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Assistant Professor of Applied Voice
Heydel Hall
The Millard and JJ Oakley School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.M.E., Samford University
M.M.E., Samford University
M.A., Trevecca University
D.M.A., The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

John A. Ray is Assistant Professor of Voice and Music Program Director for Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. Prior faculty appointments include Austin Peay State University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Belmont University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. John holds the degrees Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance (The University of Alabama), Master of Music in Voice (Samford University), Master of Arts in Counseling (Trevecca Nazarene University), and Bachelor of Music Education-Vocal/Choral (Samford University). He is Level Three Certified in Somatic Voiceworks (The Lovetri Method).

John loves teaching singers and uses his many years of training and experience to assist singing performers in improving their art technically, psychologically, and artistically through his studio. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. His students continue to garner awards and careers of high renown as they perform in virtually all genres of music, including appearances on Broadway, theme parks such as Disney, opera companies, cruise lines, as both background singers and lead singers in rock/country/pop music, and as educators.

As a performer, John’s career has taken him to both national and international venues in concert, opera, oratorio, studio work, and musical theater. His credits as bass soloist include the Grammy winning Nashville Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Saint John’s Symphony London, Nashville Opera, Opera of Birmingham and other regional companies/orchestras. He twice served as Bass Soloist/Recitalist for the International Cathedral Music Festival in London, Canterbury, and Salisbury, England. A highlight of his career was the opportunity to serve as Bass Soloist in the oratorio title role of Elijah, by Mendelssohn, under the baton of Metropolitan Opera baritone, Sherrill Milnes. John himself has conducted major music works for chorus and orchestra and has toured as choral conductor or bass section leader with choirs in Scottland, France, Germany, Croatia, Bratislava, Norway, and Poland.

As a church musician, John has served as director of music in churches in Alabama and Tennessee for close to forty years and continues that work as a way to contribute to those volunteers who enjoy the inspiration and fellowship of collaborative singing.

John holds publications with any music publishing houses as both lyricist and composer and has released two self-produced albums under his own music company, Raycreations Music. He has written and directed an opera, Flight 316, and continues premiering original works through the generosity of talented Nashville area performers. Active for over two decades in Nashville’s music scene on the stage, in the recording studio, and as music director, John has directed, or music directed/ pit conducted over 30 staged productions, and has appeared on the Sony label, Word label, Abingdon Press label, and others with performers as diverse as Ben Folds and Michael W. Smith.

John resides in Mt. Julier, TN with his wife, Katherine, and amazing theatrical performer and educator in her own right. He is the proud father of three grown daughters (Candice, Courtney, and Kyndle) and one granddaughter, Ella.