Dr. Christopher Ellis – Choir and Voice

Dr. Ellis is the chair of the Music Department at Faith and the director of the Faith Chorale. Since 2003, he has served as music director at Ankeny Baptist Church, and was formerly the artistic director of the Canticum Novum Music Association.

Dr. Ellis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Music from Faith Baptist Bible College, a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from St. Cloud State University, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Ball State University. He has studied conducting with R. Irving Van Hooser, Lee Nelson, and Andrew Crow, and has had experience teaching music at Faith, Des Moines Area Community College, and Ball State University. He has conducted a variety of choral groups, and has made conducting appearances at Ball State University, Ohio State University, Morehouse College in Atlanta, and has led ensembles on tours in the United States and Germany.

Mrs. Sherri Nicholson – Piano

Sherri Nicholson completed her Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in piano performance from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. She earned a Masters of Arts from Bob Jones University in Piano Pedagogy. Her experience includes teaching at Musical Impressions, Northwestern Music Academy, and operating her own studio, Discovery Piano Studio, as a Nationally Certified Teacher.

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 and four daughters.

Mr. Jim Goodwin – Clarinet/Saxophone

Mr. James Goodwin recently retired from Des Moines Public Schools after 38 years of teaching band in Michigan, Germany, and Iowa. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters Degree in Music Education from Drake University.

Mr. Goodwin has composed numerous instrumental compositions for bands and various small ensembles. Mr. Goodwin served in Army bands in Maryland, Germany, Michigan, and Iowa. He was the Bandmaster of the 34th Army Band, Iowa National Guard, until 2010 when he retired with 29 years of service. He is a recipient of the Army Meritorious Service Award and the Legion of Merit Award. Presently Mr. Goodwin conducts the Iowa Military Veterans Band, an ensemble made up of 80 veteran musicians. He has been married to his wife, Janice, for 46 years. Their three children are all accomplished musicians.

Miss Kristy Stodola – Violin/Viola

Kristy Stodola 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 also has 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.

Mrs. Leah Barnett – Voice/Cello

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.

Mrs. Erika Leake McKnight – Flute

Erika Leake McKnight holds of a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Florida State University and a Master of Music in Flute Performance with a minor in Baroque Performance from Indiana University.  In addition, she studied with Trevor Wye in Kent, England as one of six students selected internationally, as well as with Brad Garner at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Mrs. Leake McKnight has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors including first place at the Myrna W. Brown Artist Competition and the Florida Flute Association Young Artist competitions.  As a winner of the Myrna W. Brown, a national competition for flute, she was featured as a guest artist of the Texas Flute Festival and as a soloist with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra.

Mrs. Leake McKnight has taught at University of Florida and Drake University and as a guest clinician at Texas Tech University, University of North Texas, University of Iowa, University of Mississippi, Louisiana State University, and Florida State University.  She was the director of the Dowling Catholic High School flute ensemble and is currently on the faculty of Faith Baptist College as Adjunct Instructor of Flute.

Currently Mrs. Leake McKnight is a private teacher of students of all ages and abilities out of her home studio in Des Moines (near Drake), Iowa.  She has taught private lessons for 29 years in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa.

Health Guidelines

We ask that you evaluate your own health before coming to campus. In order to attend Music Camp, please ensure the following:

  • You do not have any Covid-related symptoms (cough, headache, new loss of taste/smell).
  • You do not have a fever in excess of 100.4-degrees.
  • You have not been diagnosed with or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid in the previous 14 days.

Register for Music Camp

Questions? Contact Dr. Christopher Ellis.