Back to All Events

NACM Convention 2018

  • Grace First Presbyterian Church 3955 N. Studebaker Rd Long Beach CA 90808 United States (map)

80th Annual

July 9-11, 2018
Grace First Presbyterian Church • Long Beach, CA

If you prefer to register through mail, click the button below to download and print the PDF registration form, and send it in with your payment to NACM.


Allan Robert Petker - Headliner

Allan Robert Petker is a published composer and arranger with over 250 published works with numerous publishing houses. His conducting books, “Choral Questions and Answers” Vols. I, II, III, IV and V, have become staples in school curriculum and for secondary resource material. His crusade to offer a cure for musical illiteracy culminated in the publication of the ADVANCE learning series. As a composer for hire he has written original scores for live performance and has penned a number of original T.V. commercials which have appeared on the CNBC network. Allan holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from California State University at Northridge in music, specializing in viola (BA), voice and choral conducting (MA).

Allan has been involved in the choral music publishing industry for many years. In 1977 he became the Director of Publications for Fred Bock Music Company and subsidiaries, and is currently the Vice President of Publications. In 1989 he established his own company, Pavane Publishing, and later added John Rich Music Press to his portfolio.

As a conductor, Allan frequently serves as a guest clinician or conductor for publishers, choral societies, church festivals, state honor choirs and colleges. In the summer of 1994 he formed Consort Chorale, an ensemble of 50 auditioned voices from the San Francisco Bay area, which maintains an on-going concert series. In 2004 he became the Conductor and Artistic Director for the Santa Clarita Master Chorale, an 80-voice ensemble that performs a subscription concert season with orchestra. In September of 2015 Allan became the conductor of the Los Cancioneros Master Chorale, a 50-voice auditioned choral ensemble based in Torrance. His chorales have toured Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia and Argentina. Allan is a past President of the National Association of Church Musicians.

Since 1989 Allan has been a clinician in two summer church music conferences at Lake Tahoe, one for church choir singers, “Summer Sing” and another for church choir directors, “Tuning @ Tahoe.”

As an instrumentalist, Allan has done free-lance studio work and occasional concert playing. You may even catch him playing jazz violin and viola at a local pub, one of his favorite things to do.

Allan is married to Kimberly Ayers, and they live in San Pedro, CA. He has two grown children, Joshua and Elyce and a grandchild, Isabella.



In addition to Allan’s work with our convention choir,  he will offer valuable input on these subjects:

  • When Music Divides the Church – A Workshop on Unity
  • Who’s in Charge? - The Unique Relationship of the Conductor and Accompanist
  • Copyright is NOT a Dirty Word!


Is It a Fit or Not? An exploration of what Pastors look for and what musicians expect.
Cortlandt Bender, Associate Director of Music, Traditional Worship
Rev. Kent Meads, Professional Interim Pastor

All musicians in churches arrive at a job with certain skills. Are they enough? When you have the job, are you aware of the Pastor’s desires for the outcome of your work? When do you know that it’s time to move on? When do you know that you are doing what is expected and are on board for the long haul? 

How aware of the entire church culture are you? How do you perceive your time and the choir’s time in worship? These are just a few of the topics we will explore in the short plenary session we have together. Everyone has questions – Some are loaded with expectations of a certain answers. Some are genuinely searching for answers in their jobs. We will have time to talk together and time for questions and answers. Do we have all the answers? Probably not. Do we have a lot of experience? Between Cort and Kent – quite a bit. 


Kent Meads, a Chicago native born, left town for the West Coast in the 60s and never looked back. Both college and seminary were on the West Coast—Seattle Pacific College and Fuller Theological Seminary. After Fuller he did an internship at Church of the Roses in Santa Rosa, CA., and while serving there decided to be ordained in the PCUSA. Kent has served as Pastor to students at Menlo Park Presbyterian, as Pastor for University Presbyterian, Los Altos, CA, taught for six years at San Jose Bible College and as Interim Pastor in San Carlos, CA. He has served 7 additional congregations as an Interim Pastor over the past 22 years. He has worked with a variety of music directors with various backgrounds and experience and has learned from all of them. But, one of the greatest lessons he learned was to trust the knowledge and experience of the choir director when it came to choice of music and even liturgy. Kent is married to Jane and has two children and six grand-children and lives in Auburn, CA. 


Cortlandt Bender, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and has degrees in Music with emphasis in Voice and Conducting from Tarkio College in Missouri and California Institute of the Arts. He has done postgraduate work at Westminster Choir College, Fuller Seminary, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, The Aspen Institute and the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He studied and taught at UCLA for 7 years and has worked as a conductor, singer, actor, composer, producer, stage director and teacher. Cort has been a church musician for 50+ years and has been working as a consultant in the use of arts in worship, media, and pre-architectural design for over 30 years. He is a published composer, is a member of NACM, SAG, AEA, and NAAL and is a past president of the National Association of Church Musicians. Currently Cort is Associate Director of Music/Traditional Worship at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, CA. He and his wife, Annette have been married for 54 years and have two daughters, two grandsons and a granddaughter.



How to Appropriately Interpret Spirituals and Gospel

Dr. Diane White-Clayton, “Dr. Dee”— composer, soprano, pianist, choral conductor, workshop clinician, author, minister and speaker—is a native of Washington, DC where she began performing at the age of four. She holds a Ph.D. and MA in Music Composition from the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her Bachelor of Arts in Music with honors from the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As an Ambassador of Goodwill, she studied on a Rotary Scholarship in Paris, France, studying piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique. A highly acclaimed performer of classical, gospel and jazz, she has held positions with such institutions as Grinnell College, Appalachian State University, Westmont College, The University of California at Santa Barbara, the Washington Performing Arts Society and the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre Company. Her choral compositions have been performed across the globe and she travels extensively as a performer and conductor of workshops throughout the United States and abroad. Affectionately known as “Dr. Dee,” she has self-produced recordings and several published compositions. Diane is on staff as a Choral Conductor at the 6,000-member Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California and is the Artistic Director of the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. She is the Founder of BYTHAX, a publishing and artists’ support company, as well as a performing collective. She also works as a Vocal Clinician for Disney Performing Arts, and is a member of the faculty at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California where she resides with her husband, accomplished R&B percussionist, Joe Clayton.


The Music Ministry that FITS…and GROWS!

Stan will tell the story of his work at Grace First Presbyterian Church and the creative thinking and planning that eventually led to ministries like The Branches young adult choir and the Long Beach Youth Chorus. What about your community’s needs? How might you respond to those needs with music ministry that lives out the love of Christ?

Stan DeWitt is an acclaimed conductor, songwriter, singer, guitarist and composer. He is currently the Minister of Music for Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach. He taught at Coastline Community College, and has served on the faculties of CSULB, Long Beach City College and Cypress College. He was the Artistic Director for Zephyr: Voices Unbound, has sung with numerous small choral ensembles, including DeAngelis Vocal Ensemble and L.A. Schola, and sung throughout the United States, Italy, Ireland and Australia. His compositions cross into all realms of music, including film scores and published works for choir and handbells. He is also currently a producer with the Sound Ministry Gurus production team and Executive Director of the newly formed Long Beach Youth Chorus.


The Organist: Spirit Led or Musical Gluepot?

To be sure, every organist should pray for guidance of the Holy Spirit when approaching worship, but putting a little “musical glue” into your worship is not necessarily a bad thing. During this hour, we will discuss various service and hymn playing techniques to lead worshippers in prayer, singing and praise. Mr. Bates will also share some recently released organ and piano music to spice up your or your organist’s prelude and postlude offerings.

Peter Bates began studying piano at age 5 and organ at age 8. He earned a Master’s degree in Music, specializing in organ performance from Sacramento State University. Peter Bates joined the staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Long Beach, CA. in June 1997 and has served for over twenty years as minister of music and resident organist. Between 1984 and 1999 Mr. Bates played well over one hundred Noonday Organ Recitals, and over 500 weddings, at the historic First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, where he presided over the largest church organ in the world. He has performed as organ accompanist for various choral organizations, including over a dozen performances with the critically acclaimed Long Beach Camerata Singers and has also been a featured soloist during the Long Beach Bach Festival as well as the Long Beach Mozart Festival. Peter is a Past Dean for the Long Beach Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and currently serves as the Southern California and Greater Los Angeles Area District Convener. He is also the Director of the Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources for the American Guild of Organists national organization. Mr. Bates is a member of various professional organizations and is a past President of the National Association of Church Musicians. 


Children’s/Youth Choirs: Building for the Future!

Sandy Rosales has been the Associate Director of Music at Trinity United Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, California since June 2010. She oversees the K-8th grade choral program where about 200 children are involved weekly. Sandy directs the Caroler (grades 4-6) and Crusader Choirs (grades 7-8) and is the assistant director of the high school/young adult choir. In addition to directing, Sandy is also a member of the Chancel Choir where she is a regular soloist. She is also a member of Orange County’s professional chorus, Pacific Chorale, where she has sung since 2006. Sandy received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in Vocal Performance from California State University, Fullerton where she sang under the direction of Maestro John Alexander. She also holds her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Cross-Cultural Teaching from National University. In 2012 she completed her Certification for Directors of Young Singers in Churches and Schools (K-12) from the Choristers Guild Institute in Louisville, KY. Sandy resides in Fullerton, CA with her husband José and their one-year-old daughter, Olivia. She is honored and delighted to serve on the Board of Choristers Guild.


Our Convention Accompanist

Jason McNally is a frequently sought after performer and music educator in the Southern California area. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jason has been the organist at Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach since 2011, where he has been featured on the popular concert series, Music at the Point. He maintains an active piano studio of over fifty students at the Neighborhood Music School in Boyle Heights and privately in West Hills. Jason graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Music in 2001 with a
Bachelor’s Degree in piano as a student of Daniel Shapiro. He was a featured performer on the popular PianoFest series while a student at CIM. Jason earned his Master’s Degree in 2004 from USC as a student of Lucinda Carver and Daniel Pollack. In 2002, Jason was one of twelve pianists worldwide accepted into the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy. He is also a winner of the Matinee Musical Club of Philadelphia and Westminster Choir College Scholarship competitions. Other teachers include Dr. Samuel Hsu, Elva Matthews, Meng-Chieh Liu, and Ladd Thomas. Jason is a member of the American Guild of Organists, Long Beach chapter, and has served on the board. As choir member and accompanist he has performed in places such as Carnegie Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the White House. 

80th Anniversary Celebration Concert: Special Guest Artists


The Branches

The Branches is a choir for youth and young adults that provides music for worship services throughout the year at Grace First Presbyterian Church, Long Beach, CA. The focus is on good choral technique and singing in ALL styles of music, from Renaissance motets to praise songs to vocal jazz and rock. The Branches is under the direction of Stan DeWitt.



Bringing You Talented, Heavenly-minded Artists with eXcellence!

Bythax began in 1999 but its genesis dates back to the mid 80s when Dr. Diane White-Clayton was given the vision to create a support base for artists providing spiritual and professional advice, networking and performance opportunities. Why BYTHAX? After completing her PhD in Music Composition and recording her first CD in 1999, Diane moved back to her hometown of Washington, DC. Sitting around the living room with her mom and sisters, they brainstormed seeking a name for her new indie label which was to be their next family business. Searching for something unique related to their family history, someone said, “BYTHAX!” Pronounced like “by that” (but with an X at the end), this was a word from her Mom’s stories of their colorful great grandfather. In place of “Good grief” or “Doggonit,” he’d say “Byyyy-THAX!” Diane later created from it the company’s slogan: “Bringing You Talented, Heavenly-minded Artists with eXcellence!  BYTHAX transitioned from Washington, DC to its current home in Los Angeles where it is headed by Diane (affectionately known as “Dr. Dee”) and her husband, Motown percussionist, Joe Clayton. Still holding to its original vision, BYTHAX supports artists and produces live events with performers of outstanding artistry who desire to serve God and people giving their audiences transformative experiences that heal the heart and inspire the soul. BYTHAX is also a publishing company which primarily carries the catalog of Dr. Dee’s compositions. 

Earlier Event: February 11
Midwinter Seminar