Staff

Ben Outen

Ben Outen is the Founding and Artistic Director of The Choir School. After graduating from Yale and Furman Universities with degrees in organ performance and music theory, respectively, he came to North Carolina to serve as organist and choir master at First Presbyterian Church in Belmont. His long association with St. Peter’s began in 1992 when, after preparing a children’s choir for a performance with Opera Carolina, he founded the boy’s choir. During his tenure at St. Peter’s the boys choir has grown to include the five choirs of The Choir School.

Mr. Outen has traveled extensively throughout the United States and England with the choirs. He was instrumental in the procurement of St. Peter’s organ, Fisk Opus 136 and in the development of an Evensong series that includes singers from throughout the community. He had led classes for the Royal School of Church Music in America, and hosted and performed for the Association of Anglican Musicians Conference. In 2014, he hosted the Early Music America Board. He is Director of Music and Organist at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Kay Johnson

Kay Johnson is Managing Director of The Choir School. A founding member of the school’s staff, she has managed Choir School operations, financial reporting, rehearsal and concert scheduling, summer camps and tour for more than two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from North Carolina State University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from WVCOGS, now a component of Marshall University. She is the parent of three Choir School alumni. 

Kay Johnson

Elizabeth Lenti

Elizabeth Lenti began her role as Assistant Director of Music and Organist at St. Peter’s and Assistant Director at the Choir School in November 2014. A native of Rochester, NY, Elizabeth is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Before beginning work at the Choir School, she was Associate Director of Music and Worship at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, OH and has also served as a member of the organ faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is active as a recitalist, having performed on concert series throughout the United States, and has played at regional and national conventions of both the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Anglican Musicians. 

Colin Burns

Colin Burns conducts the Town Choirs, accompanies the choirs, teaches the introductory levels of music theory, and plays a lead role in chorister recruitment. A 2007 graduate of The Choir School and a founding member of the MasterSinger ensemble, he holds degrees in Church Music and Choral Conducting, respectively, from Furman University and Boston University. Colin has served as Music Director of New Life MCC at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Charlotte, and Assistant Director of Seminary Singers at Boston University School of Theology. He was Organist/Choir Director at Nahant Village Church in Nahant, Massachusetts, and Founding and Artistic Director of the Kendall Square Singers in Cambridge Massachusetts. Most recently, he served as Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Allison Elrod

Allison Elrod is Director of Development and Communications for The Choir School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A writer, publicist and marketing strategist, her expertise includes brand management, copywriting, event planning and promotion, public relations and fundraising. A poet and essayist, she serves on the board of CPCC’s Sensoria Arts Festival. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies that include The Living Church, Anglican Theological Review, Pembroke Magazine, and Cave Wall.

Kevin Beyer assists with the tenor section of the MasterSingers. He attended Wingate College, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. A private voice instructor, he has also appeared in various stage productions including “1776” and “Smoke on the Mountain.” He is a member of the St. Peter’s Choir and the Evensong Choir.

John Hall assists with the bass and tenor sections of the Master Singers.  He received his Bachelors of Science degree in psychology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia where he studied voice and saxophone in addition to performing in or vocal directing various musicals including Evita and The Canterbury Tales.  He holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Louisville and provides clinical video telehealth for veterans with PTSD and serves as the LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator for the Salisbury VA Healthcare System.  He has served as section leader and soloist for various local churches, synagogues, and community choruses.

Erik Johnson is a charter member of the Boys Choir at St. Peter’s and now assists with the bass section of the MasterSingers. A former North Carolina State University Park Scholar, he holds Bachelor of Science Degrees in both physics and mathematics, and earned a minor in Viola Performance. He has performed with a variety of musical ensembles including Renaissance and the Salisbury Symphony. He leads of team that tests trading software for Wells Fargo.