Rusty’s background and experience provides outstanding opportunities for the chorus members and our audience to enjoy choral music at its best. Rusty is the Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church of Allen. He holds a degree in Sacred Music and Vocal Choral Conducting from Centenary College and has been a music minister since 1979 directing major choral works that include Schubert’s Mass in G, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
An active musician all his life, Rusty was a member of the Centenary College Choir. Rusty’s father, a Director of Music in Florida, encouraged him to experience what many say is the pinnacle of accomplishments for choral members– to work under Robert Shaw. Robert Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Rusty auditioned, won a place, and performed the Berlioz Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Carnegie Hall, a concert that was audited by the late David R. Davidson.
Voice is not his only musical gift. Rusty taught himself to play guitar and learned, by ear, the songs of Dan Fogelberg, The Eagles, and others. His father gave him the book, Christopher Parkening Classical Guitar Method, Volume 1, and a new chapter in the life of guitar music opened to him. In his junior year in college, Rusty had the opportunity to take lessons from classical guitarist, Nghe Pham, and actually play for Christopher Parkening who is celebrated as one of the world’s preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar.
Rusty did not abandon the music of The Eagles or Dan Fogelberg as he has formed and played in bands over the decades. His most recent is the band Connections adding the music of the Doobie Brothers, Chicago and James Taylor and others when performing throughout the metroplex for audiences while raising money for charity. Connections played in Allen to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti in 2010. Rusty was invited to attend the Dan Fogelberg Memorial Weekend in Peoria, Illinois at the end of August of that same year. Fogelberg’s widow, Jean, found the Connections band tribute to Dan Fogelberg’s music on YouTube and was thrilled to learn that his music was being performed in communities for good causes.
Popular with choral members and audiences alike, Broadway musicals are also part of Rusty’s resume. Godspell, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun, Carousel, and The Sound of Music are some of the wonderful productions he has directed.
Music makes the universal connection to everyone and the ASC looks forward to this season and beyond to be involved in exciting, challenging, and wonderful opportunities to sing. We invite you to be part of this!!!