Music program staff

These artists provide an integral element of our worship service and bring their talent to other activities.

Director of Music and Arts
Jen Hayman, Director of Music and Arts

Jennifer Hayman, the director of music and arts at All Souls, maintains an eclectic musical life as a choral conductor, singer, and pianist. After earning her bachelor of music in music industry with performance honors in piano and voice at Syracuse University, she worked as an artist and repertoire representative for Dreamworks Records NYC, a tour manager for a rock band, and a booking agent for a 1,200 capacity concert venue. She received her master of science in music education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, where she assisted Director of Choral Activities Dr. Michael Levi and received the Graduate Award for Excellence in Music Education. She then taught music to fifth- through eighth-graders at an inner-city public school, where she worked with the fine arts department to create a multiyear program that integrated popular music into both the keyboard lab and the general music curriculum. Jen has continued to refine her musical craft with postgraduate conducting work at Westminster Choir College, where she studied with Charles Bruffy, Dr. James Jordan, and Giselle Wyers. She also worked as the conducting apprentice to Maestro Alan Harler and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia; she later served three years on their board of directors.

Most recently, Jen served as the production coordinator for Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare and as the director of music at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, she also cofounded a semiprofessional cooperative chamber choir, the Chestnut Street Singers (www.chestnutstreetsingers.org), which received fast recognition for its unique and ambitious programming. Equally passionate about both classical and popular music, Jen has collaborated with various rock and pop musicians, including singer/songwriter Jonah Matranga, for his album The Volunteers, which is available on iTunes and Jade Tree Records. She was also the soprano soloist for the world premiere of Battle Hymns, a new commission by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.

202.332.5266 ext. 107
Director, Jubilee Singers
Lenard Starks, Director, Jubilee Singers

Lenard began directing the All Souls Jubilee Singers in January, 1996. At California State University in Sacramento, he majored in mathematics and minored in music, while serving as first clarinetist with several of the university's performing groups. He later served as Bandmaster while on active military duty in the U.S. Army Security Agency. For 11 years, Lenard sang with the 80-member Maryland Choral Society. He has participated in the planning and performance of several African-American choral music programs in the Washington area, and currently also directs choirs at Nottingham-Myers United Methodist Church in Upper Marlboro and the Heritage Signature Chorale in Washington.

202.332.5266 ext. 116
Director of Akoma @ All Souls
Kristen Arant, Director of Akoma @ All Souls

Kristen Arant is a percussionist, vocalist, teacher, and organizer living and working in the DC region. Originally a classically-trained oboe player with a degree in music, she began her drumming career upon moving to DC in 2000, when she helped initiate the activist drumming ensemble Rhythm Workers Union, known for its hand-built drum cart, the “MotherDrumShip,” and its legions of drummers, who created a spectacle at hundreds of protests, rallies, and events through 2007. Enthralled by the healing and unifying power of the Djembe drum, Kristen began to study West African drumming in 2002. She spent time with masters such as Baile McKnight, Mamady Keita, and Tammi Hessen. In 2004 she began teaching drumming at DC public schools, and through these experiences discovered how the drum could transform the self-esteem of young people and help them to become self-actualized. In 2005 she started a DC non-profit organization, the Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project, which enrolled young women ages 12 and up from across DC, taught them how to play West African drums, and guided them through poetry, song-writing, theatre, and dance workshops that culminated in final performances. These performance showcases wowed communities across DC as they witnessed young women coming of age via drumming—an innovative rite of passage. In 2010, Kristen finally made it to Ghana, West Africa, with her now husband, Michael Kweku Owusu, founder of Drumming Up From Poverty, a Ghana-based NGO that helps street kids find meaningful work through drumming and drum-building. Kristen and Kweku began a small business called Drumming Empowerment LLC, and both now teach workshops and perform individually and with their group, the Akoma Drummers, at schools, camps, churches, conferences, festivals, fundraisers, and anywhere else they are called. Kristen also leads an intergenerational, all-women's West African drumming performance troupe called the Bele Bele Rhythm Collective, and teaches a class for adult students at Roda Studio in Takoma Park, MD. Kristen has facilitated hundreds of drumming experiences over the past 15 years through her energetic, spontaneous style that combines deep learning with deep letting go, connecting with the authentic self, and transforming negative emotions into joy and exuberance.

Organist
Organist/Accompanist John Strang

John Strang, former music director at All Souls, is now extremely pleased to serve as the church’s organist and accompanist. John studied organ and music composition at the University of Michigan, and has worked for many diverse progressive cutting-edge congregations, including Unitarian Universalist, Reconstructionist Jewish, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Methodist. He also served as university organist at Howard University. John has a particular passion for modernism and eclecticism in music, as well as for Buddhist, minimalist, and meditation music. He loves the mystical and colorful quality of the organ, and enjoys transforming hymns into unique, other-worldly musical experiences. In his “other” life, John is a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher, specializing in work with young people on the autism spectrum and gender non-conforming/transgender children.

All Souls Choir Alto Soloist
Rochelle Rice, All Souls Alto Choir Soloist

Rochelle Rice is a dynamic and compelling vocalist and songwriter, and has been named Best Jazz Vocalist (2013) by Washington City Paper Jazzy Awards. Her profound and flawless sound joins the singer/songwriters of the 1960s and the contemporary jazz vocalists of today.

Rochelle received her B.M. in classical voice in 2008 from East Carolina University, and in 2012 attained her master’s degree in jazz studies from Howard University. While at Howard University, Rochelle was a member of the multiple DownBeat Magazine award winning premiere jazz vocal ensemble, Afro Blue, and was the graduate teaching assistant to the award winning and well noted arranger, clinician, and jazz vocalist, Connaitre Miller. She is featured on the group’s 2012 recording, The Best is Yet to Come. Stepping outside of her jazz and soul background, Rochelle is currently the lead singer of DC’s only live house music band, House of Soul, and is featured as a vocalist and songwriter on the band’s debut album, Let’s Move. Rochelle’s versatility has allowed her the opportunity to work with some of the industry’s most acclaimed musicians, including Kim Jordon, gospel jazz pioneer and former musical director for Gil Scott-Heron. Rochelle can be heard on Jordan’s 2013 CD release, Uncommon. Recently, Rochelle was chosen as a sub for the internationally renowned Grammy award winning a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock.

Rochelle’s sound is a woven tapestry of jazz influenced contemporary folk and soul. Her highly personal, yet relatable original music reflects her deeply rooted love of jazz and singer/songwriters. Currently, Rochelle continues to perform, record, and write beautiful music.

All Souls Choir Soprano Soloist
Amelia Brown, All Souls Choir Soprano Soloist

Amelia Brown graduated in 2015 from Howard University with a B.M. in Jazz Studies. While there, she was a member of Howard’s jazz vocal ensemble, Afro Blue, led by the award-winning jazz vocalist and arranger, Connaitre Miller. Amelia is featured on two of the group’s albums, Jubilee and An Afro Blue Christmas. A DC native, she studied classical music under Mr. Samuel Bonds at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School. She has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The White House, and The Apollo Theatre with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Benny Golson, Esperanza Spaulding, and Geri Allen.

All Souls Choir Baritone Soloist
Steve Combs, All Souls Choir baritone soloist

Steve is the All Souls Choir baritone soloist. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut under the baton of James Levine in the world premiere of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, which was televised on PBS. He appeared with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the title role of Colin Graham's first staging of Britten's Billy Budd and as Demetrius in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was soloist in Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noel and Mendelssohn's Von Himmel Hoch with Cathedral Choral Society, and featured in the world premiere of Donald McCullough's highly acclaimed Holocaust Cantata and subsequent recording. A graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Combs has won the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation study grant, a Sullivan Award, and is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition winner. He has made solo appearances in Vaughan Williams' Mystical Songs with the Master Chorale Chamber Singers, in Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, and with Washington Bach Consort.

All Souls Choir Tenor Section Leader
Kyle Burke

Kyle Burke holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Temple University. He has been a featured soloist with such groups as The Philadelphia Singers, Pennsylvania Pro Musica, and the West Jersey Chamber Music Society, singing the title role in Carissimi's Jephte and Evangelist in Bach's St. John Passion. Operatic roles include Valetto in Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, Gherardo in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Jo the Loiterer in Thomson's The Mother of Us All. The roles of Paris in The Trojan Conflict and Falmouth in Dr. Franklin were written specifically for him by composer Maurice Wright.