Elaine Bailey has been the Preparatory Choir director since 2002, and added NCC co-program directorship with Josh Wright in 2019. Before directing Prep Choir, she was the choir’s accompanist, under the direction of Roberta Rodgers. A graduate of Belmont University (BM and MM in Music Education), Elaine recently retired from teaching music at Poplar Grove Elementary School, Franklin. Since her retirement, she has been teaching adjunct classes for the Belmont’s School of Music. She also sings in Portara Ensemble and in the Chamber Ensemble of First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville. Elaine has two adult children, Dr. Sarah Beth Bell and David Bell.
Josh Wright shares NCC program director responsibilities with Elaine Bailey and additionally serves as co-conductor of the Touring Choir with James Wells. Originally from Middle Tennessee, Josh learned a love of music by playing trumpet in middle and high school band. He went on to earn both his Bachelor and Master of Music in Music Education degrees through Belmont University. During this time, he discovered a passion for helping young people develop as musicians.
An active leader in his school community, Josh served the Donelson community as an elementary music specialist in the Metro-Nashville Public School system for the past 16 years. In 2016, he was honored as a “Music Teacher of Excellence” by the Country Music Association. Additionally, he has completed two levels of Orff and Kodaly training. Recently, he joined MNPS’s Office of Federal Programs and Grants and now works with schools in their school improvement process. He has had the privilege of working with NCC since 2007.
Robert King has been director of the Youth Choir since 2003. A native of Nashville, Mr. King serves as Fine Arts Director at Lipscomb Academy where he has been director of choruses since 1984. Under his direction Lipscomb has participated in every State Choral Festival since its inception in 1988. They have been selected 6 times to perform for the TN Music Educators Association Convention, and performed at the 2001 MENC National Convention and the 2004 ACDA Southern Division conference. He is founder and director of the Lipscomb University Community Chorus. With experience teaching in kindergarten through university, King is a frequent adjudicator, clinician and lecturer on choral and rehearsal techniques. A past president of the Middle TN Vocal Association and the Tennessee American Choral Director’s Association, he currently serves as the TNACDA State Choral Festival chairperson.
Michelle Cox Carr
Michelle Cox Carr serves as assistant director and accompanist for the Prep Choir. Originally from Colorado, Michelle came to Nashville to study music education at Belmont University. With principal studies in both piano and voice as well as a minor in French, she graduated Cum Laude in 2005. Michelle accompanies for Harding Academy’s choral program as well as sings with the Nashville Chamber Singers. She has been teaching private voice and piano for over twenty years. Michelle has been a part of NCC since 2007 and believes it to be one of the best educational resources in Nashville for young singers.
Allison Sharp has been a part of the Nashville Children’s Choir program since 2014, serving as accompanist for the Youth Choir. With degrees in Piano Pedagogy from Columbus State University in Georgia, and Belmont University in Nashville, Allison works as a choral accompanist and piano tutor for the Belmont University School of Music. Her choral accompanying experience includes 30 years as a church musician, 20 years working with High School choirs and theater programs, 10 years as a staff accompanist for Union University and Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, as well as accompanist for the Tennessee Music Educators All-State Choir Program for ten years. Outside of music, Allison enjoys being a wife to her husband John, and a mother and grandmother to their 6 children and 3 grandchildren. The Sharps reside in Nashville.
James Wells has served as a co-conductor of the Touring Choir since 2010. In a full-time role, Mr. Wells serves as the Director of Choral Ministries at Brentwood United Methodist Church. He oversees all the music and arts activities for students and adults and personally directs the choirs for middle school through adults. From 1995-2005, Mr. Wells was the music, choral, and drama teacher at Freedom Intermediate School (grades 5 and 6) in Franklin, Tennessee. Mr. Wells grew up in Murfreesboro, and studied with Dr. Madeline Bridges (recently retired NCC program director) while attending both MTSU and Belmont University for his music education. In recent years, he has traveled throughout the Southeast teaching and conducting children and youth choirs for organizations, churches, and school festivals. James and his wife Amy celebrated 25 years of marriage in 2019 and have two adult daughters who both spent time in NCC.
Roberta Rodgers, a native of Franklin, TN, directs the Concert Choir. She attended Birmingham–Southern University receiving an undergraduate degree in Music Education. In 1990, she graduated from Belmont University with a master’s degree, also in Music Education.
Ms. Rodgers has directed numerous regional community children’s choirs as well as serving as the Children’s Choir Clinician at Lake Junaluska, camp Quarternote, and other choral camps in the southeastern United States.
Roberta taught K- 8th grade music classes in both public and private schools for 32 years. In March of 2017, she was a recipient of the “Music Teacher of Excellence” by the Country Music Association. She recently retired from classroom music teaching in May of 2018. Roberta also taught adjunct classes as a college instructor at Belmont University for 12 years while teaching classroom music full-time.
Ms. Rodgers has been a director in both the Preparatory and Concert Choirs of Nashville Children’s choir for 27 years. Of all her experiences, Roberta Rodgers feels that her work with NCC is some of the most fulfilling opportunities she has experienced.
Wydell Croom serves as assistant director for the Concert Choir. Originally from Memphis, Wydell obtained a Bachelors degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. While there, he accompanied the Howard Gospel Choir and composed a song for their 25th Anniversary Live Recording in1994. He also worked with several church choirs and artists in the Washington Metropolitan area. He eventually left for Boston and studied at the Berklee College of Music, where he graduated Cum Laude. He has accompanied and arranged for choirs in Northern Germany, Paris, and the Philippines. Wydell has taught music in Williamson County Schools the last 5 years, while also working as a professional pianist/organist, producer, and composer on projects for others and himself. He released his first CD in 2002. His latest CD is entitled “Second Wind”. He and his wife, Jacqueline, are the proud parents of one daughter.
Accompanist for the Concert Choir, is thrilled to be a part of NCC for another season. She is also a full-time vocal accompanist at Belmont University.
Kyle Hankins currently serves as accompanist for the Touring Choir. Kyle is a 1990 graduate of Belmont University with a major in Theory and Composition. After graduation, Kyle went on the road playing keyboards with country artist Lacy J. Dalton for five years returning to become a full time dad helping to raise three children (Madeline, Nicholas and Jonathan). Kyle frequently works with area high schools and theater companies as musical director/pianist for productions. Kyle is the worship leader at First Baptist in Madison, artist/musical editor for PianoDisc, independent session musician and the organist for the Nashville Predators a.k.a. “Krazy Kyle”. Kyle, his wife Paula and three kids live in East Nashville.
Julie Lankford serves as the NCC Administrative Assistant. Mrs. Lankford has served as a Children’s Choir director at First Baptist Church in Nashville for 20 years. An Early Childhood Specialist with a degree in Education from Baylor University, she taught for Metro Nashville Public Schools for ten years before taking time off to parent full-time and homeschool her children. Both of her children have participated in all the NCC choirs.
Susan Hearn serves as fund raising coordinator for NCC. She has a degree in Music Education from Belmont University. Over the years she has taught preschool and younger children’s choirs at church. She enjoys teaching music at her homeschool co-op and directing the music for their annual musicals. Having been involved with NCC since 1997, it has been a privilege to watch all 7 of her children work their way through the program!
Beth Eads serves as health and safety coordinator for NCC.
Program Director/Touring Choir Co-Conductor from 1990-2019.
Madeline Bridges served as NCC Program Director and Touring Choir Co-Conductor from 1990-2019. Dr Bridges is Professor of Music Education in the School of Music at Belmont University, teaching in the area of Music Education. She served as School of Music Associate Dean for fifteen years.
Madeline received her doctorate in music education from the University of Alabama, M.M. Ed. from George Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, and B.M. in Piano Performance from Shorter College in Rome, GA. She has taught music and music education in classrooms from kindergarten through the graduate level.
Having recently retired from serving for almost three decades as project director of the Tennessee Arts Academy, a summer professional development week for K-12 arts teachers, Madeline is also past-president of Tennessee Music Education Association and past-president of the National Board of Directors of Choristers Guild. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tennessee chapter of American Choral Directors Association and was elected to membership in Tennessee Music Education Association Hall of Fame. She continues to be a frequent guest conductor and presenter through the United States.
Dr. Bridges has served as children’s choir director in churches of various denominations including Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian. Madeline, with Michael Hawn, designed, implemented, and was a founding faculty member of the Choristers Guild Institute. She authored/complied several pedagogical books for children’s choir leaders and elementary music teachers, including How to Lead Children’s Choirs (Convention Press), Sing Together, Children! (Choristers Guild), and (with John Feierabend) Book of Church Songs and Spirituals (GIA Press).