Music Alumni

 

Esther Ellis ’13

 

Church involvement & current occupation

Worship Administrator at North Shore Fellowship

 

Current residence

Chattanooga, TN

 

Give us a picture of an ordinary work day for you

I work with the Pastors to plan the services at North Shore each week, which includes selecting music and liturgy, communicating with/scheduling our musicians and scheduling rehearsals. I am also a part of leading worship on Sunday's which has been really stretching and fun for me. I get to use the music theory I learned at Covenant every week when I create charts or make sure the ones we have are good for the band to follow. I love being able to use something that I learned at college and know that it is valuable in my job here. A large part of my job is dedicated towards creative thinking and projects. I get to brainstorm about how we can improve the way we do things, how we communicate and care for people through worship and I get to come up with new ideas, projects and events that can help North Shore grow as a body and in our community. A portion of my job is dedicated towards song-writing, something I loved doing in my time at Covenant and look forward to pursuing here at North Shore.

 

What makes you excited to go to work every day?

My absolute favorite part of this job is being able to work with such talented musicians every week. We have these incredible people who are so willing to sacrifice their time and energy to minister to our church and it is so fun to be able to play with them every week. They are so patient with me and I love being able to learn and grow with them.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

One of the things I'm most thankful for about Covenant is that it was one of the first times that I met Christians who were really thoughtful about the world and asked really good questions about their faith and how their faith connects to this world. That meant a lot to me and I think it prepared me as I left college, to approach a variety of situations more thoughtfully and with a much more open mind than I had before. When you're willing to ask questions and, equally important, listen carefully to the answers, you gain insight and perspective. Everyone is different, everyone has different experiences and everyone has a story to tell and wants to be heard. Learning to be thoughtful about the questions you ask and listening carefully are very valuable lessons that I learned while at Covenant and am still learning now, and they are lessons that have shaped my decisions every day at my job.

 

 


 

Scott M. Finch
Scott M. Finch ’97

 

Current residence

Flinstone, GA

 

Family members

Wife, Jennifer Peterson ’97; children: Colby (14), Tallis (11), Alliena (7), and Jocelyn (4)

 

Church

Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church

 

What were you involved in on-campus while at Covenant?

Chorale, Madrigals, Madrigal dinners, brass choir, orchestra, spring-break chorale tours, chapel music, 3rd Belz, Blackwatch, paint shop, grounds, facilities (carpet cleaning), Blink manager, and food service

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

I will give you the Reader’s Digest Version…

  • 1997-99: Temple University in Philadelphia (Master of Music in Conducting and Taught Elementary Music)
  • 1999-2000: Argyle Elementary School, Smyrna, GA. Taught K-6 general music and was interim music director for Christ Pres. in Marietta.
  • 2000-2005: Wheaton Academy in West Chicago, IL. Taught high school choral music, music appreciation, coached musicals, and taught the development of popular culture. I also was worship accompanist for Grace Pres. in Hanover Park.
  • 2005-2009: University of Arizona in Tucson (Doctorate in Musical Arts). I was Director of Music and Worship for Rincon Mountain Pres. Church in addition to helping start a Classical Christian School (K-6) called Alethia Academy and also taught elementary music at Cornerstone Christian Academy (K-6).
  • 2009-2013: Briercrest College & Seminary as Assistant Professor of Music and Worship. Led college choirs, taught music history, theory, and conducting. Led the annual Christmas event. Taught at Caronport High School and toured with both the college and high school groups. I was an elder a Regina Reformation Church and served as worship accompanist.
  • 2013-present: Covenant College as an associate professor of music. I lead chamber singers and chorale as well as teach music history and introduction to musical style. I have the opportunity of shepherding our Christmas event and re-launching choir tours.

 

What is your favorite part of your job? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

Hearing students sing together with zeal and excellence. I am excited to be doing work that God has called me to do and training students to serve with their gifts.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

I learned to work hard, to love others tenaciously, and better understand God’s Word and world. I was inspired here by professors and was well cared for. I received the necessary training to go on to top-flight programs in music.

 

Tell us a little more about your involvement with your church.

We just joined recently after looking around for some time. We attend Sunday morning and Sunday evening Bible study. We are involved in Sunday School and our kids are singing in the Christmas program. Our older two are involved with the youth. In time we will likely serve in the area of music.

 

 


 

Michael Kendall
Michael Kendall ’10

 

Current occupation(s)

Worship Director, New City Fellowship East Lake
Owner, RO-CO.CO
Co-Founder, East Lake Expression Engine

 

Current residence

Flintstone, GA

 

Family members

Wife, Sienna, and son, Deacon

 

Church

New City Fellowship East Lake

 

What were you involved in while at Covenant?

I was a music major and an education minor, I was active in music productions, performances, and intramural sports. I think I was James Harrison’s junior class vice president for CAB one year. It was a proud time.

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

I spent 3-4 years working full time in advertising as a copywriter while remaining active in music by teaching, composing, and playing in church. I also worked as a music intern for 1 year during this time at New City Fellowship. During this time I started a business (http://ro-co.co) that offers custom music composition and sound design for advertising and film, and after I completed my church internship I moved into a full time position as worship director at New City Fellowship East Lake. As part of my work in the East Lake neighborhood, I’ve begun a music education program with two former classmates of mine. The East Lake Expression Engine offers free music instruction on instruments and in ensemble settings to the students in our neighborhood.

 

Current occupation(s)

Worship Director, New City Fellowship East Lake
Owner, RO-CO.CO
Co-Founder, East Lake Expression Engine

 

What is your favorite part of your job? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

No matter what I’m working on, whether it’s writing a headline, creating the liturgy for a worship service, writing a lesson plan or composing a soundtrack, I as a creative individual get to tackle these objectives with a unique god-given understanding and imagination that is born from the summation of my life’s experiences, a few loose screws, and the image of God. The creative mind is a special gift.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

The liberal arts have allowed me to see unconventional solutions to complex problems in every professional setting I’ve been in. From the creative team at an ad agency to working with a pastor on a worship service, seeing things as a multidisciplinarian allows you to understand and empathize with larger numbers of people, and understand problems and their context on a deeper level. As a music major at Covenant, I was instilled with a deep desire to explore, discover, and learn within the musical field, rather than specialize too soon. It is this curiosity and the freedom to try things that has carried me through to my current professional endeavors—working full-time as a worship director, composer, and music educator.

 

Tell us a little more about your involvement with your church.

I have been a member at New City Fellowship since my junior year at Covenant. I studied jazz piano with James Ward for 3 years as a student, and it was through our relationship that I began to learn about New City’s worship legacy and started volunteering as a musician in the worship service. After graduation I was working full-time as a writer, but stayed close to the music at my church, and soon after began my internship. I am forever indebted to the body at New City, and James Ward for being such a wonderful place for me to grow and learn as a Christian and church musician. It is a joy to work for this church now in the East Lake neighborhood.

 

Music Competition

Prof. David Tahere and six Covenant music students successfully competed at the Southeastern Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing 2016 auditions, advancing to semifinal and final rounds of competition.
Chorale Conductor Dr. Scott Finch led current and former chorale members in "All for Jesus," as a tribute to Dr. John Hamm's investment in the Covenant College music department.
Dr. Finch discusses his desire to bless Covenant's surrounding communities through music.