Chicago Temple Music Ministry and Fine Arts Staff

Erik Nussbaum

Erik Nussbaum, Director of Music and the Arts 

Since 2004, Erik has witnessed and helped to lead the Temple’s music and arts programs through one of the richest artistic times in the Temple’s vast and diverse history.  It is an amazing honor and blessing for him to make music with so many talented and dedicated Christians.  The Temple Choir has premiered five of his choral works, including a Lenten setting of “The Lord’s Prayer,” Christmas works “Crib Hymn” and an “Ave Maria,” and most recently “Blessed Are,” a setting of The Beatitudes.  Erik is a graduate of Knox College (’93) and Westminster Choir College (’96).

Barry Wenger

Barry J. Wenger, Principal Organist

Barry Wenger is the Principal Organist at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple.

He provides music for four services each week and accompanies the Temple Choir. He also plays for numerous weddings and special tours at the church. With more than 20 years in church music, Barry finished the DMA in Organ Performance at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2003. His early studies were at the University of North Dakota, M.M. Organ Performance, 1995; and Minot State University, B.M. Organ and Piano Performance and B.S.E in K-12 Music Education – Choral, 1993. Dr. Wenger’s teachers include John Obetz and Mark Dimond – organ; Jane Solose – harpsichord and piano. He has concertized throughout the Midwest and the South and also teaches lessons privately.

Previously, he was Organist and Director of Worship and Music for more than 10 years at Central United Methodist Church, Kansas City, Missouri. He was also a Staff Organist at the Community of Christ Headquarters in Independence for 13 years, playing in recital and worship on the 114-rank Aeolian-Skinner organ and 102-rank Casavant tracker organ.

Dr. Wenger is a member of the American Guild of Organists, and has held many positions in the organization including being the Dean of the Greater Kansas City Chapter. He is enjoys playing the 92-rank/4-manual E.M. Skinner pipe organ (1923) in the sanctuary at the Chicago Temple and is helping to oversee fundraising and refurbishing of the historic instrument.

Kelly Tiebout


Rev. Kelly Tiebout, Gospel Choir Director

Under Rev. Tiebout’s leadership the Temple’s Gospel Choir has blessed our congregation with uplifting music since 2002. An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, Rev. Tiebout currently serves as Associate Minister of Third Baptist Church of Chicago. The Temple’s Gospel Choir has grown in voice and its ministry of song to the church community



Scott Lindstrom, is the first Composer-In-Residence at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. Under the guidance of, and in cooperation with the Director of Music, the Principal Organist, and the Fine Arts Committee Chairperson, the primary purpose of this position is to enliven the musical culture at the Chicago Temple through the presentation of new music composed for our musicians for Sunday worship services, and other musical events featuring our musical ensembles and/or soloists at the Chicago Temple. In addition to this assignment, the Composer-In-Residence will be required to engage and teach our music ministry members and congregation through planned pre-service lectures and workshops.
Lindstrom is an active composer and teacher in the Chicago area. He is a graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in music education and music composition. He has been writing music in several genres for 16 years and has had works performed by friends, colleagues, professors and school, community, and professional ensembles in the United States and England. Some of Lindstrom’s works include: Softly and Tenderly, In Paradise, How Can I Keep From Singing, Two Meditations, Image of the Invisible, Ninety and Petrichor.

Click to listen to a live recording of Petrichor 


E.M. Skinner Organ Info

View history

Chicago Temple Choir

Led by eight section leaders, the 35-voice Temple Choir continues to grow.  The choir learns and sings music from all eras of music history and from many of the world’s cultures that is appropriate for both the season and the liturgy of the day.  Our repertoire is vast and worldly, and we sing in many languages.  The choir enhances our worship greatly by leading in hymn singing, presenting anthems, and often solos every Sunday during the 11:00am service.  Rehearsals are every Wednesday evening from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the 3rd Floor Choir Room.

Chicago Temple Choir Section Leaders

The Choir’s section leaders are:

Karen R. Nussbaum and Anne Slovin, sopranos
Brenna Boncosky and Kathryn Wills, altos
Adam Doe and Jim Parsons, tenors
Michael Schafer and Bob Trautvetter, basses

 The section leader octet sings together in worship at 8:30am for the second, fourth, and fifth Sundays of each month.  However, it is because of their excellence as soloists that they are most admired and enjoyed by our congregation.  Being a section leader requires a commitment of one year, and they are called upon regularly to sing for weddings, memorials, and other special events in the artistic life of the Temple.      

Gospel Choir

The 12-voice Gospel Choir sings the authentic music of the African-American tradition, past and present.  They learn music in the oral tradition and rarely use printed music.  The ensemble sings during the 8:30am worship service on the first and third Sunday of each month.  They rehearse every Tuesday evening from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the 3rd Floor Choir Room.  They are led by Kelly Tiebout at the piano, and Charlie Braugham on drumset.  Gospel Choir Section Leaders:

Denise Yates, alto
Darnetta Jones, tenor
Adrian Dunn, baritone and tenor

Temple Strings

The Temple Strings are led by violinist David Myford, and sustained by amateurs of various age and skill level.  They provide excellent music for worship in a variety of ways throughout the year:  as soloists, as an ensemble, and as a chamber ensemble supporting a soloist or the choir.  They rehearse regularly either at 9:30am or at 12:15pm in the 3rd Floor Choir Room on Sundays, as arranged by their director.

Temple Winds

The Temple Winds are led by oboist Charles Emmons, Jr., and include flute, clarinet, bassoon, and horn players.  Rehearsals occur seasonally as arranged by their director, usually at 12:15pm on Sundays.

Temple Handbell Ensemble

The majority of the Temple’s eleven-member Handbell Ensemble have been playing together for eight years.  They play a wide variety of sacred music with a 3 octave set of Schulmerich Brass bells and 3 octaves of Suzuki hand chimes.  They rehearse on Monday evening from 6:00pm to 7:00pm and play in worship for the 11:00am service on the second Sunday of each month. Erik Nussbaum is the director.