2024 Session Clinicians

Katie Houtes

Elementary Clinician

Choristers Guild’s Sacred Music and Curriculum Editor Katie Houts studied music at Wartburg College, where she double majored in Church Music (Organ) and Religion. She has served in ELCA, UCC, and UMC congregations as Director of Music, Worship Curator, Organist, and Children’s Choir Director. Katie is a sought-after children’s choral clinician, presenter, composer, and professional accompanist. She and her family live in Salt Lake City where she leads choral ensembles throughout the community, including Rise Up Children’s Choir—Utah’s premiere contemporary vocal performance group for ages 6-18. She conducts RUCC’s 75-voice intermediate training ensemble and is the assistant director and accompanist for the 120-voice advanced mixed children’s choir. Katie also teaches Singing to lower elementary grades at Wasatch Charter School and directs their fifth and sixth grade choirs.

Andrew Minear

Youth Clinician

With appearances across the United States, Dr. Andrew Minear is an active conductor, music educator, and choir leader. He is the founding Artistic and Executive Director of Orlando Sings (orlandosings.org) where he conducts the Orlando Sings Symphonic Chorus and the professional vocal ensemble Solaria. Recent or upcoming engagements include Opera Orlando’s production of “All is Calm,” the National Concert Chorus at Carnegie Hall, the National Youth Chorus at Carnegie Hall, the Seoul Oratorio Festival in South Korea, the American Choral Directors Association Southern Region SSAA Honor Choir, Music and Worship Arts weeks in Lake Junaluska and Montreat, and ten all-state choirs. Before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, Minear was one of only 40 choral leaders in the world selected to present at the 12th World Symposium on Choral Music in Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Minear’s passion for expressive music-making has been cultivated through two decades of experience in children’s, church, community, middle school, high school, university, and professional choral settings. He currently serves as Director of Music Ministry at All Saints Episcopal Church of Winter Park. He previously served as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama and taught at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando when Cora Bella (SSAA) performed for State, Division, and National Conferences of ACDA.

Betsy Homer

Preschool Clinician

Betsy Homer serves as the Director of Worship & Arts at Roswell Presbyterian Church in Roswell, Georgia. With a deep-seated passion for fostering meaningful connections between worship and music, Betsy has been instrumental in nurturing and developing church musicians through her role in choir and worship leadership. She holds degrees in music from Birmingham Southern and Southern Methodist University. Her career in the service of various churches spans over two decades, where she has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing the worship experience through music. Betsy has earned the Choristers Guild Institute Certificate for Young Children, showcasing her dedication to nurturing the musical talents of the youngest members of the church community. Betsy’s comprehensive approach to music ministry includes not only leading worship but also cultivating the talents of future generations. In addition to her primary responsibilities in worship planning, she co-directs the church’s youth choir, 3rd-5th grade choir, and PreK choir.

Betsy enjoys the art of hospitality, taking pleasure in setting a table and entertaining
friends and family. She is super proud of her three kids and husband who is her favorite

Karol Kimmell

Preschool Clinician

Karol has served as the Director of Youth & Children’s Music at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA since 1998, directing and developing choral and handbell choirs for PreK – 12th grade.  Karol co-directs Lutheridge Music Week in Arden, NC, plans the week’s innovative worship, and serves as the choral clinician for PreK-2nd grade. Before All Saints’, Karol worked for 15 years as an organist, choir director, and pre-school music teacher in NC, SC, and GA in Lutheran, Episcopal, and Presbyterian congregations and schools.  Karol directed the Elementary Choruses at Atlanta’s Paideia School and the North Carolina 2009 Sixth Grade All State Chorus. Her articles, anthem studies, and hymn arrangements appear in The Chorister and Augsburg Fortress’ Sundays and Seasons and Prelude. She has presented workshops for the National Conference for Sacred Music, Georgia ACDA, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Choristers Guild, FUMMWA, and Augsburg Fortress.  She has served as a choral clinician for Youth Lutherans Sing, Lake Junaluska, Massanetta Springs, Bonclarken, Mabel Boyter Choir Camp, and regional choral festivals. Karol attended Wittenberg University and Lenoir-Rhyne University, receiving her BME (organ) from Lenoir-Rhyne.  She is certified in Orff Schulwerk, Kindermusik, Musikgarten, studied voice at the Mannes School of Music and sang with the Riverside Church Choir in NYC. 

Heather Ellison

Preschool Clinician

Heather Ellison has been involved with Children’s Music at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia since 2003.  She has directed choirs, music  classes, and handbells with children/students ages 3-18. In January 2023, Heather took a sabbatical from full-time music ministry to serve as the Special Projects Director for the Capital Campaign at Peachtree.  When she is not managing the project, she is still active volunteer in the Music Ministry. Heather received her Bachelors in Sacred Music from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.  She is a  member of Choristers Guild and the Handbell Musicians of America. She currently serves as the Past President of the Atlanta Chapter of Choristers Guild. Previously, she has served as the Secretary of the Area 4 Board of Handbell Musicians of America as well as a member of the Mercer University Townsend School of Music Alumni Board. Heather and her husband Richard have three children and reside in Marietta, Georgia.

Emily Floyd

Intermediate/Advance Conduction

Emily Floyd is Associate Pastor for Worship and Music at First Baptist Church of Asheville where she conducts choirs of all ages.  Emily serves as the co-director and an instructor for the Choristers Guild Institute.  Emily has been a church musician for more than 20 years, and has taught in public schools at the middle school and high school level.  She is passionate about young singers having the opportunity to create beauty and sing with artistry.  She frequently conducts choirs for conferences, state and district honor choirs, and summer camps.   She has presented workshops for ACDA, Choristers Guild, school systems, and sacred music conferences. Emily attended the Florida State University and received a bachelor’s degree in music education (voice) and holds certifications with the Choristers Guild and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.  Choirs under her direction have performed in 18 states and internationally in places such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, and St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.  Emily is passionate about awakening artistry in all singers and nurturing leadership in young singers.

Ryan Ferguson

Beginner/Intermediate Conducting

Ryan Ferguson serves as Director of Music at Athens First United Methodist Church in Athens, GA, where he oversees a vibrant worship arts ministry with vocal and instrumental choirs for adults, youth, and children, as well as a collegiate choral intern program and community concert series.

Prior to his time in the Classic City, he served as Director of Music and Worship at Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis, MD and as Director of Music at Saint James United Methodist Church in Marriottsville, MD. In addition to his work in music ministry, Ryan has worked as a pianist and guest conductor for community and professional orchestral, choral, and wind ensembles in the Baltimore/Washington Metro area. Former positions include Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Philharmonia, Cover Conductor of the Greenspring Valley Symphony, Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Modern Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Youth Orchestra. Guest conducting engagements include Smith College Symphony, Queens College Symphony, Norwalk Chamber Players, Symphony Tacoma, and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

As a strong advocate for future music-makers, Ryan has taught music on the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For three years, he served as Director of Bands & Orchestra and AP® Music Theory instructor at The Catholic High School of Baltimore and for five years on faculty as Director of Performing Arts at The Summit School, a school serving bright students with dyslexia and learning differences. 

A native of Fort Gaines, Georgia, Ryan graduated magna cum laude with an Honors Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Shorter College and a Master of Music in Conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. Ryan is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Director’s Association, and the Chorister’s Guild.