Directors and Staff
Ryan Marsh, Director of Choirs CONTACT
Ryan Marsh is a native of Floyd Knobs, Indiana, (near Louisville, KY). He attended Floyd Central High School (a two-time Grammy Signature School and two-time National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence) to which he credits his love for choral music and public school music education.
Ryan attended the University of Louisville School of Music from 1997 to 2003 where he earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree in Choral Music, Piano and Voice, and Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting. His primary choral conducting study was with Dr. Kent Hatteberg. While at UofL he sang in the Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers. Mr. Marsh received National Board Certification in 2011. He has completed course work at the doctoral level at the University of Kentucky.
Prior to moving to Lexington to be the Choral Director at Lafayette in 2003, he was active in church music serving two churches in New Albany, Indiana. Ryan holds professional memberships to the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), Music Educator’s National Conference (MENC) and regularly attends state, regional, national and international conventions and seminars. Ryan has an interest in choral music on the international scene and has attended and sung in international choral competitions. He has also served as an adjudicator for Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) contests and festivals on several occasions. Ryan is a staff member of the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music European program and represents the Central Kentucky Region. Ryan has served as District 7 All-State Chorus Chair, and most recently ended a two-year term as Kentucky Music Educator Association State Choral Division Chair in which he also served on the state board of directors, executive committee and festival commission.
Mr. Marsh is proud to direct the Lafayette Chorale, Madrigals, and Men’s Chorus. He also teaches AP Music Theory for the Lafayette School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) music majors. Mr. Marsh led Lafayette through the process of becoming a Nationally Recognized Grammy Signature School in 2005. Mr. Marsh also serves as the instructional leader for the performing arts department and serves as the Gifted and Talented Facilitator for the SCAPA Magnet program. (Teaching Philosophy)
Laura Howard, Vocal Instructor, Director Contact
Laura Howard is a native of Mt. Sterling, KY where she graduated from Montgomery County High School. She credits her involvement in the music programs of the Montgomery County Public Schools with the beginnings of her musical passion and ultimately, her career.
Mrs. Howard is a graduate of Morehead State University where she completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. As an undergraduate, she received her Bachelor of Music Education degree as a piano major on the choral/vocal education track of study. She also received the Master of Music degree while studying music education and choral conducting. While completing her graduate degree, she studied choral conducting privately with Dr. Greg Detweiler. She also served as a graduate assistant for the choral music department at MSU. Mrs. Howard recently completed Level II training in the Kodaly philosophy of music literacy and education. She began her teaching career in 2002 at Southern Middle School in Fayette County where she was responsible for general music classes, grades 6-8, as well as the 6th, 7th and 8th grade choirs. She has also had a private piano and voice studio since 1996.
For many years, Mrs. Howard has served as an accompanist for various choirs, soloists (both vocal and instrumental), and musical productions. She also serves as a church musician both as a pianist as well as a vocalist.
Mrs. Howard is delighted to be a part of the SCAPA/Lafayette faculty! She conducts the Women’s Chorus and Advanced Women’s Choir as well as teaching SCAPA vocal majors, Musicianship III, and Beginning Keyboarding.
Amanda Lynn Wells was born and raised in Pike County, KY where she stayed very active with her school band, chorus, speech and drama team, and her church youth group Crossroads. She attended Morehead State University and gained knowledge in both instrumental and vocal music and obtained a BM and MME. Before going into the teaching profession, Amanda performed professionally in musical theatre in California, North Carolina, and all around Kentucky. Amanda has worked as an elementary music teacher and choir director in New York City Public Schools, Morgan County Public Schools (KY), Rowan County (KY) at Rodburn and Clearfield Elementary Schools, and as a middle and high school choral director in Rowan County. Currenty, she is the vocal director and general music teacher at SCAPA at Bluegrass.
Amanda has completed Kodaly Levels I and II, and is actively involved in KOSA (KY Orff Schulwerk Association) and AOSA (American Orff Schulwerk Association). She has also taught in higher education at Morehead State University as an adjunct professor in the KCTM (KY Center for Traditional Music) in traditional voice and with the MSU Theater Department teaching musical theater voice and music directing their musical productions. Amanda is married to traditional musician and archivist, Jesse Wells, and they have a beautiful daughter, Maddie Rae.
Shari Jackson, Choir Manager CONTACT
Shari Jackson has been Choir Manager since December 2007. She is a graduate of Jacksonville (AL) State University with a degree in Special Education and minors in Vocal Music and English, and played clarinet in the Marching Southerners. She later did graduate work in Special Education and in Theology. After moving to Lexington with her family in 2003, she taught Special Education for four years at Lafayette.
In 2007, as an active parent volunteer for the Lafayette Choirs, Band, SCAPA and Counseling Office, she took on the part-time job of Choir Manager as a private contractor with the Lafayette Chorus Boosters. Mrs. Jackson is in the choir office an average of three hours per day, assisting the Directors and Chorus Booster volunteers with activities such as receiving payments and forms; music ordering, distribution, collection and cataloging; uniform fittings and care; program sponsorship details; fundraising; special events (especially pizza ordering); transportation booking; updating information in the Charms program; answering questions; and being the “choir mom in residence”.
Her husband, Dalen, is Academic Dean at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, located on the Georgetown College Campus, and they attend Calvary Baptist Church where Shari sings soprano in the adult choir and leads a children’s choir. She is the mother of Daniel, Lafayette ’08, who is currently a Chemical Engineering doctoral student at UC-Davis, CA, and Emma, Lafayette ’11, who is currently a Vocal Education major at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and Peabody College.
Daniel Wade, tenor
Daniel Wade has a Bachelor of Music Education and vocal performance degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Mr. Wade has taught M2 voice lessons for five years at Lafayette. He directed the 25th Infantry Division Soldier’s Chorus for three years. He has sung with the 1984 Army Soldiers Show and New Orleans Opera. He has performed in Seoul, Korea; Egypt and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, DC. He played the role of King Kaspan in Amahl & The Night Visitors.
Mr. Wade has been married to Laurie for 25 years and recently retired from the US Postal Service. His daughter Erin sang in the Choral program & played in the Band at Lafayette, and his son Jeremy was also involved with the Lafayet Band.
Gabrielle Barker, soprano
Gabrielle Barker is from Lexington, Kentucky and has her bachelors in vocal performance from the University of Kentucky. She performed the roles of Cosette in Les Miserables, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, and The Doll in the Tales of Hoffmann with UK Opera Theatre. She played Miss Andrew in the Lexington Theatre Company's production of Mary Poppins. She most recently performed in UK Opera's "Its a Grand Night for Singing" and parks and recreations event "Opera Under the Stars". Gabrielle won the 2016 VSA international young soloist award and performed at the Kennedy center in May 2016. She is a studio artist with Kentucky Opera and performed in their outreach program "Exploring the River Region" and in a production of Showboat. She will be singing in the chorus of their upcoming season. She is performing in the Schmidt Opera Outreach programs "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Its All About Teeth". Gabrielle barker is on staff at InnOVATIONS Arts Academy where she has been dance choreographer and music director for their shows, and the music and moves class teacher.
Jenna McKinley, soprano
Jenna McKinley received her Bachelors in Music Performance from Eastern Kentucky University in 1997. She received her Masters Degree in Vocal Pedagogy from Belmont University in 2000. She began teaching private voice as an adjunct professor at EKU from 2000-2003. While there, she finished her Masters Degree in Vocal Performance in 2002. She taught private voice lessons and Musikgarten classes at The Music Institute of Lexington from 2003-2013.
Jenna now trains preschool teachers to teach Musikgarten through the Music for Learning program (since 2009). She teaches preschool through 5th grade music at Danville Montessori (since 2007). She also teaches private singing lessons at Lafayette High School (since 2008) and at her church, where she is the Music Minister.
401 Reed Lane
Lexington, KY 40503
Choir Office 859 • 381 • 3492