faith Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Orchestra. Dr. Ellis has also been the music director at Ankeny Baptist Church since 2003. Prior to becoming the director of choral activities at Faith, Dr. Ellis was the artistic director of the Canticum Novum Music Association chorale and orchestra.

Dr. Ellis earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music from Faith Baptist Bible College, a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from St. Cloud State University, and a Doctor of Arts in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Ball State University. He has studied conducting with Dr. R. Irving Van Hooser, Dr. Lee Nelson, and Dr. Andrew Crow.

Dr. Ellis is a frequent choral clinician, especially for Christian school and church choirs. He has led choir tours across the United States and Europe. He has made conducting appearances at Ball State University, Ohio State University, and Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Elaine Hagenberg

Elaine Hagenberg

Elaine Hagenberg’s music “soars with eloquence and ingenuity” (ACDA Choral Journal). Her award-winning compositions are performed worldwide and frequently featured at American Choral Directors Association conferences, All-State festivals, Carnegie Hall, and other distinguished international concert halls from Australia to South America and throughout Europe.

In addition to composing full-time, Elaine actively engages in bringing her music to life as the guest artist and featured clinician for professional conferences and festivals both in the U.S. and abroad as a composer, conductor, and accompanist of her work.

With over fifty commissioned works, she has composed new music for the American Choral Directors Association, professional choirs, colleges and universities, community choirs, high schools, and churches. “I Am the Wind” was named the winner of the 2020 ACDA Brock Competition for Professional Composers.

Elaine has music in print with various publishers including Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer, Hinshaw Music, and Beckenhorst Press. Currently, she publishes her concert music independently through Elaine Hagenberg Music which is distributed through GIA.

Leah Barnett

Leah Barnett

Iowa native Leah Barnett has received accolades as both a cellist and a singer, and has won numerous state, regional, and national competitions. She has appeared onstage in China and Italy in concert and in operatic roles; she has also appeared onstage with renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes in his Roots & Wings concerts in Iowa. Operatic roles include Governess (Turn of the Screw), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), among others. Barnett received a bachelor’s degree in voice and cello from Drake University (Des Moines), and a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sherri Nicholson

Sherri Nicholson

Sherri Nicholson completed her Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in piano performance from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. She earned a Master of Arts from Bob Jones University in Piano Pedagogy. She is a current student at Iowa State University pursuing her Doctorate. Her experience includes teaching at Musical Impressions, Northwestern Music Academy, and operating her own studio Discovery Piano Studio as a Nationally Certified Teacher. She serves as the faculty advisor for Faith Music Department Collegiate Chapter of the Music Teachers National Association.

Throughout her career, she has actively served as a musician in churches, conferences, and presented in her local Des Moines Piano Teacher chapter. She is an active adjudicator for Des Moines, The National Federation of Music Teachers, MAACS Fine Arts, St. Paul Piano Teachers, and MTNA. Her volunteer roles include Vice President of the St. Paul Piano Teachers and the editor for the Iowa Music Teachers Magazine.

She has studied piano with many distinguished pianists such as Dr. Kenon Renfrow, Dr. Paul Wirth, Dr. Alan Huckleberry, and Dr. Rene Lecuona.

Her hobbies include hiking, jogging, traveling, and spending time with her husband, four daughters, and two golden retrievers.

Kristy Lathrop

Kristy Lathrop

Kristy Lathrop received her Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music with an emphasis in violin from Bob Jones University. She is not only proficient in violin but also in viola and piano. She held the position of principal violist for three years with the Bob Jones Symphony Orchestra and had the privilege to perform in Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall. Kristy has also performed alongside guest artists David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Richard Kauffman, distinguished pops conductor; and James Thatcher, esteemed American hornist.

Kristy has taught private violin and viola lessons to students of all ages for eight years and has served as church music director and as a traveling music team coordinator for three years. She has studied with many distinguished musicians such as David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dr. Brandon Ironside, Dr. Michael Moore, Mrs. Joan Pinkston, Dr. Seth Custer, and renowned composer Dan Forrest.

Currently, Kristy teaches private lessons in the evenings. She plans to complete a graduate degree in Viola Performance in the coming years. Her goals are to train professional young musicians to excel in their field and to glorify Christ with their lives.


You will have a 30-minute time slot as part of a combined concert to perform your music. Your selection titles and composers need to be submitted to the Faith music department by September 15, 2024 to be included in the printed programs.

In addition, your students will sing in a combined choir in the festival concert. This year we are featuring the music of guest clinician Elaine Hagenberg, who will conduct two of the four selections below. You will need to purchase copies of these pieces for your choir and have them well-prepared prior to the festival.

You may purchase these pieces from any retailer you choose. The provided links are simply to give you the information for the needed pieces.


You will need to bring your formal concert attire for your concert performance and the Festival concert. Business casual attire will be the dress code for the other activities during the day.


You will be paired up with another participating school to jointly present an hour-long concert (30 minutes each). Other participating choirs will be in attendance, but there should be room for guests. The Festival Concert is Faith’s regular mid-fall semester concert, and guests are certainly welcome. This concert will also be live-streamed.


Faith does not have guest housing available. To help with travel expenses, we have arrangements with local hotels for special rates. Just mention that you are a guest of Faith Baptist Bible College when you make your reservation.

Sleep Inn and Suites, Ankeny, $89 Standard Room (two queens or one king); $95 King Suite Book Here or call (515)964-5909

Comfort Inn, Ankeny, $90 for a King/Double Queen Room. Book Here or call (515)965-8400

Homewood Suites, Ankeny, $124 for a Studio Suite Book Here or call (515)963-0006

Residence Inn, Ankeny, $139 for King Studio Suite. Book Here or call (515)446-7300

For a list of other available hotels in the area, Click Here please note that these do not have discount rates with Faith


Meals are not included in the registration fee, however, you can purchase meal ticket packets for Wednesday dinner, Thursday lunch and dinner, and Friday lunch and dinner (5 meals) for use in our dining hall. The discounted meal ticket packages cost $40 per person, and are available until September 15, 2024. You may purchase meal tickets at registration, or through a separate registration form that will be made available to you after securing your choir’s spot in the Festival. Meals can be purchased at the door for the full price (currently $10.75 per person per meal).


Wednesday, October 2

Thursday, October 3

Friday, October 4

For Questions? Contact or 515.422.5688

To Register for the Faith Choral Festival