The mission of Prestonwood Christian Academy’s vocal music program is to expose every child to multiple aspects of music, to enrich the PCA Community with a healthy and vibrant artistic culture, and to glorify God as we strive for excellence in the development of the musical gifts He has given.
As children enter the vocal music program in the Lower School, the goal is for them to have fun and enjoy their time in music class. Students are exposed to foundational concepts such as rhythm, beat, solfege, and simple choral techniques. Ultimately, we want to instill a love for music in each child. Students are given opportunities to perform at events like the an anual First Grade production of “The Easter Miracle,” the Second Grade production of “Let George Do It,” and the Third Grade Christmas chapel.
Starting in Fourth Grade, PCA students have the opportunity to audition for and be a part of PCA’s elite Honor Choir. This choir is comprised of students in Fourth through Sixth Grade, and gives annual Christmas and spring performances at PCA choir concerts, as well as community and festival performances throughout the school year. This group rehearses on a weekly basis and is exposed to a variety of repertoire. The Honor Choir has a strong presence within the PCA community and an on-going tradition of excellence.
In Middle School, students spend one semester in choir class and one semester in visual arts class. From Seventh Grade on, students are given the option to participate in choir as a year-long course based on teacher recommendation. Vocal music in Middle School becomes more advanced focusing on sight-reading, rhythmic dictation, Western Music History, 3-part repertoire, and choral technique. Students are given many opportunities to grow as choral members by participating in various performances throughout the year including Christmas and Spring concerts as well as TPSMEA and ACSI Choral festivals.
In Upper School, the focus is primarily on performance skills with repertoire becoming more advanced. Students are given many opportunities to perform and sharpen their skills. Students sing in chapel band, lead in All-School worship services, participate in musicals, audition for All-State choir, and sing solos in class and at special events throughout the school. The Upper School choir gives annual Christmas and spring concerts as well as performing in local festival and community concerts. Students continue to learn more advanced theory concepts as well as vocal and choral techniques. Students may also take choir for Honors credit, giving them the chance to earn a higher GPA. Honors students are required to audition for All-State, sing solos in class, complete more complicated theory work, and complete written critiques of choral performances.
PCA Vocal Music Faculty
Joel T. Rutherford, Director of Fine Arts
Ninth-Twelfth Grade, Music Department Head
Joel T. Rutherford was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He completed degrees in Vocal Performance, Opera, and Music Education before moving to Toronto to work in musical theatre. Following a short stint in Toronto, he was recruited to sing bass for the International Award-winning, and Dallas-based vocal quartet, ACOUSTIX. Joel relocated to Dallas in June, 1997 and, since joining ACOUSTIX, has performed for audiences in over 40 states, 5 provinces, and seven countries around the world. ACOUSTIX has released 3 CD’s since Joel joined them in 1997. Joel is active in the Dallas area as a session singer and continues to perform throughout the country with ACOUSTIX on a regular basis. Joel joined the faculty of PCA in 2001 teaching vocal music for grades 3-12 and leading music in chapel services. He became the Director of Fine Arts in 2004, and continues to teach the high school choir class as well as directing the PCA Honor Choir and leading music for multiple chapel services weekly. In addition to teaching and administrative duties, Joel has served as musical director for PCA productions of The Music Man, Bye Bye Birdie, Godspell, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women: The Musical, 42nd Street, Into The Woods, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Joel and his beautiful wife, Heather, reside in The Colony with their two children; Joshua and Grace.
Fifth-Eighth Grade, Fine Arts Assistant
Lisa Apple was born and raised in Texas and, upon high school graduation, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration and Music Minor at Belmont University in 2002. Ms. Apple has had extensive performing experience, working at several professional and local theatre venues during college, in addition to singing with various cover bands since her return to Dallas in 2004. Ms. Apple has performed in many locations throughout the Dallas area, including Dallas’ own House of Blues. In 2006, she was featured as a top sixteen finalist in the first season of Gospel Music Channel’s “Gospel Dream”. In 2008, she served as Musical Director for Repertory Company Theatre’s “Songs for a New World”. She has also performed at the SXSW music festival – a well-established singer/songwriter festival held annually in Austin, TX. In addition to being an active songwriter and performer, she served in the children’s worship ministry at her church. Ms. Apple has studied voice classically and on a commercial level, both as a soloist and as a choral member. With the assistance and partnership of Tom McKinney, she led vocal workshops and hosted recitals for her private students in the Dallas area for the past seven years. Ms. Apple is in her sixth year as Middle School Choir Director at PCA and also serves as PCA’s Fine Arts Assistant. Lisa lives in Dallas and enjoys songwriting and spending time with her family.
Second-Fifth Grade, Accompanist
Born and raised in a small town in East Texas, Jennifer Young attributes her love of music to her amazing piano teachers. She received her Bachelors and Masters of Music with an emphasis in Piano performance and Pedagogy from East Texas State University where she was a member of Kappa Delta and Tau Beta Sigma Sororities. While there on a full music and academic scholarship she received the award of Outstanding Musician two times and was inducted into the Alpha Chi honor society. She has taught private piano for over twenty years and accompanied professionally. Shortly after college, Jennifer felt called by the Lord to teach music in schools and has taught in private Christian schools ever since as well as directed children’s choirs and played piano in church. Jennifer met and married her husband, Roger- also a music major, in college. They have two wonderful boys that keep them extremely busy.
Nancy Williams came to PCA in 1997 from the Dallas Independent School District where she taught elementary music at Stonewall Elementary and intermediate music at Robert T. Hill, Thomas C. Marsh, and Ewell D. Walker Middle Schools. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of North Texas. Soon after graduating, she was hired to teach elementary music at the American Schools Clark Air Base in the Philippines. She nearly took the opportunity until her future husband, Larry, made her an offer she couldn't refuse. She has done post-graduate work in the areas of elementary and early childhood music education through several North Texas universities, as well as played Flute in the Prestonwood Baptist Church and First Baptist Church Dallas orchestra. She enjoys spending time with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, and she and her husband Larry reside in Richardson.