Our Artistic Director
© 2013 Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE CHILDREN'S CHORAL ACADEMY
Our Chorister Directors
Emily McCraw received a Bachelor of Music Performance (summa cum laude) from Emory and Henry College where she studied choral conducting with Allyss Haecker, voice with Rachel Helton, and piano with Lisa Withers.
Having participated in MECCA choirs herself as a student, she is thrilled to continue her involvement with the program as the director of the Emory Choristers. Emily is passionate about music’s power to communicate, promote understanding, and build community, particularly within a choral setting. Through her work with the Emory Choristers, she hopes to inspire a love of singing and of communicating through music within children who participate.
A member of the American Choral Directors Association Emily maintains a private studio of piano and voice students, and for the past five years has worked as a Music Director and Instructor with the Barter Youth Academy. In addition to teaching she is an accompanist, a church musician, and a performing vocal (soprano) and piano soloist.
Amy Potterton is a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus, where she graduated with a BA in Music Education, with a vocal emphasis. For six years, Amy directed award winning Junior High and High School choirs in the California public schools. She was also the assistant director of the Modesto Performing Art’s Children’s Choir in California.
Amy founded and directed the award winning Baldwin City Children’s Choir in Baldwin City, Kansas which enjoyed critical acclaim by earning a gold medal in their first children’s choir competition in St. Louis in the spring of 2010. In spring 2012 in a national competition in New York the choir again received gold ratings from internationally acclaimed conductors in the choral field.
Amy is the conductor of the Johnson City Choristers, a place for children to come and to develop a love and passion for singing. Amy believes that music is vital to the development of young minds, their imagination, and freedom to express their spirit and feelings.
As a soprano, some of Amy's favorite roles have included the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti, Suor Genoveva in Suor Angelica by Puccini, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni by Mozart. Her concert roles include the mezzo solos for Handel’s Messiah and the soprano solos for Mozart’s Regina Coeli.
Jane DeLoach Morison, Artistic Director of the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy and Conductor of the East Tennessee Children’s Choir, Emory Virginia Children's Choir, Da Capo, and Highlands Youth Ensemble, received the Bachelor of Music Education (summa cum laude) from East Tennessee State University, and received the Master of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also completed further study at L’académie de musique de Sion in Switzerland.
A member of the American Choral Directors Association, Mrs. Morison also holds membership in the Music Teachers National Association, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. She currently serves as the Membership Chair for the Virginia chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
Mrs. Morison serves on the faculties of Emory and Henry College and King University. She has also taught and directed at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference, the Barter Theatre Youth Academy, and the ETSU Piano Camp
Mrs. Morison has twice conducted in Carnegie Hall, (Highlands Youth Ensemble - 2016, Festival Chorus - 2017) The Festival of the Aegean (2014), and ACDA state (Tennessee, 2014) and regional conferences (Southern Region, 2016), and is in demand as an honor choir clinician.
Mrs. Morison has performed the contralto and mezzo-soprano solos in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and the soprano solos in Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ. She has also sung the role of the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors. She has performed on piano at the Foundation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, Switzerland, and recorded the piano music for the film, The Breaks: Centuries of Struggle.
In recognition of her work in music education and the performing arts, Mrs. Morison was honored by Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts (2010), and Virginia Celebrates Children in the Arts (2012).
Mrs. Morison has been invited to return to Greece as a Guest Conductor for the 2019 Festival of the Aegean, Syros, Greece.
Our Board of Directors
MECCA Board Chair - Benjamin Dawson
Secretary/Treasurer - Monica Alderman
Administrator - Nancy Hopson
Members at Large:
Helen King - Honorary Lifetime Member
Beth McCoy - Director Emerita
Beth DeLong is a graduate of Taylor University, with a B.M. in Music Education with a vocal emphasis. She has experience with a wide range of students, serving as the choral director at Delta Middle and High Schools in Muncie, Indiana, and at Heritage Christian School (K-8) in Iowa City, Iowa. In addition, she has worked as an accompanist for Sullivan South High School and Milligan College, and has taught private piano for many years. She and her husband Noah are the proud parents of two MECCA singers, Lily and Anna, and future MECCA singer Laura.
Bryan Underwood is a graduate of Westminster Choir College. His studies included piano performance (Ina Bronstein, Harold Zabrack) and collaborative piano (Glenn Parker, Dalton Baldwin). As a member of both the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and the Westminster Choir, performances included collaborations with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Princeton University Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsal pianist under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt, Ricardo Mutti, and multiple Grammy Award winning choral director, Charles Bruffy. Bryan is in demand as a collaborative choral, vocal, and instrumental pianist. In addition to accompanying the Emory Choristers, he currently serves as staff pianist for Emory & Henry College, East Tennessee State University, the Appalachian Men’s Ensemble, and the Appalachian Summer Modern Music Festival Chorale. He is currently a member of the full time staff of State Street United Methodist Church (Bristol, VA) as Director of Music and Worship.
Christopher Yoder is a native of Canton Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Arts from Malone College. In 2003 he and his wife Stephanie made their new home in Bristol VA to pursue careers in music. Christopher teaches piano both at his home studio and St. Anne Catholic School, and accompanies the choirs for the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy and the theater department at Emory & Henry College, in addition to numerous choral events in the region. A number of Christopher’s compositions have received premieres within the Tri-Cities, including the choral lullaby Balow by the Voices of the Mountains in 2009, and a double choir setting of Psalm 130 by the Highlands Youth Ensemble in 2017.