School of Music

Organ Performance & Sacred Music Studies

Student & Alumni News

Jacob Montgomery, BM 2018, graduated as the outstanding senior in the keyboard department, and will be attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, to study for his master’s degree under Prof. David Higgs.

Graduate student Pei-Yi Ho earned both the service playing and colleague certifications from the American Guild of Organists in 2018.

Jon Johnson, MM 2000, finished his tenure as Organist-Choirmaster at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, KY, and has assumed a similar position as Director of Music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, TX, beginning summer 2018.

Jordan Prescott, BM organ, 2017, was awarded a full-tuition scholarship from the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Johns Hopkins) and has begun graduate study there with Dr. John Walker.  He is also the organ scholar at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore.  While enrolled at ECU, he completed two years as Organ Scholar at the Duke University Chapel. He performed a recital on Trinity Church Boston's "Fridays at Trinity," recital series in December, 2014 and a solo recital at the Cadet Chapel, West Point Military Academy in 2016.  He was named one of the "E. Power Biggs Fellows" for 2015 by the Organ Historical Society.

Organ student Jacob Montgomery is the second ECU student to be appointed Organ Scholar at Duke Chapel, beginning fall 2017.  Jacob earned the Colleague Certification from the AGO in 2014.

Sharon Veitch, MM, CAPS, 2016 earned the Colleague Certificate from the American Guild of Organists, May 2014. Upon graduation, she was appointed organist-choirmaster at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Kinston, NC and was recently elected as a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians. She serves as Dean of the East Carolina Chapter AGO.

Ashlyn Batten, MM 2017, earned the Service Playing Certificate from the American Guild of Organists.  She is the interim organist at Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville, NC.

Krista Melcher, BM 2014, was named the 2014 E. Power Biggs Fellow by the Organ Historical Society.  She is the organist at Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville, NC.

Cristiano Rizzotto (MM 2013) is in the final stages of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Oklahoma University under John Schwandt. Cristiano has developed an international performing career and his YouTube channel has had over 800,000 views. He is a full-time church musician at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis, MN.

Samantha Koch (BM 2012) was the Assistant Organist-Choirmaster at Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC following graduation from ECU.  She was named the 2013 "E. Power Biggs Fellow" by the Organ Historical Society, and attended their national convention (all expenses paid) in Vermont during June, 2013. She has since completed her MM degree in both organ and organ technology at the University of Oklahoma American Organ Institute.  She is currently employed as an organ builder for Quimby Organ Company in Warrensburg, MO.

Virginia "Gen" Bolena (MM 2004), having been Organist/Choirmaster at Christ Church, New Bern, NC since 2007, moved to Staunton, VA where she is now the director of music at Trinity Episcopal Church. She plays the beautiful Taylor & Boody organ.

Marty Barstow (BM 2010) earned the Master of Music degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and is now the Director of Music at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Casey Whaley Childers (M.M. 2009), Holds the Colleague Certificate (CAGO) from the American Guild of Organists. In April of 2009, she was the first place winner of the Richard Van Sciver Scholarship in the organ division of the Metropolitan Music Ministries Competition. Casey has been active in the East Carolina Chapter AGO, and served on the East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation. She currently serves as Organist & Coordinator of Music Ministries at First Christian Church in Wilson, NC and maintains a regular schedule of private teaching and accompanying.

Mark Pacoe (MM '98), is Director of Music and Organist at the historic St. Malachy's Church - The Actors' Chapel in Times Square, NYC. Mark has performed as soloist and accompanist domestically and abroad including Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai, the Sydney Opera House, Konzerthaus in Vienna (International Haydn Festival), St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles and St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC.

David Jernigan (BM and CAPS) graduated from ECU and went directly to Yale University for his graduate studies.  He was the organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New Haven, CT, before returning to North Carolina to become director of music at Christ Church on Capitol Square in Raleigh. He runs a large music program and recently founded the Raleigh Bach Soloists, a professional ensemble.

Michael Douglas Boney (BM, 1997 and MM 2002) formerly served as the Choirmaster/Organist of St. Michael's Cathedral (Episcopal) in Boise, Idaho. He was recently appointed Organist-Choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jackie Copeland (Masters in Church Music/Organ,1999) is currently the Organist/Pianist for The Albemarle Chorale and a Music Teacher for Elizabeth City/Pasquotank Public Schools. Copeland was the Teacher of the Year for Central Elementary School in 2002.

James H. (Buddy) Hyatt, III (Bachelor of Music Education, organ 2006) received the American Guild of Organist's Service Playing Certificate in June 2004 and received the ECU Student Government Association's Outstanding Senior Award for Music Education in May 2006. He is the Director of Music/Organist at First Baptist Church in Ahoskie, NC, and a school principal.

Julie Anne Lechner Florin (MM, 1996) holds the AGO Service Playing Certificate and currently serves as the Director of Worship and Music, Grace Community Church of Raleigh. Florin is also the Secretary of the CNCC AGO as well as the musical director of the NCSU, Meredith College, and Raleigh Little theatres.

Jennifer Hudson Gay (MM, Sacred Music, organ, 2004) was the First-Place Winner for the Metropolitan Music Ministries Scholarship and National First-Place Winner of the MTNA Young Artist Organ Competition in 2004. Gay is currently the Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Wilson, NC.

Michael Howe (BM, Organ Performance, 1971) is the Director of Music & Organist, Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Southern Pines, NC.