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.


Ryan Lampa, Technical Director 

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Ryan Lampa has worked in the music industry since 2001 in everything from working in merchandising to production to tour management. He currently designs and coordinates shows for major touring acts. Previous to that he was the tour manager, production manager and front of house audio engineer for CCM recording artist TobyMac from 2005-2017. In other words, he’s quite a juggler, has teleporting powers and grants wishes. No he’s not a genie, but working magic on the road seems to be his specialty. Speaking of magic, he’s been honing his skills since 2001, supporting countless artists in various ways across all types of music. Lampa also serves on the leadership team of People Loving Nashville, a non-profit that specializes in building community by meeting the physical needs of the poor, all in the name of Jesus. Ryan rarely gets off the bus anymore, you can find him hanging out with his lovely wife and 1-year old son. Together they explore the outdoors, travel the world and learn what it means to love and be loved.


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.