Dana Effler has served as Director of Music and Arts Ministries at First United Methodist Church of Dallas since 1994. She conducts the Chancel Choir, First Men’s Chorus, First Women’s Chorus, Vox Nova and the Variations Youth Choir. Under her direction the Chancel Choir has toured Canada, England, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and France, and has sung for both Southwestern division and National ACDA conventions. Beyond the church, Dana enjoys her work as a singer, guest conductor and clinician for organizations including American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, The American Guild of Organists and The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Furman University and master’s degrees in choral conducting and in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University. Dana is inspired and energized by the wealth and diversity of talent represented in the First Church family and is continually amazed at the beauty of God’s creation in and through it.
Joe Stobaugh is the the Executive Minister of Worship and Arts at Grace Avenue United Methodist Church. His primary work is to facilitate the creation of the six weekend worship events at the church and to lead the amazing team of musicians, artists and worship leaders at Grace Avenue. He also serves as a member of the Executive Team and occasionally as one of the preachers on the preaching team at Grace Avenue. In addition to this work Joe also conducts the Foundation Choir, the Grace Avenue Ukulele Choir and plays in the Threshold Band. Reverend Stobaugh is an ordained deacon in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church and is currently serving on the North Texas Annual Conference’s General and Jurisdictional Delegation
Joe holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas (where he studied music education and saxophone) and a Master of Sacred Music degree (Magna cum Laude) from the Perkins School of Theology and the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (with a concentration in choral conducting).
Joe’s ministry related passions include the development of congregational song and congregational participation in worship, multi-sensory worship, social justice and peace ministries, bridging the world and the church, the intersection of culture and worship and the use of new music and art forms for worship.
Sandy Knudson is the Artistic Director of the Norman Children’s Chorus and has successfully taught K-5 classrom music for 30 years. She holds a M.M.E. and Kodály certification from The University of Oklahoma. Since 1990, Sandy has served on the faculty of The University of Oklahoma Kodály certification program where she teaches solfege, conducting, and choir. She holds National Board certification in Early and Middle Childhood Music. Well-known as a clinician, master teacher and guest conductor, Sandy has presented workshops at numerous state and national conferences. She has been guest conductor for honor choirs in Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas and has served as conductor of Circle the State with Song festivals throughout Oklahoma. In 2015, she conducted the OAKE National Children’s Choir.
Sandy has earned an Artist-Teacher Diploma under the mentorship of Doreen Rao in the Choral Music Experience Institute. Recognized by OMEA as an Exemplary Teacher in 2010, Sandy was inducted into the OMEA Hall of Fame in 2013. In the spring of 2014, Sandy was awarded the Pam Golden Honor Award by the Oklahoma Kodály Educators chapter for contribution to Kodály music education and the children and teachers of Oklahoma. In 2018, Sandy was awarded Outstanding Educator by OAKE.
Dan Baker is in his tenth year as the minister of music at First Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas. He directs or oversees all aspects of music ministry at the church including weekly worship, large scale Christmas and Easter productions, fully graded children’s and youth choir programs, as well as instrumental ensembles and orchestras. Music and mission have been a long-time passion with trips with his youth choir all over the U.S. and international trips to Brazil, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, and Ukraine. Most of those trips have been with the Singing Men of Texas. Dan also enjoyed conducting the Singing Men in Carnegie Hall in 2018.
Originally from the Dallas area, Dan received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Christian University in 1991 and a Master of Arts in worship studies from B.H. Carroll Theological Institute in 2017. He taught public school choral music for ten years in the Dallas metroplex before answering a call to ministry in the local church. He has sung as a soloist and choir member with classical and Christian ensembles, including the Dallas Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, The Dallas Vocal Artists, The Allegro Artists, and One Voice.
Monica Awbrey currently serves as assistant conductor of Women's Youth Chorus for the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas and is also involved with several choirs across the area as a director and a singer, including Christ the King Catholic Church and Cathedral Arts at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Inspiring young musicians is her passion, and she is fortunate to teach music at The Episcopal School of Dallas, teach private voice lessons to young singers and teach music camps every summer for various organizations. Previously, Mrs. Awbrey directed choral programs at Allen High School, Rowlett High School, and Taft High School (San Antonio). She has also served as the director for the Christmas Celebration Children’s Chorus for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. As a singer, she has performed with Orpheus Chamber Singers, Orchestra New Spain and the Dallas Bach Society. She has also held music positions at Church of the Incarnation, Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Highland Park United Methodist Church, and The Dallas Bach Society.
Mrs. Awbrey holds Bachelor of Music and a Master of Arts in Teaching degrees from Trinity University.
Ron Mallory has been playing, directing, and composing for handbells for more than 20 years. He is active as a full-time musician in the Seattle/Tacoma area, where he teaches handbells and digital music production at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Ron has more than 100 handbell pieces in print and has won composition contests sponsored by Bells of the Sound and Handbell Musicians of America. He has served as guest conductor at numerous festivals and teaches regularly at local and national handbell conferences. His past handbell experience also includes directing adult and youth handbell choirs in a number of church settings, directing the Rainier Ringers community handbell ensemble, and serving on the Area 10 board of Handbell Musicians of America. Ron has a master's degree in choral conducting from the University of Washington and a bachelor's degree in music composition from California State University, Long Beach. For more about Ron and his music, visit www.ronmallorymusic.com.