The Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School are comprised of the Stewarts Creek Chorale (advanced mixed ensemble), Athena Treble Choir (advanced treble), Bel Canto (honor's treble), Giovani Voci (freshmen treble), and Meistersingers (tenor/bass ensemble).   The choirs perform five yearly concerts, at adjudicated events, in the school and community, and co-produce two yearly musicals with the RedHawk Theater.  Choirs perform music of all styles and time periods, from classical to musical theater classics.  


The high school choirs are joined every other year by the Stewarts Creek Choral Union, a community ensemble of adults who enjoy singing major works with orchestra alongside the Stewarts Creek Choirs.  On alternating years, the Stewarts Creek Opera2Go takes a Spring tour to local elementary schools, performing a short children's opera for nearly 5,000 students.

Choir students have the opportunity to participate in many special opportunities, such as the Freshmen Honor Choir and Mid-State Honor Choir, the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, the ACDA National and Southeast Honor Choirs, and the Tennessee All-State Choir.  

Dr. Susan Kelly, Director of Choirs
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Susan Kelly is Director of Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School, where she conducts five choirs, teaches Dual Enrollment Ear Training, and music directs the campus musicals and operas.  She joined the faculty of Stewarts Creek in  2020.  

Dr. Brian T. Russell, Director of Choirs

Brian Russell is Director of Choirs at Stewarts Creek High School, where he conducts five choirs, teaches Dual Enrollment Music Theory, music directs the campus musicals and operas, and is Fine Arts Department Chair.   Dr. Russell founded the Choral Program when Stewarts Creek opened in Spring 2013.

Brian Russell

Prior to coming to Stewarts Creek, Dr. Kelly served as an Assistant Professor of Music/Choral Director at Tennessee State University where she directed the University Choir and Meistersingers, taught classes in Music Education and Conducting, and taught Applied Voice.  She currently serves as an associate conductor for Vox Grata Women’s Choir and as a soprano section leader at Westminster Presbyterian Church.  Dr. Kelly is also in demand as a guest conductor, having recently conducted the KY-ACDA All-State Middle-School Choir, as well as choirs in Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia.  Additionally, she has sung soprano with the Tennessee Chamber Chorus, a professional choir based in eastern Tennessee and The Cecilia Ensemble, based in Augusta, Georgia.

Before coming to Tennessee, Dr. Kelly taught at Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania and Mid Valley Secondary Center in Throop, Pennsylvania.  She also served as director of the Cantare Choir of The Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania, a community high-school women's ensemble that performed at both state ACDA and PMEA conferences, as the Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, and as a soprano with The Lyric Consort, an eight-voice vocal ensemble.  

Susan holds undergraduate degrees in Music Education and English Education from Wilkes University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Temple University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina.  Prior to her move to Tennessee, Susan was active in both PMEA, in which she served as Choral Coordinator of District 9, and ACDA, in which she served as President-Elect Designate of PA-ACDA.  Currently she is serving as the Vice-President of TN-ACDA.

B.M., Music and English Education, Wilkes University

M.M., Vocal Performance and Conducting, Temple University

D.M.A., Conducting, University of South Carolina

A native of Nashville, Dr. Russell holds his Bachelor of Music degree from Middle Tennessee State University where he studied trombone, piano, violin, and voice.   His concentration quickly moved to conducting, which led him to receive his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.   While at Eastman, he won the coveted Walter Hagan Conducting Prize and the Julius Herford Prize, awarded for outstanding research in his dissertation on the music of G. P. Telemann.

Before returning to Murfreesboro in 2012, Dr. Russell was Assistant Professor of Music at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY), where he conducted vocal and instrumental ensembles, taught conducting and courses in secondary instrumental and vocal methods.  He has also taught middle and high school instrumental and vocal music at five different schools and Rutherford and Sumner counties.

Dr. Russell is the Executive Music Director of Murfreesboro’s Ethos Youth Ensembles, where he conducts the Ethos Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Symphony and oversees a comprehensive youth ensemble program including four orchestras and a jazz ensemble.  Dr. Russell is also Director of Music at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Franklin, the State Adjudication Festival Coordinator for the Tennessee Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and is All State Choral Chair for the Tennessee Music Educators Association.  


Dr. Russell He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife and three children, all of whom attend Stewarts Creek schools.

B.M., Music Education, Middle Tennessee State University

M.M., Conducting, Eastman School of Music

D.M.A., Conducting, Eastman School of Music

Voice Faculty
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Mezzo-soprano Sara Crigger has been praised for her “rich mezzo-soprano voice” and "flawless comedic timing." A few of her operatic credits include Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. Ms. Crigger has appeared as a soloist with Middle Tennessee Choral Society, Nashville Collegiate Orchestra, and with the Austin Peay Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Ms. Crigger appeared with Nashville Opera as a Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.


A lover of contemporary music, Sara has made an effort to work with living composers on a regular basis. She has been fortunate to premiere works such as Rachel Devore Fogarty’s “As the rain hides the stars” and Darryl Nettles’ Harlem Shadows. Sara has sung the Tennessee premier of Andrea Clearfield's Women of Valor and Peter Dayton's May She, She May.

Sara received her Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and her Master of Music from Austin Peay State University. She has attended the Crittendon Opera workshop and has appeared as an Apprentice Artist with Miami Music Festival. A musician who crosses styles freely, Sara has performed at CMA Fest and the BMI Awards as well as appearing as a soloist for Ravel’s Shéhérazade and numerous recitals. 

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Stephanie Jones (soprano) is an adjunct instructor of voice at the Wright School of Music, Middle Tennessee University, a voice teacher at Stewarts Creek High School and runs a successful independent voice studio.  Her students have been accepted to the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, Mid-State and All-State honor choirs, Open Jar Institute, and often receive scholarships to university music and theatre programs.  She has had several students win 1st place, Region 4 of The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and a 1st and 3rd place National winner in the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Student Auditions for Musical Theatre.  Stephanie’s students can be seen at Dollywood, Cedar Point, Disney World, and in professional theaters around the nation.  Stephanie has performed in The Music Man (Mrs. Paroo), The Secret Garden (Clarie), Titanic (Kate Murphey), The Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Sweeney Todd, and Hello Dolly to name a few.  She is not only active on the stage but behind the scenes serving as music director for musicals in local community theaters.  Her professional memberships include National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Sweet Adelines International (SAI), and Music Theatre Educators’ Alliance (MTEA).


Kristine Phillips is a Lyric Soprano based in Nashville, TN. Her most recent role was her debut as Mimì from Puccini's La Bohème with Midwest Opera Institute. She has performed as a soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music  with the Nashville Symphony Chorus.

Other roles performed from past seasons are the role of Laurie from Aaron Copeland’s the Tender Land , and Donna Anna from Mozart’s Don Giovanni alongside Nathan Gunn.
Kristine completed her undergraduate education with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Middle Tennessee State University, and her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Literature as a Fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.