Chair of the Art Department
Zac Buser has the privilege of interacting daily with artists and seeks the goal of developing their conceptual, technical, and spiritual maturity at NGU. Buser studied both ceramics and music theory at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, S.C. He received a bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston in studio art and classical guitar performance and his Master of Fine Arts from Clemson University. Buser's works are held in collections in both Europe and the United States.
Hayley Douglas teaches graphic art and ceramics at NGU. She received her Bachelor of Arts in studio art, with a focus on graphic design, at Francis Marion University. Douglas attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina (USC) and received her Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in ceramics. She has previously taught at USC and Anderson University. She has also exhibited at Francis Marion University, USC, Limestone College, and the Spartanburg Art Museum, as well as in other exhibitions along the East Coast.
Blake Smith received his bachelor's degree in visual art from Lander University and his master's from Clemson University with an emphasis in photography. His work has appeared in B&W Magazine and TOWN Magazine, and it's included in public and private collections. Smith is also a member of the ArtBomb Studios, a cooperative art studio in Greenville, S.C.
Cline School of Music
Dr. Jackie Griffin
Dean of the College of Fine Arts
Chair of the Cline School of Music
Jackie Griffin serves as dean of the College of Fine Arts, chair of the Music Department, and a professor of music at NGU. She holds her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of South Carolina and her Bachelor and Master of Music in organ performance. Griffin has served various churches in the area as organist and choir director, and she has been a featured recitalist throughout the region. She enjoys traveling with her husband, visiting her son in Chicago, and composing music.
Phone: (864) 977-7081
Office Location: FAC 133
Dr. Barry Combs
Professor, Coordinator of Church Music - Concert Choir
Barry Combs serves as director of choral activities and church music program coordinator for the Music Department at NGU. He holds a degree in music education from Georgetown College; a master's degree in music education from the University of Louisville; and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before teaching at NGU, Combs taught music in the Jefferson County Public Schools system and Southern Seminary. He also served as a minister of music in churches in Kentucky, Illinois, and South Carolina. Combs is active in the American Choral Directors Association, the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, and several other music-related associations.
Phone: (864) 977-7082
Office Location: FAC 123
Dr. Brent Coppenbarger
Brent Coppenbarger serves as professor of woodwinds in the Music Department at NGU. Coppenbarger earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Music degree in performance from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. He has authored two books, both published by Rowman & Littlefield. He is married to the author Sonja Condit and has two children.
Phone: (864) 977-7089
Office Location: FAC 121
Associate Professor, Director - Music Education
David Cudd serves as the director of music education at NGU. He received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Furman University, a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Doctor of Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Cudd completed a 28-year career as an instructor in the public school system. He has also maintained a 30-plus-year history as a visual designer, consultant, and adjudicator in the Marching Arts. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, being outdoors, and spending time with his family.
Phone: (864) 977-7503
Office Location: FAC 171
Dr. Christopher Davis
Associate Professor, Percussion
Christopher Davis serves as associate professor of percussion at NGU, where he teaches applied percussion and directs the NGU Percussion Ensemble and the NGU Marching Crusaders Drumline. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Arts degree in percussion performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Music degree in music performance from Capital University. Davis and his wife Jennifer have three children and attend Grace Church.
Phone: (864) 977-7176
Office Location: M1
Dr. Cheryl Greene
Professor, Coordinator, Voice
Cheryl Greene serves as the coordinator of the voice program at NGU. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in sacred music and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Bob Jones University. Her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance was completed at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She is also a certified teacher in Somatic Voicework The LoVetri Method. Greene lives in Taylors with her "diva dog" — a shih-tzu named Yum Yum — and enjoys knitting and working in the yard.
Phone: (864) 977-7262
Office Location: FAC 124
Assistant Professor of Voice
Seth Killen serves as an assistant professor of voice at
NGU. He joined the NGU faculty in Fall 2014.
Previously, he served on the faculties of Transylvania University and
Eastern Illinois University. He holds a Master of Music in voice performance
and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a
Doctorate of Musical Arts with a cognate in voice pedagogy from the University
of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He was the recipient of several
awards recognizing singing and scholastic achievement, including the Dorothy E.
Bowen Award at the University of Illinois, the Emilie M. Dieterle Voice
Scholarship at CCM, and two awards from the National Society of Arts and
Letters. Killen enjoys performing in recitals, concerts, opera, and musical
theatre. As a Corbett Young Artist with the Cincinnati Opera, he was a member
of the main stage opera chorus for three seasons. He has performed leading
roles in “La Bohéme,” “L’heure Espagnole,” “The Scarecrow,” and “Ariadne auf
Naxos.” Killen lives in Taylors with his wife and two daughters.
Phone: (864) 977-7084
Stephen Griner serves in the Music Department at NGU as Collaborative Pianist. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in piano performance from Bob Jones University. After graduating, Griner took four years of further study with Marta Mihich. Griner has been music director for the South Carolina Children's Theatre mainstage productions since 2008, and he has performed with Centre Stage in Greenville and at the Peace Center. Griner is an elder and the music director at Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church in Greer. He enjoys writing and arranging music, and has seen his work published and recorded. He runs a private studio from home.
Phone: (864) 977-2196
Office Location: Room 112
Professor, Coordinator, Keyboard
Fabio Parrini serves as coordinator of the keyboard program and professor of music at NGU. He received his Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma from Boston University and his Piano Diploma from the Conservatory of Padua, Italy. A Steinway Artist, he has released five albums, worked with the Philadelphia International Music Festival and the chamber group Pan Harmonia, and taught master classes across the U.S. As a hobby, Parrini enjoys recording performances by his wife Sherry and their kids Maria and Sam, all musicians as well.
Phone: (864) 977-2196
Office Location: FAC 119
Dr. Darian Washington
Associate Professor, Brass, Concert Band
Darian Washington serves as the director of the concert band, associate professor of horn, and brass coordinator at NGU. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park; Master of Music from the University of Georgia; and bachelor's degree in music education from Augusta State University. Washington is a freelancer in the greater Greenville area, playing with the Greenville Symphony, Hendersonville Symphony, GMAC orchestra, and Spartanburg Philharmonic. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons.
Phone: (864) 977-2197
Office Location: M9
Dr. Michael Weaver
Associate Professor, Coordinator - String, Orchestra
Michael Weaver serves as the director of orchestral activities and string program coordinator at NGU. He received his Doctor of Music degree from the Florida State University in viola performance. He also holds a Master of Music degree in viola performance and suzuki pedagogy, and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education, from East Carolina University. Before teaching at NGU, Weaver worked as the orchestra director and taught strings at Elizabeth City State University. In his spare time, Weaver serves as a group leader in Bible Study Fellowship and enjoys camping, kayaking, and fishing with his wife Cathy.
Phone: (864) 977-7994
Office Location: FAC 108
Director of Athletic Bands, Recruiter
Phil McIntyre serves as director of athletic bands at NGU. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in education from Furman University. McIntyre taught at Blue Ridge High School and then James F. Byrnes High School as director of bands for 30 years. McIntyre and his wife Wanda have been married since 1975 and have two daughters that are both middle school band directors.
Phone: (864) 663-1280
Office Location: FAC 108
Cline School of Music Adjunct
Luke Browder serves as an instructor of contemporary worship arts and leadership at NGU, where he teaches applied voice, class voice, and worship arts classes. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Furman University and a master's from Converse College. Browder has taught voice in the Lawson Academy at Converse College and at Clemson University, and he is currently the director of music at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Greenville. Browder performs regularly in opera and musical theatre productions in the South Carolina Upstate.
Dr. Tom Burns
Adjunct, Church Music
Tom Burns serves as an adjunct professor in the church music program at NGU. He holds a master's degree in church music and a doctorate in worship studies from The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Having served as a church musician at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer for more than 25 years, Burns enjoys working with wood and doing building projects, as well as spending time at his Lyman Lake retreat.
Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin serves as a piano instructor at NGU. She holds a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the National Institute of Arts in Taiwan and two master's degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano from The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). She was appointed staff accompanist at CIM after graduation. Currently, she serves as principal pianist for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist for the Greenville Chinese Christian Church. She loves to read the Bible and go hiking with her husband. They have two kids.
Tony Christopher teaches drum set for the Music Department. He also teaches privately at Eastside Guitars and Drums in Greenville. Christopher has instructed various drumlines in and around the Greenville, S.C., area for 10 years. He performs weekly as a member of the Horizon Church praise and worship team. In addition to playing and doing recording sessions locally, he has played in England and Panama. He is a graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, earning a certification in live/studio performance.
Sonja Coppenbarger serves as an adjunct instructor of bassoon for the Music Department at NGU. She holds a master's degree in music performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing degree from Converse College. Coppenbarger is a former principal bassoonist with the Greenville Symphony and a published author under the name of Sonja Condit. She is married and has two children.
Adjunct, CWAL Coordinator
Mark Eshenbaugh serves as the program coordinator and instructor of contemporary worship arts and leadership at NGU, and also as an instructor of guitar. Eshenbaugh earned his bachelor's degree from NGU and his Master of Music from Converse College. He is a versatile performer, conductor, director, and band leader in a wide variety of musical endeavors, from rock and jazz to musical theatre and opera. In addition to his work as a studio bassist and guitarist, he is also a classical and musical theater singer. Eshenbaugh also enjoys songwriting and arranging. He has been an active worship leader at Vineyard Church of Greenville and Brushy Creek Baptist Church in Taylors, and he has actively performed as a contemporary church musician for more than 20 years. He lives in Taylors with his wife and three girls.
Dr. Jo Ann GarrettAdjunct, Music Education
Jo Ann Garrett serves as an instructor for the Master of Education and Master of Arts in Teaching programs at NGU, as well as in the Music Department. She earned her bachelor's degree in music education from Carson-Newman College, her master's degree from Columbia College, and her doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University. Garrett has experience in developing music programs in public and private education, and she has served a variety of churches as musical director, developing children's choirs and choir programs, as well as working with youth and adult choirs, teaching piano, and working with hand bell groups.
Brian Gencarelli serves as adjunct professor of double bass at NGU. He received his bachelor's in music education from the University of South Carolina and his Master of Music in double bass performance from the University of Georgia. Gencarelli teaches orchestra full-time in the Greenville County Schools at Mauldin Middle and Mauldin High School. He is currently principal double bass of the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra in Anderson, S.C.; assistant principal double bass of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra; and a player in the Greenville Symphony. He owns Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments LLC of Fountain Inn.
Craig King serves in the Music Department at NGU. He holds degrees in trumpet performance from Furman University and
Yale University School of Music. He performs with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, GAMAC Orchestra, Spartanburg
Philharmonic Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, Greenville Jazz Collective Big Band, and the Greenville Brass
Quintet, and he is a founding member of the West End Brass Quintet and the Reedy River Brass Trio. King has performed
at New York City's Lincoln Center, with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He also
serves on the faculty at Converse College. He spends his spare time as a portrait artist and coffee roaster.
Dr. Brenda Leonard
Brenda Leonard teaches cello at NGU and as a private studio teacher. She performs regularly with the cello duo Cello Times Two and as principal cellist of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Leonard received her Doctor of Musical Arts in cello performance from the University of South Carolina and her bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Illinois University. She and her husband Alan enjoy being foster parents.
Adjunct, Jazz Band
Charles Parker serves as an adjunct professor in the Music Department at NGU. He holds a bachelor's degree from Newberry College and a master's degree from the University of South Carolina. Parker has served as director of bands at Gilbert High School and J.L. Mann High School and as an adjunct professor at University of South Carolina Upstate and Clemson University. As a performer, Parker has performed with the Greenville Symphony and South Carolina Philharmonic, as well as with artists such as Roger Williams, Louie Bellson, Henry Mancini, and many others. He also directed The South Carolina National Guard Jazz Band for 20 years.
Joy Sears serves as an adjunct flute instructor in the Music Department at NGU. She earned a dual degree in music education and flute performance from the University of Akron and her master's degree in flute performance from Western Carolina, where she specialized in flute repair. Sears has performed in various orchestras and chamber groups, and she has taught in public schools. She is vice president of the South Carolina Flute Society, and she serves on the faculty of the Wildacres Flute Retreat, where she teaches flute repair. Her hobbies include training for and participating in local athletic events, playing chamber music with friends, and spending time with family.
John Sizemore serves in the Music Department at NGU. He has performed in recitals, chamber music concerts, and orchestra concerts, and he has lectured and given master classes throughout the United States, Europe, and Mexico. Sizemore has been principal tuba in the Chicago Civic Orchestra and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, as well as in orchestras in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. He has also performed extensively as a member of the Midwest Brass Quintet in Chicago and the Southwest Brass Quintet in Phoenix. He is currently principal tuba in the Asheville Symphony. John holds a bachelor's in music from the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Greg Sundt has served with the Music Department at NGU since 2007. He holds degrees from Wayne State University and Ohio State University. He has taught privately for over 40 years and served previously on the faculty of Hillsdale College, where he taught brass lessons and brass methods and conducted the college brass and wind ensembles. He has conducted choirs and orchestras in churches and business conferences and has performed in ensembles, including the Upstate Brass Quintet and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Sundt lives in Greer, S.C., with his wife Marcia and their children.
Leslie Taylor Warlick
Leslie Taylor Warlick serves as an adjunct professor in NGU's Music Department. She holds performance degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Florida State University. Her professional credits include the New World Symphony in Miami and the Naples Philharmonic. She has also previously taught at Florida International University, Erskine College, Delta State University, and University of Tennessee. Warlick also currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Clemson University, where she teaches violin. She resides in Seneca, S.C., with her husband David and her two children Emma Katherine and Charles Nathaniel.
Amy Dunlap, assistant professor, serves as the chair of the Theatre Department at NGU. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from Regent University. At NGU, she teaches acting, camera acting, voice, movement, dance, playwriting, and auditioning. Favorite acting credits include Saltworks Theatre Company, Naples Arts Festival, and Virginia Shakespeare Festival. She also previously worked in Virginia as a talent agent and casting director. Dunlap is a married mother of three active teenagers and an avid reader.
Dale Savidge serves as a professor of theatre at NGU, teaching courses in applied theatre, theatre history, theatre theory and criticism, and directing. In addition to teaching, he regularly directs shows in the NGU season. Savidge founded and continues to direct Christians in Theatre Arts and the Applied Theatre Center. He is the co-author of Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue. In his spare time, he enjoys leading drama therapy groups for at-risk youth.
Genesis Garza serves as an assistant professor of design at NGU. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Michigan State University in theatre, with an emphasis in lighting and scenic and video design. Garza stays active as a professional designer in the theatre community, designing for professional theatres and organizations such as The Warehouse Theatre, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Take 6, Williamston Theatre, The Performance Network, Peppermint Creek Theatre Company, and other major universities. Before moving to South Carolina, he served as assistant professor of theatre and head of design and theatre technology at Saginaw Valley State University. Garza enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and using his "sci-fi geekdom" to connect with people in the community.
Cyndi Lohrmann serves as an assistant professor of theatre costume design at NGU. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Clothing and Textiles, and Master of Fine Arts in theatre from Western Illinois University with an emphasis in costume design. Before moving to South Carolina, she was the costume shop manager, taught stagecraft and costume design at Western Illinois University. She has designed professionally for Max and Louie Productions in St. Louis. Her love of sewing extends beyond making costumes; she enjoys sewing dolls and their clothing, soft sculpture, piecing quilts., and making a garment or two.