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Worship Arts Leadership
Michelle Russell – Worship Arts Minister, Tap 3 Lead Teacher
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
God began teaching me about His creativity when I was three years old as I started my first dance class in Cleveland, Ohio. Over many years of learning tap, jazz, acrobats and ballet I discovered that dance was a way to bring joy to others and to help them. I continued to learn and teach dance as a teen and as a student at Michigan State University. When I met Jesus at the age of 20, the first thing He taught me was how to pour out my heart to him in worship. Even though I was a music major in college at that time, I experienced a whole new aspect of music as I played my flute to Him and for Him. God healed my soul. I became a musical missionary for several years and then became a Registered Music Therapist.
I have been married to Robert, who is lead pastor of Celebration Church, for 28 years and we have three children, David, Jonathan and Abbie. All of the Russell family, including Robert, have danced at Celebration Church at different times over the years. When Celebration Church Dance Ministry/ Worship Arts Ministry began in 2003, I was excited to get my feet tapping again for Jesus. I have taught dance for over 20 years and continue to learn joyful ways to express my gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done for me.
I also have the honor of being the Worship Arts Minister this year. It is a constant joy and challenge to serve in this incredible ministry and to see the Holy Spirit transform our staff, students and their families.
The most important thing about me is that Jesus is the love of my life. I feel close to Him when I play my flute in worship and when I dance and long to teach others the joy of worshiping Him in Spirit and in truth. Music, dance, art and drama are very important in my life for communicating with God, displaying His creativity, sharing Jesus with others, expressing joy & pain, fighting spiritual battles, serving others, connecting with other believers and staying physically strong. I have recently returned to my career as a Music Therapist and have been working with Alzheimer’s patients in an assisted living center. It is so beautiful to bring my love of music, dance and Jesus to all ages and watch God transform people.
Tapping for Jesus,
Karen Grisenti - Worship Arts Coordinator
Since 2005 our family has been a part of Worship Arts at Celebration. All of our children, as well as my husband and myself, have enjoyed dance classes, fellowship, and discipleship through WAM. The Lord has used WAM to bless our family, and I am excited to be a part of what He is doing through this special ministry.
My family moved to Kingsport when I was 15, and the Lord immediately plugged me into a group of friends and a church where I came to know Jesus as my Savior. After college I met my husband while serving with Youth with Mission for 2 years. We have been part of Celebration Church since 2002 and help with the Family Ministry.
For the past 16 years I have had the privilege of home schooling our children. We have been a part of several co-ops, where I have taught a variety of classes. My current favorite is Plutarch because it is so unexpectedly enjoyable. I have one son and seven daughters, ranging in age from 22 to 6. We have a small farm with dairy goats and chickens. It’s seldom quiet and never dull at our house!
As a mother, above all else I desire for my children to know the Lord personally and to love Him passionately. Through WAM I see them worshipping, hearing from the Lord, being encouraged and shown truth by faithful lovers of Jesus. I am honored to serve in this place where the Lord is growing up worshippers of Him.
Taylor Royston - Administrative Assistant, Advanced Ballet, Contemporary, Acro Dance, Hip Hop 3, & Teacher Dance Lead Teacher
I am so excited to be apart of the Worship Arts team at Celebration! I began dance at the age of 3 and have been dancing ever since. Types of dance I have studied include ballet, tap, jazz, hiphop, contemporary, & tumbling. I have done studio dance my whole life, but when I began college, I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of the ETSU dance team throughout my four years as a student. Now that I have graduated from ETSU, I am ready to start the next chapter in my life. I am so thankful that the Lord has led me to Worship Arts and is allowing me to continue to use my love for dance as an expression of love for Him. Throughout all my life, be it good times or bad, dance has always been there for me. Dance has allowed me to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions in ways words would not allow. For me, dance is a passion and I am happy to be able to share that passion with everyone and use my talent to worship the Lord. I am eager to see how He allows us to grow in dance and in worship.
Hannah Voudrie - Communications Coordinator, Intermediate Ballet Lead Teacher
As someone who has been a part of this ministry since I was 8, I have loved being apart of the Leadership Team as Media/Marketing/Communications Coordinator. I’m 26 and have been dancing since I was 7, taking ballet, jazz, tumbling, tap, clogging, and hip hop. I have been able to share my love of dance by teaching dance with Worship Arts for 45years and have worked with kids around the world since I was 11, including in Cambodia where I spent 5 months as a missionary, and while I lived in the Middle East volunteering at a school. I am also on staff at Celebration as the Digital Media Manager.
In my free time I love to worship, sing, song write, play with my nieces, and travel.
It has always been my desire to learn how to better use the arts to worship Daddy God to the fullest, whether with dance, music, singing or art. I’m honored that I get to share my passions with others through teaching and I’m excited to see what the next year holds!
Connie Ward - Event, Serve & Pray Coordinator
More info coming soon!
Worship Arts Teachers
Austin Bailey - Acting Lead Teacher
Austin is thrilled to be working with the Worship Arts Ministry to tie together the marvelous joys of Jesus and theatre! Austin has worked professionally as both a touring artist and a Technical Director at Stebens Children’s Theatre. He has also written, published, and directed one-act plays and comedy sketches for youth theatre, including: A Gift That Lasts, a one-act Christmas play, and Dimwitz’ Witty Skits: 25 Comedy Sketches for Youth Theatre. He recently graduated from King University, where he earned his B.A. in Theatre. Austin received the Allen Trousdale Guild Players Award at King University for his outstanding contributions to the theatre department. Austin is also a proud co-founder of Chronicles Children’s Theatre, a Christian children’s theatre company which he runs with his wife and co-founder Alaura.
Austin Blythe - Private Voice, Piano, & Ukulele Lead Teacher
Hi! I'm Austin Blythe. I'm a 24 year old musician and singer-songwriter! I love the Lord and was saved at the age of eight. I currently help teach the children's choir program at the church I grew up in and am very excited to be a part of the Celebration Worship Arts Ministry.
I am a classically trained pianist, and I first started playing when I was six years old. I was accepted into ETSU on a full ride for classical piano. I graduated with a degree in piano performance and business marketing. After college I pivoted, deciding I wanted to write and sing pop music! I was under vocal instructors for five years through high school and college, and I sang in the ETSU advanced choir, Chorale, and acapella group, the Swashbucklers. Along the way, singing has become my favourite instrument and what I practice the most!
Back in elementary and middle school, I took guitar lessons for about 3 years and have been playing since. Then, through my guitar playing and music theory background, I taught myself ukulele and absolutely love it. Ukulele is my favourite instrument to sing with, and I play it more than I do piano these days. And finally, I took a huge interest in music theory throughout high school and won nationals for academic music theory senior year. I will teach a small bit of music theory during our lessons; as this is what will really allow you to understand music at a deeper level, teach yourself new instruments, and maybe even create your own music!
Simoné Brittz - 4/5s Pre Dance Lead Teacher and Beginner and Advanced Ballet Assistant Teacher
I moved from South Africa to Kingsport 3years ago. Since then I have become very involved in Celebration Church Children's Ministry and through that, Worship Arts. I love ballet as well as sign language and painting. I love serving in our church! there always seems to be a new opportunity to praise God for all this church has done for my outlook on life and faith in general.
Idalise Champion - Piano Lead Teacher
Hi, Y’all! My name is Idalise (pronounced like the plural of Italy), and I was born and raised in South Africa and moved to TN right before my 19th birthday. I immediately started volunteering in the Worship Band at Celebration Church; playing piano, keyboard, and singing. I also enjoy working with a wide range of creative softwares to create media for different CCTri ministries.
I took classical and contemporary piano lessons for 9 or 10 years, which earned me a pass on Grade 6 Piano and distinction on Grade 5 Music Theory under the ABRSM Curriculum.
Even though I enjoyed most of the classical training, and felt very accomplished at being able to play beautiful compositions, I felt that my calling is in contemporary worship music. So I joined youth bands and played at church conferences and events with my dad (Louis Brittz) as much as I had capacity for, and now I can’t imagine ever not using the skills I have learned to glorify God!
God’s Word commands us to worship Him, and oh, what deep peace and joy it brings when we obey Him! I strive to be not only an obedient worshiper, but a skilled and well developed one. And I hope to be able to teach others how to take their passion for music and turn it into a powerful tool of worship; or at least to help them get started.
Bethany Davis - Interpretive Movement Lead Teacher
My name is Bethany Davis and I'm 19 years old.
My family and I have been attending Celebration Church since the summer of 2020 and I’m so happy to be a part of the Worship Arts Ministry. I have participated in many children ministries and other church ministries over the years and I love teaching Interpretive Movement. I've been doing interpretive dance since the age of five and I’m so glad share this personal gift of worship with students who love the Lord and are ready to worship Him through movement.
Although I love dance, performing, and teaching people about the Lord, I am currently pursuing a career in the medical field. I am attending Virginia Highlands Community College and I will be graduating with my MA certificate in the spring and hope to start next fall in their RN program. I have a heart for helping people both physically and spiritually.
Kayla Davis - Interpretive Movement Lead Teacher
My name is Kayla Davis and I am 17 years old. I have had a passion for worshiping the Lord through Interpretive Movement ever since I was four years old. My family attended a church in Charleston SC for many years until we moved. At that church there was a worship arts ministry and Interpretive Movement was one of their ministries. My two older sisters and my mother were on the team and I saw how they loved to worship the Lord through IM. I knew that someday I would be beside them praising the Lord. When I was five I signed up for the team and was doing what I loved. I was with the IM team for four years before my family moved.
I have a love for worshiping the Lord through IM and I am excited to teach others how. As hobbies I like to read, paint, be out in nature, and I love to write, but my passion is to teach others to praise the Lord through Interpretive Movement.
Ethan Doherty - Percussion Assistant Teacher
Hi, my name is Ethan Doherty I am 15 years old and a sophomore attending Tri-Cites Academy. I am excited to be assisting beginners praise band and percussion this year. I have been involved in worship arts for the past 6 years. I am excited to teach music, spread the love of Jesus and have fun!
Ben Ellis - Private Fiddle Lead Teacher
I fell in love with the violin at age two in the fellowship hall of the church that I was raised in. I persisted in my desire to play the instrument continuously over the next three years. At age 5, my parents gave me my first violin. I took lessons from that point until about age 16 and then again for a couple years as an adult. I love to play a huge variety of music, from bluegrass to classical and beyond, but my favorite music to play has been in worship be it new praise music or the old hymns. I have taught lessons since age 15.
I don’t remember a time in which I didn’t love Jesus. I made a profession of faith and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at about age 8. I love to worship Him with my fiddle!
Lance Godsey - Percussion Lead Teacher
More info coming soon!
Eliana Grisenti - Acting 101, Beginner tap, and Boys Dance Assistant Teacher
Hi! My name is Eliana Grisenti and I am 15 years old. I'm so excited to get to start my second year of assisting in Worship Arts classes! I've gone to Celebration Church all my life, and I've been doing things with Worship Arts since I was in early elementary school. I live on a farm, and I have 6 sisters. I love people, animals, dance, drama, and Jesus. I can't wait to start helping your kids learn more about Him!
Megan Grisenti – Private Piano, Sign Language &, Beginner Tap Lead Teacher, Intermediate/Advanced Tap Assistant Teacher
Hello! My name is Megan Grisenti and I am eighteen years old. I grew up on a goat farm and I have six sisters and one brother. I have also volunteered at The Exchange Place Historical Site in Kingsport, TN. I have attended Celebration Church my whole life, and I have been dancing since I was two years old. I have really enjoyed tap especially. I tapped for a few years when I was younger, but I have been taking tap for five years and I have loved every minute. I look forward to being able to help others discover a passion for dancing for the Lord through tap just as I did. Another activity I have enjoyed is piano. I have taken piano for ten years and I am so excited to teach piano lessons this fall! Since I was 11 years old I have been learning sign language. I started in a song interpreting class and I am now pursuing certification in ASL (American Sign Language) at Virginia Highlands Community College. I have assisted in sign language classes at the church and I am thrilled to be teaching Sign Language as well this year!!!! So excited to see everyone as classes begin this fall, I look forward to building a relationship with them and helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Talia Grisenti - Art Assistant Teacher
More info coming soon!
Jaime Harper - Beginner Ballet, Ballet Bootcamp, & Worship Flags Lead Teacher
Hello ladies and gentlemen, I am Jaime Harper, otherwise known as JOY or SUNSHINE! I began ballet at the precious age of 3 at Dancers Academy. A few years of ballet proved to be a beautiful start to a life filled with dance. Adding tap and jazz to ballet classes with performances up until the age of 14. Dance gave me a life of balance and grace. I then began a Color Guard journey finding that all of the years of dance best prepared me for this sport of the arts. Performing and teaching Color Guard for over 30 years has required a strong dance background.
Our heavenly father blessed me with my husband, Drew, and our daughter Ella, 10 years old. We moved to Kingsport, TN in April of 2017 and discovered the beautiful umbrella of blessings with Celebration Church and Worship Arts. I look forward to year 5 with our Worship Arts Family as we serve and grow together!
“I firmly believe that our Lord and Savior has written each of our life stories with a permanent marker, for HE doesn’t make mistakes, HE is perfect, HE is LOVE, HE is Grace, HE is our forever friend!
My favorite verse is the end of Nehemiah 8:10”For the JOY of the Lord is my strength.”
My favorite quote by Cinderella”Have Courage and Be Kind.”
Jamie Henson -Tap Basics Lead Teacher
I started dancing with Academy of Dance Arts when I was 6 years old taking tap, jazz, and ballet. Tap was always my favorite because I loved making music with my feet! I continued dancing until I was a junior in high school and went on to take a couple of advanced tap classes while attending ETSU. At that point life took over, and I hung up my dancing shoes for a while to pursue a career in Organizational Training and Education.
In 2013, God led me and my family to Celebration Church where we not only found our amazing church family; we also found an outlet for worship through the arts. I was blessed to find tap again, taking Tap 2 and 3 and getting the opportunity to praise Him through dance. Tapping is like riding a bicycle- once I put the shoes on, my feet remembered what to do.
I am so excited to get my first experience TEACHING tap this year! While my “day job” has led me to teach and train many students of all ages over the years, the chance to teach worship and praise through tap is an incredible opportunity! As the instructor for Adult Tap, I am hoping to find others who want to make music with their feet with me. We are never too old!
Trina Jones - Sew & Serve Lead Teacher
I was raised in the tri-cities area by my father who was a faithful preacher and my dedicated mother who homeschooled me and my two sisters. Growing up I enjoyed crafting, drawing, painting and creating. In my teen and young adult years I babysat, nannied and worked in child care. During that time I graduated high school and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Lexington Baptist Bible College. As a change from 2003 to 2008 I enjoyed a career in mural painting and drawing portraits. In 2010 I obtained my life long career dream and became a mother. Now I spend my days homeschooling my three blessings, creating and crafting with them.
I have a passion to teach people sewing skills and to use their creativity to minister to others. That is why I am so excited to teach a class called “sew and serve” this year. In this beginner sewing class, we will sew simple and useful items to donate and bless those in children’s hospitals, mission groups, nursing homes, cancer treatment centers, NICU, homeless shelters, military bases and more. All levels of experience and ages 7 and up are welcome to learn how to use a sewing machine to make gifts to minister to others. An adult should accompany those 7-9 years old. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10.
Jadah Keller - Tumbling 1/2 Assistant Teacher
I'm Jadah Keller. I'm 13 and have been attending Celebration Church since I was in kindergarten. I have been involved with Worship Arts for about 7 years and God has done so much in me. A few things I enjoy are: volleyball, gymnastics, baking, playing with siblings, and being outside. I am so excited to get to know your kids and teach them about Jesus.
Laurel Lawrence - Pre-Dance Assistant Teacher
More info coming soon!
Shane Leonard - Beginning Praise Band, Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin Lead Teacher
More info coming soon!
Cathy Mackiewicz - Line Dance Lead Teacher
I have danced since high school, learning many dance styles in a theater group and in school: Arthur Murray ballroom, ballet, jazz, tap, modern and Afro-Caribbean. In college, I minored in dance with an emphasis in ballet. Over the years I have taken aerobics, step aerobics, Zumba, cardio dance, kettlebells, and strength training classes. I have taught classes at Slater Community Center, Watts Dance Studio, First Baptist Church of Bristol, YMCA of Bristol, a homeschool group and now look forward to teaching at my home church with Celebration Church Worship Arts Ministry.
Maddie Sue Means - Hip Hop 1 Assistant Teacher
Loving the Lord and loving dance is my life. My name is Maddie Sue, and I am 12 years old. For the past 6 years I have been performing with The Worship Arts Ministry at Celebration Church. I have been dancing for the Lord since I was 5 years old and have loved every moment of it. I have also taken dance with Centre for Performing Arts and been part of several of the drama productions with Celebration. My recent lead role as Rhoda was in “The Way of the Broken.” Some things I enjoy are: dancing, reading, swimming, the beach, biking, painting, spending time with my family, and serving the Lord. I look forward to helping children build their relationship with Christ!
Debbie Neilson - Tumbling Lead Coach
I have been coaching gymnastics for 38 years and am currently a national instructor and a national ranked judge for USA gymnastics.
After competing myself, I owned a gymnastics gym for 15 years. This is my sixth year as lead tumbling coach at Celebration Church and I am SO excited to work with our new students!
Jennifer Ogden - Pre-Dance Lead Teacher
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and moved to the Tri-Cities area in 2017. I have been happily married to my husband Mark for 20 years and have four amazing children! I started taking ballet at the age of 3 at Barbara Driscoll's School of Ballet. When I was a little older I trained with Ann Van Norman Gavit at The Ballet Studio and later was trained in both ballet and modern dance as a member of the modern dance company at International Dance Theatre. I was also part of a yearly Dance Program called The Holiday Gift Program. Our company would take our performances to those who could not attend at a theater such as nursing home residents and women living at the shelter for battered women. For a short time, I was part of a liturgical dance group that spread the gospel through dance. That was a life-changing experience for me.
I taught ballet to 3 and 4-year-olds at the YMCA for several summers while I was in college and I also taught Modern Dance to high schoolers and young adults at Barbara Driscoll school of Ballet.
We are currently members of Tri-Cities Christian Church where my husband and I are small group leaders for middle schoolers on Wednesdays. When we moved to the Tri Tri-Cities, I prayed that we could find a worship arts program for our two daughters to join. Celebration Church Worship Arts Ministry answered those prayers. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to join the teaching staff and am thrilled to be able to glorify my Lord and Savior Jesus through dance.
Audrey Rice - Tumbling 1/2 Assitant Teacher
More info coming soon!
Hannah Roberts - Art Assistant Teacher
More info coming soon!
Lauren Roberts - Boys Dance Lead Teacher and Pre School Tumbling Assistant Teacher
Hi, I'm Lauren! I am 16 years old and a senior in high school. I have been dancing since the age of 5 and love it so much! Dance has become my passion and I love being able to use my gifts to show God's love. I'm so excited to be working with your kids this year and I can't wait to get to know all of them and help them use their gifts and talents to glorify Him!
Jaden Shaw - Hip Hop 1 Lead Teacher
Hi! My name is Jaden Shaw, and to say I’m excited to start teaching at Worship Arts this semester is an understatement! For the last 13 years, I’ve poured my heart and soul into worshiping God through dance. Worship Arts has truly been one of the greatest blessings God has given me. It opened my eyes to what worship can be, and taught me that praising God doesn’t just mean singing along during church service on Sunday mornings. It means glorifying him everyday through my thoughts, actions and through my art.
Each of my teachers has been so encouraging. Each has created a positive environment for me to grow, in both skills and confidence. I am overjoyed to have an opportunity to teach children what worshiping God can be, and how freeing expressing oneself through dance really is.
When I’m not praising God through dance, I'm honoring him by pursuing my nursing classes at Northeast state, singing, playing the ukulele, and crafting.Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Strickler - Worship Flags and Pre Dance Assitant Teacher
My name is Hannah Strickler, and I am 14 years old. My family has been a part of Celebration Church since I was born. I am the oldest of five children, and the only girl. Our family has participated in Worship Arts for 5 years, and I am SO happy to begin my first official year as a Worship Arts staff member. I love children and I cannot wait to meet our new students! Some activities I enjoy are: arts & crafts, listening to music, dance, and acting.
Anna Thompson - Hip Hop 1 Assistant Teacher
My name is Anna Thompson, and I am 17 years old. I was born in Leesburg, Florida, but I’ve lived in Kingsport for the last eight years. I started dancing when I was three. I have taken tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, and acro lessons. I will be assisting Jaden Shaw in Hip Hop 1. I am so excited to see what God has in store this year for these students!
Ava Walker - Art Lead Teacher
My name is Ava Walker, and I am a retired art teacher. In addition to teaching art for 21 years with the Johnson City School System, I have also taught at St. Paul’s Day School, ETSU, and here at Celebration.
My family lived in Abingdon when I was a small child and moved to Bristol when I was ten years old. We attended Central Presbyterian Church where I was active in youth groups, and I committed my life to Christ while at church camp. After graduating from Virginia High School, I attended Virginia Commonwealth University where I met my husband, Ray. After graduation, we moved to Arlington, Virginia, and I got a job drawing shoes and purses for a chain of shoe stores. Unfortunately, two weeks after we moved there, Ray received a draft notice and ended up being sent to Vietnam. Our daughter, Allison was born while he was overseas. When he returned, we moved to Kingsport.
I was able to stay home while my two daughters were young, however, when they started school, I was asked to teach art at St. Paul’s Day school, where I taught for six years. I realized then that I loved teaching art and working with children, however, I decided that I wanted to work with older children, so I went back to school at ETSU and got my master’s degree in Art Education. God opened another door for me, and I was hired by the Johnson City School System as soon as I graduated.
Ray and I started attending Celebration when we were still meeting at Meadowview, and my oldest grandchild was baptized here in the old sanctuary, (now the Apex). We have witnessed many changes and have seen our congregation grow from a few attendees to the huge congregation we have now. We are excited to see what God has in store for our church next.
Elisabeth Winters - Sew and Serve Assitant Teacher
More info coming soon!
Sarah-bel Winters - Tumbling 1/2 Assitant Teacher
Hi! I'm Sarah-bel Winters. I am thirteen years old and have been attending Celebration Church and involved in Worship Arts classes for the past four years. I like reading, creating art, and having fun. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help teach tumbling this year!