TUNE UP Track Leaders
Faith Ayers – vocals
Faith Ayers is the Director of Contemporary Worship at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston. She grew up in a family of musicians; her father was a touring rhythm and blues singer while she was young, and her aunts and uncles were Gospel singers. It was at Houston’s Terrace United Methodist Church that she really learned to sing, and developed a passion for the art of designing and leading worship. She fondly remembers first grade Sunday School music time when her favorite teacher, Mrs. Summers, said (as Faith sang maybe a bit too loudly): “I think you are going to be a singer!” Mrs. Summers was right. Faith has been singing since she was a toddler and has been in professional ministry for 15 years.
Richard Birk – winds, strings, etc.
Richard Birk is Associate Professor of Music at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, TX and the leader/founder of the Christian jazz sextet, Jazz Sunday. He is also a worship leader and arranger for Third Stream, a progressive fusion band that performs every third Sunday at St. John Lutheran Church in Angleton, TX.
Michael Brady serves as the Associate Director of Worship at Houston’s First Baptist Church. He has been leading worship for over a decade and holds a Bachelor of Music – Music Theory from Houston Baptist University.
Clayton Faulkner is Director of Worship, Music, and Technology at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, TX. He has been planning and leading worship for 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Southwest Texas State University, a Master of Arts in Worship from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.
Thomas Harris was born, raised, and lives in Angleton, Texas. Thomas began his musical career at the age of 7, playing with a local band his guitar teacher fronted. Thomas went on to form bands, invest and learn about sound systems, and begin to rent out his equipment and work as front of house sound technician. His journey has exposed him to many levels of sound reinforcement from small churches to large venue systems and television. His work on stage as a musician and entertainer add to his perspective of what being “the sound person” really means.
Brian Hehn is the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, which will soon be launched by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music magna cum laude from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. His interests include 21st-century hymnody, creative worship, and drumming for worship. Brian is active as a drumming clinician and has recently published a new book, All Hands In: Drumming the Biblical Narrative, published by Choristers Guild.
Rebecca McDonald – keyboard
Rebecca currently serves as the Director of Music at Covenant Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. She has been working as a church musician and music leader since the age of 14, as well as enjoyed a successful career as a solo pianist, accompanist, piano teacher, and choral conductor. She holds a bachelor’s in piano from Baylor University.
Marvin Sparks – drums
Marvin R. Sparks, Jr has worked throughout the United States as a percussionist, drummer, educator, consultant, writer, and producer. Professor Sparks serves on the faculties of Lone Star College-Kingwood/North Harris and Texas Southern University. Mr. Sparks holds a Bachelors of Music (Performance) from the University of Illinois-CU and a Masters of Art (Performance) from Eastern Illinois University. As a performer, Marvin has worked in various genres of the music industry including performances with The Color Purple, Ragtime, King and I, Max Roach, Roy Ayers, Lakewood Church Orchestra (w/Israel Houghton and Cindy Cruise), and James Cleveland. Sparks has recorded over 200 commercials for Radio and TV as a writer, player, and producer. He serves as an educational consultant for Evans Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Mallets and Sticks, and Latin Percussion Music Group.