Performers

Alexandria “Brinae Ali” Bradley was born and raised in Flint, Michigan is a interdiscplinary artist who believes in using the power of the arts to transform the conditions of the human spirit. When she is not traveling and performing, she is giving back to young people and grass roots organizing. Currently Bradley is the assistant artistic director of Tapology, Inc. a youth based outreach program in Flint, that believes in preserving the art of tap and jazz culture through education and performance. As a educator she has collaborated with After School Activities Partnership, East Park Revitalization Alliance, Philadlephia Clef Club of Performing Arts, Raise It Up! Youth Arts and Awareness, Flint Youth Theatre, Mural Arts of Philadelphia, Young Audiences of New Jersey, Queens College, Long Island University, Ping Chong and Company, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was a artist in residence at the Carol Morgan School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She has also served as a adjunct professor at Queens College and Long Island University.  Internationally Ali has traveled and performed around the world in countries such as, France, Germany, China, and Brazil.  She also travelled with a team of tap dancers to Russia for a tour in 5 cities working with the U.S. Embassy for its cultural exchange program celebrating National Tap Dance Day.  Her broadway and off-broadway experience has gained her positions as assistant dance captain for  “Shuffle Along: the 1921 Sensation And All That Followed” choreographed by Savion Glover and directed by George C.Wolfe, company member of NY and Touring cast of  STOMP, special feature in the “Cotton Club Parade” which later became “After Midnight” under the musical direction of Wynton Marsalis, and was apart of a two week tour in Italy celebrating Ella Fitzergerald’s centennial.  She has also created award winning music and theater pieces such as Best Short Play at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival for her one woman show “Steps” and the Vox Populi Independence Music Award for  “Destination Forever: Vol.1 EP.”

Alexandria Bradley

Tap Dancer

Alexandria “Brinae Ali” Bradley was born and raised in Flint, Michigan is a interdiscplinary artist who believes in using the power of the arts to transform the conditions of the human spirit. When she is not traveling and performing, she is giving back to young people and grass roots organizing.

Lynn Braun

Lynn Braun

Band Coordinator

Lynn is the Assistant Dean of Campus Wellness, and the Director of Counseling & Accessibility Services at Defiance College, in Defiance Ohio.  She also has a part-time private therapy practice in Toledo, OH.  
Lynn was also the bassist and technical coordinator for the Assembly 2014 band and is excited to be returning again for Assembly 2018

SuziByrd

Suzi Byrd

Band

The Rev. Suzi Byrd is an ordained deacon in full connection in the United Methodist Church and is currently serving as Pastor for Worship, Mission and Congregational Care at Westminster United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Equipped with Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance, Vocal Pedagogy and Theological Studies, Suzi believes that everyone can sing and feels called to help all of God’s children to sing to God.

Patrick Evans

Patrick Evans

Music Director

Patrick Evans is a native of Birmingham, Alabama who returned home after 27 years away to join the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Music as Professor and Chair in July of 2015. He was Associate Professor in the Practice of Sacred Music at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music and was Director of Music for the daily ecumenical worship in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School.

Danielle Grubb

Danielle Grubb

Band

Raised in Dallas, Texas, Danielle Grubb started performing at the age of 14. She began playing guitar in various metal bands before starting her first project, The Forest Fire.
After gaining traction in the local music scene, Danielle and The Forest Fire performed at various clubs in Deep Ellum and the Wildflower Festival in Plano.

ValerieHarris

Valerie Harris

Band

Valerie R. Harris began her career in music at the early age and was quickly recognized as having something special by her music mentor. Growing up the second of five children in a musical family to Civil Rights Activist and Pastor, Frederick D. & Alline C. Reese, Valerie was well on her way to becoming a gifted pianist.

Shannon Johnson

Shannon Johnson

Band

Shannon Johnson of Cecil County, MD has been a singer since the age of 3. With a mother who gave piano lessons, the unintentional humming of a child soon blossomed into a singing little girl. Throughout high school she continued studying the craft and eventually found her way to the University of Delaware from which she graduated with a BA in Music and has since completed a Master of Education degree as well.

FoG Trio (Tom-Joc-Colleen) (3)

Tom Long

Friends of the Groom

Tom Long is the director, playwright, and chief storyteller for Friends of the Groom Christian Theater Company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been a performer for Public Educational Television, and has served as a consultant in youth work and theater for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Cincinnati Library, and a number of schools and social agencies throughout Ohio.

LydiaMunoz

Lydia E. Muñoz

Band

Rev. Lydia E. Muñoz, an Elder in the Eastern Penn Conference and currently serves as
the lead pastor of Church of the Open Door in Kennett Square, Pa. Open Door is a 15
year old new church start that was developed as an intentionally inclusive and diverse
congregation from its inception. She is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary and
is currently working on a Doctorate of Ministry at Drew Theological School focusing
on Worship, Preaching and Spirituality.

Summer Dawn Reyes headshot

Summer Dawn Reyes

Spoken Word

Summer Dawn Reyes is a writer, director, actress and event producer. She has won multiple awards including a commendation from the New Jersey State Assembly, the Permanent Career Award in Writing from the Society of Arts and Letters-NJ and the N.J. Governor’s Award in Arts Education. She is passionate about increasing diversity in the arts, a common mission for both her theater companies, 68 Productions and Thinking In Full Color, a national campaign to share stories by women of color through theater and education. Follow her on Instagram @thinkinginfullcolor or visit us at thinkinginfullcolor.com

Lola Sanches

Dolores Sanchez

Tap Dancer

Affectionately Known As ""Dolo"", Is A Strong Versatile Mover Well Versed In Tap Dance, Street Jazz, Contact Improv, And Capoeira. She Has Served As Faculty And Guest Faculty At Peridance Capezio Center, Steps On Broadway, And Broadway Dance Center.

Lydia Smith Photo

Lydia Smith

Band

Lydia Smith, a life-long CT resident, has been drumming all her life. She is a graduate of the Creative Arts Therapy Program from The New School in New York City. Her
internship was with the Institute of Music and Neurologic Function at Schnurmacher
Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, part of Beth Abraham Health Services in White
Plains, New York.

FoG Trio (Tom-Joc-Colleen) (3)

Colleen Scheid

Friends of the Groom

Colleen Scheid has been a performer with Friends of the Groom since 1984. She has a BA in Journalism from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and an MA in Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. Colleen has worked as a program coordinator in school and church settings, and as a freelance writer. Her published work includes several books of church drama, a novel and numerous articles. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband and three sons.

FoG Trio (Tom-Joc-Colleen) (3)

Jocelyn Sluka

Friends of the Groom

Jocelyn Sluka is a full-time performer, workshop leader, and Managing Director for Friends of the Groom Theater Company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In her thirty years as a professional actor and singer, she has worked with a variety of regional and educational theaters, and in touring productions for US troops stationed in Germany, as well as serving for 10 years as the Drama Director for First Christian Assembly Church.

Valerie Thompson Photo

Valerie Thompson

Band

Valerie Thompson, a Kansas City native, grew up as a classical cellist in a household filled with the music of Bach, The Beatles, The Chieftains and the blues. She holds a B.M. from the Berklee College of Music and M.M in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory.

MatthewWillis

Matthew Willis

Band

Matthew Willis is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and has been a professional saxophone/clarinet/flute player in New York City for over 25 years. He has experience performing in a wide rage of musical styles including Jazz, Spiritual, Classical, Rock, and R&B.