The Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School are comprised of the Stewarts Creek Chorale (advanced mixed ensemble), Athena Treble and Bel Canto (honor's women's chorale), Giovani Voci (freshmen women's chorus), and Meistersingers (men's chorus). The choirs perform five yearly concerts, at adjudicated events, in the school and community, and co-produce two yearly musicals with the RedHawk Theater. Choirs perform music of all styles and time periods, from classical to musical theater classics.
The high school choirs are joined every other year by the Stewarts Creek Choral Union, a community ensemble of adults who enjoy singing major works with orchestra alongside the Stewarts Creek Choirs. On alternating years, the Stewarts Creek Opera2Go takes a Spring tour to local elementary schools, performing a short children's opera for nearly 5,000 students.
Choir students have the opportunity to participate in many special opportunities, such as the Freshmen Honor Choir and Mid-State Honor Choir, the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, the ACDA National and Southeast Honor Choirs, and the Tennessee All-State Choir.
Dr. Susan Kelly, Director of Choirs
Susan Kelly is Director of Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School, where she conducts five choirs, music directs the campus musicals and operas, and co-teaches MixTape 101. She joined the faculty of Stewarts Creek in 2020.
Dr. Brian T. Russell, Director of Choirs
Brian Russell is Director of Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School, where he conducts five choirs, teaches Dual Enrollment Music Theory, music directs the campus musicals and operas, co-teaches MixTape 101, and is Fine Arts Department Chair. Dr. Russell founded the Choral Program when Stewarts Creek opened in Spring 2013.
Prior to coming to Stewarts Creek, Dr. Kelly served as an Assistant Professor of Music/Choral Director at Tennessee State University where she directed the University Choir and Meistersingers, taught classes in Music Education and Conducting, and taught Applied Voice. She currently serves as an associate conductor for Vox Grata Women’s Choir and as a soprano section leader at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Dr. Kelly is also in demand as a guest conductor, having recently conducted the KY-ACDA All-State Middle-School Choir, as well as choirs in Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia. Additionally, she has sung soprano with the Tennessee Chamber Chorus, a professional choir based in eastern Tennessee and The Cecilia Ensemble, based in Augusta, Georgia.
Before coming to Tennessee, Dr. Kelly taught at Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania and Mid Valley Secondary Center in Throop, Pennsylvania. She also served as director of the Cantare Choir of The Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania, a community high-school women's ensemble that performed at both state ACDA and PMEA conferences, as the Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, and as a soprano with The Lyric Consort, an eight-voice vocal ensemble.
Susan holds undergraduate degrees in Music Education and English Education from Wilkes University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Temple University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina. Prior to her move to Tennessee, Susan was active in both PMEA, in which she served as Choral Coordinator of District 9, and ACDA, in which she served as President-Elect Designate of PA-ACDA. Currently she is serving as the President of TN-ACDA.
B.M., Music and English Education, Wilkes University
M.M., Vocal Performance and Conducting, Temple University
D.M.A., Conducting, University of South Carolina
A native of Nashville, Dr. Russell holds his Bachelor of Music degree from Middle Tennessee State University where he studied trombone, piano, violin, and voice. His concentration quickly moved to conducting, which led him to receive his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. While at Eastman, he won the coveted Walter Hagan Conducting Prize and the Julius Herford Prize, awarded for outstanding research in his dissertation on the music of G. P. Telemann.
Before returning to Murfreesboro in 2012, Dr. Russell was Assistant Professor of Music at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY), where he conducted vocal and instrumental ensembles, taught conducting and courses in secondary instrumental and vocal methods. He has also taught middle and high school instrumental and vocal music at five different schools and Rutherford and Sumner counties.
Dr. Russell is the Executive Music Director of Murfreesboro’s Ethos Youth Ensembles, where he conducts the Ethos Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Symphony and oversees a comprehensive youth ensemble program including four orchestras and a jazz ensemble. Dr. Russell is also Director of Music at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Franklin and is High School Repertoire and Resources Chair for the Tennessee Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Russell lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Patience, and three children, Cadence, Chase, and Constance.
B.M., Music Education, Middle Tennessee State University
M.M., Conducting, Eastman School of Music
D.M.A., Conducting, Eastman School of Music
Soprano Stephanie Jones is currently a voice teacher in the community as well as an adjunct professor at the School of Music, Middle Tennessee State University. Her students have been accepted to The Governor’s School of the Arts, Mid-State and All State honor choirs, and University Music and Theatre programs. Stephanie’s students can be seen at Dollywood, featured on “Today in Nashville”, and heard on live radio.
B.A. Voice Performance, University of West Florida
M.A.T. Choral/General Music Education, Indiana University
Tenor Derek Meler is an accomplished singer and voice teacher who resides in Nashville. Derek grew up singing gospel music and eventually began performing musical theater and opera. He has performed with Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony, Tennessee Chamber Chorus, Seagle Music Colony and numerous other ensembles. He has performed in three world premier operas and numerous choral and solo composition premiers. Derek loves teaching and sharing his knowledge of music and performance with others. He is excited to be teaching voice at Stewarts Creek High School and helping students realize their potential.
B.M. Vocal Performance, Middle Tennessee State University