(in alpha order)
Rarely does one come across an artist whose career has been as varied as it is focused. On each journey his music takes him, Manitoba-based singer/songwriter Steve Bell consistently plumbs the depths of beauty and truth while maintaining a humble generosity—a robust kindness—that has profoundly impacted the lives of countless individuals. More than a quarter-century since the release of Steve’s first solo album, his accomplishments continue to demonstrate his commitment to excellence and creativity, as well as his marked dedication to the performing arts within Canada and beyond.
A modern-day troubadour, Steve composes eloquent songs and sings them in his charming vocal style, accompanied by rootsy guitar riffs and storytelling prowess that are uniquely his own. He uses these remarkable gifts to share a message of hope that resonates deeply within the hearts and souls of fans, providing both solace and inspiration. It is this connection, rather than platinum plaques to hang on the wall, that is Bell’s true goal and his most real achievement.
Despite having flown under the radar in terms of media recognition, Steve Bell’s career statistics are striking. To date he has put out a total of 20 albums which have sold well over 400,000 copies independently. Add in four concert videos, five songbooks, and more than 2000 shows, and you have a body of work equaled by few artists in any genre. Over the past several years Bell has also performed his material 30 times with nine different symphony orchestras, often to capacity crowds including Massey Hall in Toronto. Refuge31 Films released a feature length documentary about his career and life journey, entitled Burning Ember: The Steve Bell Journey.
These endeavors have led not only to commercial success for Steve’s self-launched record label Signpost Music, but have also garnered a stream of accolades including three JUNO Awards, numerous Western Canadian and Prairie Music Awards, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. His rare longevity, marked by a commitment to his vocation as equally social and artistic, has earned him a large and loyal fan base that continues to grow both in Canada and the United States.
After a storied lifetime of contribution to the Canadian music industry, Steve remains compelled to express his art in the wider context of bounty and need. As such, he has mentored several emerging artists and worked with various organizations to promote arts and education. He also uses his stage to attract attention, build awareness, and provide thoughtful helps to the world’s less fortunate and resourced—locally, nationally and internationally—represented by such worthy organizations as Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Compassion Canada, Siloam Mission, and the National Roundtable on Homelessness and Poverty.
In addition to his year-round touring schedule and increasing number of speaking engagements at conferences and universities, Bell has written articles for various publications; co-published a book on the Psalms with Jamie Howison; and recently completed a seven-book boxset called Pilgrim Year, which features reflections on the spirituality of the Christian liturgical calendar that incorporate story, song, poetry and art.
Matthew Clark is a singer/songwriter and storyteller from Mississippi.
He has recorded several full length albums, including a Bible walk-through called “Bright Came the Word from His Mouth” and “Beautiful Secret Life”, a collection of songs highlighting, in George Herbert’s phrase, “heaven in ordinary”.
Matthew hosts a weekly podcast, “One Thousand Words – Stories on the Way”, featuring essays reflecting on faith-keeping. A touring musician and speaker, Matthew travels sharing songs and stories, and is currently recording a 33-song trilogy of concept albums to begin releasing in 2022.
Whether it’s a song, a podcast, a meal, or an essay, Matthew loves to “make things that make room for people to meet Jesus.”
Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest; Chaplain & Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University; a poet; and the lead singer and founder of the rock band Mystery Train.
His books include nonfiction – Beholding the Glory and What Do Christians Believe? – and poetry – The Singing Bowl; Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany; and The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter. He also contributed to The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis.
Guite teaches Literature and Pastoral Theology for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. He is involved with a number of projects linking theology and the arts, and has published poetry, literary criticism and theology in various journals.
As founder of the rock band, Mystery Train, he writes lyrics and performs on guitar and vocals.
He has been a regular contributor to our C.S. Lewis Summer Institutes since 2005 as well as to Foundation conferences and retreats throughout the U.S.
Max McLean is an award-winning actor and founder and artistic director of New York City-based Fellowship for Performing Arts.
Max adapted for the stage The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert, The Great Divorce, Genesis and Mark’s Gospel. His recent writing and producing credits include Martin Luther on Trial.
As an actor, he created the roles of Screwtape in New York, on national tour and in London; C.S. Lewis in The Most Reluctant Convert on national tour and in an extended 15-week run in New York; Mark in Mark’s Gospel; and Storyteller in Genesis. Max received the Jeff Award—Chicago theatre’s highest honor—for his performance of Mark’s Gospel.
He has been nominated for four awards from the Audio Publishers Association for his narration of The Listener’s Bible. His creative work has been cited with distinction by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and CNN to name a few media outlets.
J.A.C. Redford is a composer, arranger, orchestrator and conductor of concert, chamber and choral music, film, television and theater scores, and music for recordings.
Artists and ensembles that have performed his work include: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell, Liona Boyd, Cantus, Chicago Symphony, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Debussy Trio, Israel Philharmonic, Kansas City Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Anne Akiko Meyers, Millennium Consort Singers, New York Philharmonic, Phoenix Chorale, Staatskapelle Dresden, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Chamber Artists and Utah Symphony.
His music has been featured on programs at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Lincoln Center in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Most recently, he composed the Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission for the American Choral Directors Association 2017 National Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Redford has written the scores for more than three dozen feature films, TV movies or miniseries, including The Trip to Bountiful, One Night with the King, What the Deaf Man Heard, Mama Flora’s Family and Disney’s Oliver & Company, Newsies and The Mighty Ducks II and III. He has composed the music for nearly 500 episodes of series television, including multiple seasons of Coach and St. Elsewhere (for which he received two Emmy nominations).
His incidental music has been heard in theatrical productions at the Matrix Theater in Los Angeles and South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, California, as well as in the American Playhouse series on PBS. Two of his musical comedies are published by Dramatic Publishing and performed frequently across North America.
Collaborating with other artists, Redford has orchestrated, arranged or conducted for Academy Award-winning composers, James Horner, Alan Menken, Randy Newman and Rachel Portman, as well as for Terence Blanchard, Danny Elfman, Mark Isham, Thomas Newman, Marc Shaiman, and Cirque du Soleil’s Benoit Jutras, on projects including The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Perfect Storm, WALL-E, Avatar, The Help, The Amazing Spider-Man, Skyfall, Bridge of Spies and SPECTRE. He orchestrated and conducted Adele’s Oscar-winning title song for Skyfall, wrote arrangements for Joshua Bell’s Voice of the Violin, At Home with Friends and Musical Gifts recordings, Anne Akiko Meyers’ Serenade: The Love Album, and has written for and recorded with other Grammy Award-winning artists Steven Curtis Chapman, Placido Domingo, Bonnie Raitt and Sting.
He has produced, arranged, and conducted music for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and served as a consultant for the Sundance Film Institute, a teacher in the Artists-in-Schools program for the National Endowment for the Arts, a guest lecturer at USC and UCLA, and on the Music Branch Executive Committees for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Redford’s music is published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, Fatrock Ink, AnderKamp, Fred Bock and Plough Down Sillion Music. He is the author of Welcome All Wonders: A Composer’s Journey, published by Baker Books. His many recordings include seven collections of his concert, chamber and choral music, The Alphabet of Revelation, Eternity Shut in a Span, Evening Wind, The Growing Season, Inside Passage, Let Beauty Be Our Memorial and Waltzing with Shadows.
The Sweet Ayres
Brought together by their mutual love for Christ Jesus and playing great music, these four musicians collectively bring over 100 years of experience and study to their performances. While individually performing in the Pikes Peak region and beyond, it was while leading the evening worship service for the Anselm Society’s 2018 Imagination Redeemed Conference that they became a quartet. Blending the sounds of bassoon, oboe, English horn, hammered dulcimer, harp, recorders, and violin, the quartet delights in exploring and combining classical, Celtic, and folk styles to create harmony, or as Shakespeare would say, “sweet ayres that give delight.”
Proficient on both the bassoon and hammered dulcimer, Greg Brown is a teacher and mentor for young musicians, served the United States Air Force for 20 years, playing in bands at both the U.S. Air Force Academy and in Washington D.C.
A renowned oboe teacher and wife to Greg, Nancy Brown performs on oboe, English horn, and recorders with select classical groups.
Both Browns completed their initial musical degrees at the University of Redlands. Together, Greg and Nancy are part of the world-folk band, Crystal Creek.
After earning her master’s degree in violin performance, Terri Moon spent a year in Amsterdam specializing in music of the Baroque and Renaissance eras. For the last 25 years, she has played with local Colorado Springs orchestras and on a weekly basis at her church. A dedicated violin teacher, Terri also serves on the leadership of the Anselm Society.
A classically trained harpist, Megan Prahl has performed for a variety of solo and orchestral events over the past 20 years. Outside the Sweet Ayres, she also collaborates with Terri Moon and a violist in the Loch Lomond Trio. Megan recently graduated with a master’s degree in cultural apologetics from Houston Baptist University.
The Sweet Ayres are appearing at the Oxbridge Conference 2022 as ambassadors of the Anselm Society, a non-profit organization based in Colorado Springs dedicated to a renaissance of the Christian imagination.