School of Worship Arts
To enable students to lead or participate in worship to the best of their musical ability by providing excellent teachers giving group or private lessons in a God honoring environment.
For further information, email Jo Fannin, the SOWA Administrator or call the SOWA office at 210-540-7372.
The School of Worship Arts offers lessons in most instruments as well as voice and sign language to students 5 years and up. Our lessons are available in both private or group settings and can be taught on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 10am to 8pm, depending on teacher availability.
30 minute lessons – $25
45 minute lessons – $37.50
60 minute lessons – $50
There is a $30 per semester registration fee.
The cost for group lessons are dependent on the length of the class and other contributing factors.
SCHOOL OF WORSHIP ARTS INSTRUCTORS
Christina Branz holds a Bachelor of Music with a focus in Musical Theatre from Oklahoma City University. She has been coaching since 1998 using proper vocal technique to train vocalists in classical music, contemporary music, and musical theatre with attention to creating style, artistry, improvisation, developing vocal range, memorable performance skills and dynamic presentation technique. Early in her career she performed with the Oklahoma City Opera and Musical Theatre company as well as the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in various operas and musicals. Locally, she performed as Pitti Sing in the San Antonio Symphony’s YPCS presentation of The Micado, was nominated for an ATAC Globe Award for her role as Anita in West Side Story ,and won an ATAC Globe Award for Best Supporting actress in a musical for her role as Maggie in 42nd Street. She has professional experience as a worship leader, lead vocalist, and worship team vocal coach for Cornerstone Church, Harvest FCC and Friendship Church here in San Antonio. In addition to her live performance work, she has also enjoyed recording 3 albums as an independent recording artist. In the dance world, she was classically trained in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical dancing, competed through high school, taught and took professional level classes as a young adult, danced in several musical theatre shows, and lead a dance ministry for 5 years at Harvest Fellowship Community Church. She has a passion for training others to use their gifts to glorify God with excellence and worshiping with creative expression while fully recognizing apart from Him we can do no good thing.
Ken (Mr. C) CarnathaN
French Horn/Trumpet – beginner to advance
Trombone – beginner
Piano – beginner to intermediate
Worship Keyboard – beginner to advanced
Ken loves Christ with all his mind, heart, and soul, and wants to share in the joys of music with anyone willing and wanting to bless Jesus from the song in their hearts. Starting piano at age 6, Ken – also known in this area as “Mr. C” – has been an active musician for over 50 years. Mr. C is a 1994 graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Christian Education with concentrations in French horn performance, education, and church administration. He has been in ministry since 1986, is licensed and ordained, and has worked with many churches and worship leaders throughout several states and Canada. He helped plant and co-pastor a new church in the area specifically oriented towards the unchurched biker community, and also had a wonderful 18+ year career as a choral teacher at Wilder Intermediate School in Schertz. During that time, he also worked with junior and senior high students as an assistant band director, and had a private studio with 40 students being tutored weekly in brass, vocal coaching, and piano. Ken also was an all-state musician in Maryland and Mississippi, is a writer/arranger, and he has played in many musical venues throughout his career, loving classic rock, Americana, country and – most of all – contemporary Christian music. Mr. C is actively involved in the biker community in South Central Texas serving Christ and helping others meet and receive Christ – showing that regardless of what has happened in life – through Our Friend – unconditionally – we are treasured. As we share and live out our testimony through our lives, and as we lift our hands and hearts in worship and honor and praise our loving God, the message that we need to share through word and song is a message of love – God’s saving love through Jesus – and that from Abba’s heart — love comes down!
Hi! My name is Aaron and I teach guitar and bass. I have a passion and calling for playing worship music. I’ve been playing guitar for over 10 years and I love learning more and teaching it. I currently serve at my local church and play guitar for a worship band called Portraits Music. My heart for teaching at SOWA is to see the next generation of worship leaders rise up and flourish in the gifts that God has given them!
Nadine Chadwell is a professional musician, teacher, and missionary. She has performed with three symphonies in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. She teaches violin, viola, cello, and bass in private lessons. Her tutoring style for all ages incorporates various genres such as classical, contemporary, and worship. Many opportunities have opened up for her to honor the Lord with her passion for music and ministry. She currently instructs strings for the Homeschool Orchestras of South Texas and for the Cornerstone Music Conservatory Academy. For ten years, she played violin in the Community Bible Church orchestra and held string classes every semester for the CBC Fine Arts School. She founded Vitas Strings in partnering with Vitas Healthcare Volunteer Department, where she enables string students to use their gifts for nursing home patients and hospice care clients. Nadine travels the world as a missionary musician with Global Missions Project, participating in the Celebration Orchestra, led by Camp Kirkland. The orchestra shares the gospel of Jesus Christ through their music and testimonies, while encouraging missionaries, pastors, and their congregations. Her driving purpose flows in teaching others how to serve God with excellence in musical skills and compassion.
Hello my name is Ashley Hepburn. I am so excited to be able to teach you guitar and to help in the process of raising up future worship leaders. I grew up at FBCUC and graduated from the academy in 2013. After I graduated I went to the University of the Incarnate Word to study music therapy. A music therapist uses music to help people reach non musical goals (communication, emotional expression, motor skills, and so much more). I have always had a passion for music. As soon as I could join the school band I joined and played the clarinet. It was not too long after that, I found my true love, the bass clarinet. I learned to play guitar in college and I use it on a daily basis for work. I love baseball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and ultimate frisbee. I am also a huge fan of Disney. My husband and I got married in 2019 and we have the most adorable Silver lab. I am so glad that you have decided to learn an instrument it will help you in so many different areas in your life. Thank you for trusting me to teach you.
Drums / Percussion
My name is Stephen Hepburn and I have gone to First Baptist Church of Universal City since I was six years old and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was nine years old. I have had a passion for worship music for a long time, specifically drums. I am currently the drummer for the contemporary worship service as well as a worship leader/mentor for the middle school ministry. I have played drums since fifth grade and God has really blessed me with opportunities to be able to play and worship him.
David Hightower has been a Minister of Music in Southern Baptist churches for over 35 years. He holds degrees in Music from Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary. David has served churches in Texas, Alabama and North Carolina. He is an active member of The CenturyMen, a 150 voice Grammy and Dove Award nominated men’s chorus of ministers of music from across the country that tours both the United States and internationally. He is married to Debbie Hightower, an Elementary Music Specialist with the Northside ISD. They have a married daughter, Lauren Emerson, who is a journalist in Victoria, and a son, Ryan. David enjoys several hobbies, but only one passion: to help believers glorify our God through the wonderful gift of music. He is competent with many instruments, and is available for private instructions in voice, piano, saxophone (flute and clarinet), beginning guitar and other instruments.
Hailing from Colorado Springs, CO, and starting his drumming journey at just 14 years old, Patrick Madsen has been professionally playing and performing live on the drum kit for 17 years, with no signs of stopping!
By 15 years old, Madsen began filling-in the drum kit for regional-performing rock bands. He received a taste of the commercial music industry through the thrill of performing live, and has now solidified a career in it ever since.
The now 31 year-old has toured and performed nationally and internationally for 10 years in Billboard-acclaimed acts of multiple genres. He has studio-tracked on more than 10 commercial artists’ records in both Nashville and Hollywood studios, with award-winning producers.
At age 23, Madsen gave his life to Christ. At 26, he met musician, and his now-wife, Suzahna, and after marrying in 2018, they moved to San Antonio with their cat, Morpheus.
Between touring with his wife, writing, recording, and performing music, Madsen also now dedicates himself to teaching aspiring music students ‘drum-chops galore.”
He specializes in drum technique, elements of live performance, principles of studio recording, songwriting, and band dynamics.
His favorite part of instructing is the mentorship he shares with his students, which is what he treasured so much with his own instructors as a young musician.
Aside from music, his other passions include fitness and wellness, sports, martial arts, weightlifting, and producing podcasts.
He also enjoys playing drums for worship services, improving his guitar playing and singing skills, and he loves to help others.
Aissa Martha Maese
Aissa Martha Maese is a Texas-based musician-clarinetist, violinist, and music educator- who performs in solo and collaborative projects while maintaining a private studio in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Aissa received a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance, under the instruction of Eli Eban and Howard Klug, from the Indiana University-Jacobs School of Music, where she held a graduate assistantship in administration. She received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Texas Lutheran University-School of Music, under the instruction of Dr. Sarunas Jankauskas and Paula Corley. A current and evolving passion, Aissa has studied classical clarinet with Eric Hoeprich and was a member of the Indiana University Classical Orchestra, most recently featured on a recording of the Joseph Haydn Symphony No.26 and the Franz Beck Symphony No.1. In this current season, you can find Aissa performing with the Texas-based ensembles Cinematic Symphony and the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra. Aissa loves mystery novels, the color blue, queso, sandy beaches, and Texas sunsets.
Casey McMahon has been a member of FBCUC for 19 years. Her degree is in American Sign Language Interpreting from San Antonio College. She started learning ASL in middle school with the youth group at FBCUC and then took 3 years as her foreign language credit in high school. After going away to a different college with a different goal, she decided to come back and transfer to SAC to get her foreign language credit at SAC. It was there that she learned about interpreting, switched majors and has been studying the Interpreting side of the language since 2013 at one of the top Interpreter Training Programs in the country. She is currently involved in one of the program’s clubs— Gleek Squad—which is a club whose purpose is performing songs the group has interpreted. She has also done some theatrical interpreting along with other performances put on by the club. Her goal is not only to teach ASL and Deaf Culture, but to provide a ministry opportunity for those interested in learning a new language and using it to glorify God. Her ultimate goal is to teach sign language to Deaf people in third world countries who don’t have language. She would love to start a Deaf community and help it grow, specifically in places that don’t have the resources to help Deaf people.
Naomi Grace McMahon
Soprano Naomi Grace McMahon holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor of Music from Abilene Christian University. Since earning her Master’s degree, she has been active in community theatre in Dallas and San Antonio, has taught privately for two years, and is currently on faculty at Saint Philip’s College and Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.
As a Christian musician and teacher, Naomi believes God has given every person a singing voice, and it is a gift to be invested in, much like the servants in the parable of the talents invested their gifts of money and brought them back to their master multiplied. It is Naomi’s goal to nurture her students’ voices to excellence, because singing is an offering to God, and He deserves the best we can offer.
While pursuing her degree, Naomi performed with the TCU Opera Studio as Nella in Gianni Schicchi and Zina in the Texas premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. She also sang the partial role of Susan Smith in a workshop of Zach Redler’s upcoming opera, A Song for Susan Smith. Scenes performances include Blanche (Dialogues of the Carmelites) and Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte).
In the summer of 2017, Naomi was selected to perform Sister Rose in the south Florida premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at the Miami Music Festival. In 2016, she performed with the Taos Opera Institute in scenes as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Frasquita (Carmen).
Naomi’s other operatic credits include Der Königin die Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Susannah (Susannah), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), and The Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) with the Abilene Christian University Opera.
Taylor has a passion and a flare that has lead her to play the piano all her life. She is competent in all aspects of music including theory, notation, and has a firm grasp of multiple genres, including jazz, classical, worship, and improvisation. But, most importantly, she understands the importance of balancing technique, mechanics, and soul. Taylor also teaches at a local Music School, and believes in engaging and interactive teaching! She loves the Lord and hopes to influence everyone around her with His amazing and incomprehensible love. She hopes to guide her students into their dreams in a fun and Jesus-like manner! “When they’re having fun, they don’t even realize they’re learning!”