Executive Board Elected Officers
Marty Wheeler Burnett
Marty Wheeler Burnett is Canon Precentor at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, where she leads a growing music program with singers and instrumentalists of all ages. Previously, Burnett served on the faculty at College of Saint Mary, where she developed the choral music program and led nine choir tours, including performances in Italy and Ireland. She is the recipient of the Nebraska Choral Directors Association’s 2011 Outstanding Choral Director Award, as well as several teaching awards. Burnett holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of the South. She was Dean of the Omaha AGO Chapter from 2007-2009. A member of AAM since 1992, she has served as a Regional Coordinator and regularly attends annual conferences. Burnett currently serves on the AAM Employment Task Force. She has worked as a parish musician in Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Paul M. Ellison, Ph.D.
Paul M. Ellison was educated at the Royal Academy of Music, Queens’ College, Cambridge, San José State University, and Cardiff University, where he gained a PhD in musicology. While a student in London, he was assistant organist at St. Pancras’ Church (where Henry Smart played) and at St. Mary-at-Hill Church (where Thomas Tallis was organist), and later director of music at St. Mary the Boltons from 1981–87. He is currently director of music at Church of the Advent, San Francisco’s historic Anglo-Catholic parish, where he conducts Schola Adventus, Advent’s professional choir. He is a member of the faculties of San Francisco and San José State Universities where he teaches musicology. He has published with Pendragon Press and is a contributor to Nineteenth Century Music Review, and to The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music. He is former editor of The Beethoven Journal, the award-winning periodical of the American Beethoven Society, and was editor of the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians from 2010–15. He was 36th president of AAM, serving from 2017–19. Among the interesting highlights of his career, Paul has performed for Prince Charles in Cambridge, directed the music at the weddings of actor Julian Sands and director Michael Attenborough and funerals of actor Leonard Rossiter and the Marquesa de Casa Maury (Freda Dudley Ward, sometime mistress of King Edward VIII).
Kirsten Johnson is in her twenty-seventh year as the Director of Music at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, where she oversees the music program and serves as organist and conductor of the Adult and Junior Choirs. A native of Minnesota, Kirsten has been a church musician since her high school years when she played the organ for two country churches in southern Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from St. Olaf College and a Master of Divinity degree from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School. She has served the Boston Chapter of the AGO as Recording Secretary and Membership Chair and is currently a member of the Conference Committee for AAM Boston 2019. In addition to her work as a church musician, Kirsten was the Director of Music Together of Wayland/Weston, an early childhood music program in the Boston area, for over 15 years. She and her husband Jeff, an ELCA pastor, live in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and have two grown sons.
Jason Abel is organist and choirmaster at historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He has held this post since 2005. Prior positions were at the Church of the Nativity in Huntsville, Alabama, and Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas. In his current role, he directs two children’s choirs, one adult choir, and serves as principal organist. In addition to his duties at Christ Church, he serves as assistant chapel musician at Virginia Theological Seminary.
Jason holds the Master of Sacred Music degree cum laude from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Arts degree cum dignitate in musica from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He has studied organ with Robbe Delcamp, George Baker, and Larry Palmer, and conducting with David R. Davidson.
Jason was chair of exhibits for the 2010 American Guild of Organists National Convention and was on the executive committee of the 2014 AAM Conference, both held in Washington D.C. Additionally, he has served on the Diocese of Virginia Liturgy and Music Commission for many years.
Mark Ardrey-Graves has been the organist at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC, since May 2017. Prior to coming to St. Timothy’s, he worked as organist and choirmaster at a number of parishes in North Carolina and Virginia. Also an Instructor at Guilford Technical Community College, Mark teaches undergraduate courses in music, including jazz history. He holds degrees in Musicology, Historical Performance Practice, and Divinity from Duke University, and the DMA in Choral Conducting from James Madison University. His teachers include Robert Parkins (organ), Arthur Haas (harpsichord), Randall Love (fortepiano), Lex Silbiger (viola da gamba), and W. Bryce Hayes and Joanne van der Vat-Chromy (conducting).
Research and performance interests include Tudor and early Scottish sacred polyphony, historic liturgical practices, choral pedagogy, and music of the French Baroque. Mark has been a member of AAM since 2006, and has contributed articles to the AAM Journal and Choral Journal. He previously served on the Commission on Liturgy & Church Music in the Diocese of Virginia, is currently a member of the Committee on Liturgy for the Diocese of North Carolina, and is part of the leadership team of the American Sarum project. He has served as clinician for treble choral festivals, lectured on chant for the RSCM, and played harpsichord continuo for numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles. Mark is married to the Rev. Sara Ardrey-Graves, Associate Rector of St. Paul’s in Winston-Salem. Together they enjoy hiking, cooking, travel, and their dog and two cats.
Kristin Lensch is in her sixth year as Organist-Choirmaster at Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee, where she oversees a vibrant program of four choirs, a concert series, and maintains a private organ studio. In the last two years, she instituted a monthly Evensong service, which has developed its own congregation, and has led the Calvary Choir in its first English cathedral choral residency. Kristin holds degrees from the University of Iowa (Delbert Disselhorst) and Indiana University (Larry Smith and Marilyn Keiser), and is completing her doctorate at the University of Memphis. She assists in running the RSCM St. Louis Course and serves on the AAM Gerre Hancock Internship Committee.
Board Appointed Officers
Alan C. Reed
A member of AAM since 1984, Alan C. Reed served two terms as Treasurer (1999-2002, 2007-2011) before becoming AAM’s second Archivist in 2011. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he has served Episcopal churches in the dioceses of New Jersey, West Tennessee, North Carolina, and the Central Gulf Coast. Since 2003 he has served as the Organist and Master of the Choirs at St. John’s Church in Charlotte. He and his wife Tracy founded the Gulf Coast RSCM course in 2002 and have managed the Charlotte RSCM course since 2004.
Alan attended every AAM conference from 1986 to 1998. Together he and Tracy have attended each conference since 1999, except for the 2000 conference during which Tracy gave birth to their son Drayton.
William P. Saviers, Jr., Esq.
William Saviers graduated in 1968 from Ohio University with a BA, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and was part of the Ohio Fellows program. He also was a member of the Honors College and spent his junior year abroad studying at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at the Free University of Berlin. After serving two years in Vietnam, he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1974. He then pursued a career in corporate law, working in the energy sector with Columbia Gas Transmission, Cabot Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts; Charleston, West Virginia; and Amarillo, Texas, and finally with Consolidated Natural Gas in Clarksburg, West Virginia, which later was acquired by Dominion Resources. He has also done part-time work with CNX Gas Corporation after his retirement between 2004 and 2007. During his career, Mr. Saviers also devoted time to church music in various settings, became a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and was appointed Chancellor of the Association of Anglican Musicians in 1997 through the present and serves as a member of the Professional Concerns and Development Committee. He has written several articles for the Association and the Living Church on legal issues facing lay employees in the Episcopal Church and has helped revise the AAM publication “Conflict and Closure” to “Servant Leadership for Musicians, A Vocational Handbook for Ministry.”
Mr. Saviers has also served in various capacities as a volunteer with Shepherd Wellness (HIV and AIDS victims), Hospice, United Way, and since his retirement in 2004 has been participating with Legal Aid of West Virginia as a pro-bono volunteer to give legal advice and represent clients in civil cases. Mr. Saviers also served on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of West Virginia from 2011 – 2014. He also is a member of the advisory board with the new Ohio Fellows program at Ohio University.
The Right Reverend J. Neil Alexander
Bishop J. Neil Alexander was elected the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta on March 31, 2001, and was ordained and installed on July 7, 2001, at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time of his election, Bishop Alexander was the Norma and Olan Mills Professor of Divinity at the University of the South School of Theology. Previously he served as the Trinity Church Professor of Liturgics and Preaching at The General Theological Seminary, New York City, while serving in a variety of parish settings. He has also taught at Yale, Drew and Wilfrid Laurier universities.
Bishop Alexander is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Moravian College, and the University of South Carolina. He earned a master of divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and a doctor of theology in liturgics from The General Theological Seminary. He is the recipient of two honorary doctorates. Having served as chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South by the university’s board of trustees, he resigned as bishop of Atlanta in October 2012 to become the dean of the university’s School of Theology.
He is the author of This Far by Grace: A Bishop’s Journey Through Questions About Homosexuality, as well a number of publications in the fields of liturgics, homiletics, sacramental theology and pastoral practice.
Editor, The Journal
Stephen Leist joined the staff of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Norfolk, VA in January 2015 as Director of Music Ministry. A research librarian at Virginia Wesleyan, Stephen is also an accomplished organist and choir director with a lifelong passion for the music and liturgy of the Episcopal tradition. Before moving to Norfolk in 2012, he served as the Organist and Choir Director at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Versailles, Ky. He holds degrees from Furman University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Kentucky and is a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Anglican Musicians. He is married to Joanna Binford, a music teacher and professional viola player.
George Anton Emblom
Professional Concerns & Development Chair
George Emblom serves as Director of Music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley, Organist-Choir Director of Temple Sinai, Oakland, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of Chapel Music at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Episcopal), Berkeley, Instructor of organ at the University of California at Berkeley, and pianist at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, El Cerrito. Mr. Emblom became a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians in 1987 and he has served as a Director-at-Large, a member of Professional Concerns Committee, Treasurer, and currently as chair of the Professional Concerns and Development committee.
Serving at St. Mark’s since 1992, Mr. Emblom directed the St. Mark’s Choir in their first choir pilgrimage in 2003 singing in St. George’s, Windsor; Chichester, Clare College Cambridge, Bury-St. Edmunds, and Gloucester. In 2007, the choir sang for a week’s residency in Lincoln as well as for services in Durham. In July 2011, the choir offered residencies in Salisbury and Truro and in 2014, in Norwich and Wells. In 2017, the choir sang for residencies in Ely and Bristol and planning is currently underway for their sixth pilgrimage in 2020 with residencies in Lincoln and Durham.
Mr. Emblom received the Bachelor of Music degree (with Distinction) from St. Olaf College and the Master of Music degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Michael S. Burnette, D.M.A.
Michael Burnette, organist-choirmaster at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Westport, Connecticut since 1999, leads a full-time music ministry of over 75 choristers (PreK-adult) in five vocal choirs. He is the founder and artistic director of Music & Arts at Christ & Holy Trinity, an annual series of concerts and liturgies that boasts an impressive roster of artists and ensembles, including Chanticleer, King’s College Choir, The Tallis Scholars, among others. Previously, he served congregations in California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music summa cum laude from Westminster Choir College. Graduate degrees, including Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance and Literature, were completed at the Eastman School of Music. Major organ teachers included David Craighead, Donald McDonald, Harald Vogel, and Raymond Ocock. Also an active and experienced choral singer, he has performed both as an organist and a singer in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
Michael was appointed AAM’s Placement Advisor in 2009; in addition, he serves on the Executive Board of the Fairfield-West Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Daniel J. Fortune
Daniel Fortune is the organist-choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Houghton College in Houghton, New York where he studied organ with Dr. Susan Klotzbach, and the Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Russell Saunders.
Daniel previously served as as AAM’s Publicist for four years (2009–2013) and began his work as Web Producer in August 2018. He is also currently dean of the Akron Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
AAM Officers Customary (PDF)