Conductors

Larry F. Preiss, assistant conductor (2005 – present)

Larry Priess served as Youth Choir Director of the Grace Methodist Church in Miami, FL, while he was still in high school. He was later appointed to serve as Choir Director of the Callahan Methodist Church in Callahan, FL, before moving to Georgia. He has a Masters Degree in Information Technology from American InterContinental University and recently retired from Cisco Systems in Lawrenceville, GA.

Larry has served as interim Choir Director of GFUMC in Gainesville. He is currently playing clarinet in the Northwinds Symphonic Band and in the Believers Concert Band. He met his wife, Brenda, of 44 years in a church choir. They have two children and six grandchildren.

Dianasue Walton, assistant conductor (2014 – present)

Dianasue Walton serves as instructor of woodwinds and director of the Woodwind Ensemble at Piedmont College. Ms. Walton’s distinguished career as a performer and music educator includes over 30 years of teaching at the middle school, high school and college levels. She also maintains a private clarinet studio from which students have earned prestigious awards and placement in important youth symphonies in Georgia.

Dianasue served as principal clarinet for the Gainesville Symphony for nearly twenty years, and currently is principal clarinet with the Northwinds Symphonic Band. She played lead alto sax and clarinet for the professional dance band American Patrol Orchestra. Ms. Walton holds the Master of Music Education degree from the University of Georgia and the Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Memphis (formerly Memphis State University). She is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, Windjammers Unlimited, and the Georgia Retired Educators Association.

Dianasue has two children, Steven and Sarah. Steven is based in Atlanta as an accomplished ‘jack of all trades’ in the film industry. Sarah is working as a freelance musician, playing french horn, in Israel.

Dr. Lee G. Barrow, assistant conductor (2016 – present)

Dr. Lee G. Barrow, professor of music, has been teaching music theory, composition, conducting, music theater and music technology at University of North Georgia since 2001. A native of Atlanta, Barrow received a master’s degree in composition from Florida State University and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Miami. His experience includes over 35 years as a college teacher, conductor, administrator, and musical theater director. He has conducted collegiate, church, community and professional choral and orchestral ensembles of all types and has directed or conducted over 100 performances of more than 30 different musical theater presentations.

Barrow’s publications include fifteen books and monographs, a dozen professional articles, a madrigal dinner script, and compositions published by Lorenz, Beckenhorst Press, Colla Voce Music, MorningStar, Plymouth Music and others. He has achieved an international reputation as an expert on Italian composer Ottorino Respighi and also in the identification and correction of errors in editions of major choral works; his research in the latter area has led to numerous articles as well as a new performing edition of Camille Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio. His annotated bibliography on Respighi is one of the best-selling books about this noted composer, and his original composition Festive Bell Flourish has ranked among the top-selling handbell works at Lorenz. 

Other assistant conductors

  • Steve Giove
  • Michael Rossi

Richard L. Petty, conductor and co-founder (2002 – 2017)

Richard attended Murray State University, KY on a drum major scholarship, where he majored in trombone and minored in voice. While there, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and Masters Degree in Music Education. While at Lone Oak High School, he started the distinguished Kentucky Colonel Band. By the end of his eighth year of teaching high school and middle school, over 500 students were enrolled in the instrumental program. His students earned over 250 Superior ratings at the Kentucky Music Educators Association solo and ensemble contests. The Lone Oak High School Kentucky Colonel Marching Band successfully competed in marching events from Miami to Chicago and was selected to represent the State of Kentucky for the inauguration of President Lyndon Johnson.

Richard received the Duke of Paducah Award from the City of Paducah, KY, and was named a Kentucky Colonel by Bert Combes, Governor of Kentucky, for his work in music education. In the fall of 1968, Richard was appointed Principal of Lone Oak Elementary School and in 1979, he was elected President of the Murray State University Alumni Council.

Richard is married to Rita Humphreys Petty. They have been married for over 50 years and have three daughters and seven grandchildren. Rita plays timpani in the Believers Concert Band.

In 2002, Richard was a Co-founder and Director of the Believers Band. Under his leadership, the band grew from five members to forty-five talented musicians.  The band is thankful and honored to have Richard as our founding director.  The band would not be what it is today without Richard’s leadership, vision and musical talents. Richard invested his time and talents in the band and it paid off big time with many memorable concerts and wonderful experiences for band members and our audiences. Richard was a master at getting the best out of each individual regardless of talent level.  Thanks, Richard!

Read more with Q&A with Richard Petty

Beth Bryant, assistant conductor (2009 – 2015)

Beth Bryant has Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from Boston University and a Master in Clarinet Performance from Northern Illinois University. She has also completed her Education Specialist degree from Piedmont College and initiated a Ph. D. program in Music Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Ms. Bryant has taught at all levels of music classes over her 27 year career from pre-K through college. She has taught in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia. She was Music Director and Conductor for the Quabbin Community Band in Barre, MA, for 20 years and was Director/Conductor for the Summer Wind Ensemble at the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA, for 10 summers. She was co-founder and principal clarinetist for the Massachusetts Wind Orchestra.

Ms. Bryant is an adjunct trainer for the Education Through Movement program which is a division of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation based in Ypsilanti, MI, and has presented movement and music workshops for educators nationwide.

 Bill Risinger, assistant conductor (2010 – 2015)

Bill Risinger was born in Yuma, AZ, into a family with an extremely long and rich Christian heritage. He has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies. Bill married Patti in 1979, and they have four children and one grandchild.

Bill and Patti have served the Lord together since 1978, in a variety of ministries. They have ministered throughout the world via a traveling music and drama ministry which Bill founded and directed called DIDOMI. They have served fulltime ministry in several churches in Texas and California.

Bill is grateful that God has led them to Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville where he now serves as the Minister of Crosspoint Worship & Senior Adults.

The Believers Concert Band is thankful for the service, leadership, guidance and inspiration that Bill provided to the band.