Warren Pettit, Director  

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MM (Studio Writing and  Production), University of Miami (FL): 
BS (School of Music), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; 
ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto)  

Warren Pettit is a teacher, a mentor and a Christ follower whose classroom presentation is best described as ‘edutainment. Gifted with a natural ability to make ‘complex ideas simple’, Warren is often overheard saying, “I don’t teach data, I provide experience”.  Working exclusively with undergraduate students for the past 30 years, Warren began his teaching career as an Associate Professor of Music at Greenville College and then became Director of The Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, TN. Warren’s areas of interest and expertise are technology-centric. He has taught and worked professionally in the areas of recording, sound reinforcement, concert lighting and design, digital photography and video production. He is an accomplished jib and steadicam operator with master abilities in graphic design, modeling and animation and video editing/post production. Additionally, Warren has been a remote control (RC) operator for over 15 years and has built and operated a number of RC helicopters and drones. Currently, he holds an FAA, sUAS pilot license and consults for a variety of law enforcement and executive protection clients.

Natalie Ferwerda, Business Track Faculty & Hardscuffle Manager 

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MA (Entertainment and Media Mangement), Columbia College Chicago
BA (Music), North Park University

Natalie Ferwerda is an educator who brings a 12- year career in the live music industry to the classroom. Through her experience in production/event management, logistics coordination, and tour management, she has worked with a variety of artists, brands, and events including, but not limited to: Crosby, Stills and Nash; Weezer; The Neville Brothers; George Clinton; Matt Maher; Lollapalooza; Chicago Theatre; Groupon and Kraft. Two main components of Natalie's teaching philosophy are 1) providing current and relevant material to her students, aided by continuing her professional work in live music, and 2) preparing students well for employment upon graduation and helping those who "have what it takes" find employment. Toward that first goal, Natalie has spent the last 2 years as the Tour Manager for Grammy-nominated artist Matt Maher, and has brought that experience first-hand to students. Toward her second goal, she has placed dozens of CMC students directly into positions within the industry such as royalty administrators, digital marketing coordinators, production managers, and artist managers for well-known artists and companies in Nashville.

Brian Cofer, Technical Director 

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BA (Audio Engineering Technology), Belmont University
AA (Theater), Belmont University
AAS (Communications Applications Technology), Community College of the Air Force
AA (Russian Studies), Defense Language Institute

Brian Cofer is a life-long learner whose diverse interests make him a quite the renaissance man, while focusing his talents on music and technology. He has spent the last decade in the production world as both lighting designer and audio engineer for churches, music tours and conferences. His broad range of experience in music, theatre, acoustics, electronics, and woodworking/construction make him a modern MacGyver, teaching students to creatively solve problems under pressure to get the job done.
From the Mid-West to the West Coast, East Coast, and now in Nashville, Tennessee, Brian has honed his craft. As the Technical Director for The Contemporary Music Center, he pays attention to details and loves sharing his knowledge to help students stay competitive in this dynamic field.

Jenny Leininger, Program Administrator 

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MA (Higher Education) Geneva College
BA (Youth Ministry) Bethel University

Jenny Leininger seamlessly morphs between mentor and administrator, helping students make commitments to their dreams while managing the day-to-day operations of The Contemporary Music Center. Jenny’s marketing efforts, social media presence, and administrative systems keep the CMC thriving.

With a Master Degree and 10 years of experience working in Higher Education, this role fits her very well. She has experience in multiple settings on college campuses, everything from residence life to campus ministries to alumni relations and development. Jenny knows the Christian College culture very well and helps students navigate their future decisions beyond academia. Jenny’s involvement with students doesn’t stop after a student is enrolled. John and Jenny live down the street from the CMC with their three young children. Their home is often home base for students needing a break from the rigors of the CMC.

John Leininger, Residence Life Director & Facilities Manager 

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MA (Higher Education), Geneva College
BA (Communications), Bethel University

John Leininger is fun, personable and engages students well where they are. Students at the Contemporary Music Center lead lives beyond music and John in his Residence Life Director role is an integral part of that support. John has been working with college students for 10 years, with a Masters Degree in Higher Education, and having attended two CCCU institutions himself, he is beyond familiar with the particular life stage and unique needs of our students.

John is our resident handy man and serves as CMC’s facilities manager, staying after building repairs and maintenance issues.

Rick Elias, Artist Track Adjunct Professor 

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Rick is probably best known as a founding member of "A Ragamuffin Band", formed by the late Rich Mullins in the early '90's. Rick performed with Rich until Mullins' untimely death in September 1997. At that time - and at the request of Rich's family, estate, and record label - Rick resumed the production of Rich's posthumous release "The Jesus Record". "The Jesus Record" went on to win 2 Dove Awards, and had two # 1 songs, "My Deliverer" (sung by Rick) and "Nothing Is Beyond You" (sung by Amy Grant). The Rags released one more album, "Prayers Of A Ragamuffin" in 1999, produced by Rick. "Prayers" included his song "Make Me An Instrument", a musical rendering of St. Francis' Prayer and St. Patrick's Breastplate, which resulted in The Rags being invited to perform in Rome for World Youth Day (in August, 2000) before Pope John Paul II, as well as the 2.4 million people attending the event. Rick was also given the production reins for the official album for WYD, "One", which allowed him to produce one of his musical heroes, Aaron Neville, as well as many others who contributed generously to the project.

During this time ('95-'03) as a staff writer and producer for BMG, Rick cowrote and produced 5 songs for the Tom Hanks film "That Thing You Do!". He also contributed two songs to Bob Carlisle’s multi-platinum, #1 album "Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)". Rick's music and production can also be heard on the soundtrack for the hit movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", "Dawson's Creek", and numerous indie films and television pilots.

Luke DeJaynes, Adjunct Faculty 

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BA, (Commercial Music Performance), Greenville College

Luke DeJaynes leads by example. His students are first taught that “in doing, we learn”. Luke began studying drums when he was 4 years old and is an accomplished drum, percussion and guitar player. For the last twenty years, Luke has doubled as teacher and performer, playing over 125 live dates each year, working as a session drummer and guitarist, while maintaining a studio producing, engineering and mastering records. His clients include Grammy, Dove, and ACM winners Lacrae, Jana Kramer and J.R. Luke brings all of that experience to the classroom by providing direction in the Tour and Concert Production classes.

The Contemporary Music Center is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In order to view detailed job placement and graduation information on the programs offered by the Contemporary Music Center, please visit www.tn.gov/thec and click on the Authorized Institutions Data button. Click Here to view the transferability of credit disclosure statement.