Using the festival listing, you're invited to review our past festivals. We've held one every February since 2009.
Over the Mountain Festivals has been blessed to have several extremely talented accompanists over the years. Here is a brief look at these accomplished individuals who helped prepare the group and then performed so well in our concerts.
Karen Payne Krekelberg served as accompanist and organist for our Festival '19 season. She is currently serving as the Associate Director of Music and Arts/Organist at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church where she has been since 2011. Prior to this, she served as pianist/organist at Trussville First Methodist Church for 13 years, and other churches since the age of 16.
Karen earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Montevallo with an emphasis in piano pedagogy. While there, she studied piano with Robert Cowan and organ with Betty Louise Lumby. She has enjoyed teaching private piano as well as group classes to students of all ages over the years. Karen maintains a piano studio at the Conservatory of the Arts at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church and serves as head of the piano faculty. A mother of two grown children, she can often be found accompanying for various music groups and theatre productions around Birmingham, including The Birmingham Girls Choir and the Birmingham Harmony Belles.
Dianne Hooton Norton joined Over the Mountain Festivals again for the Festival '18 season, having previously served for Festivals '14 and '17. She grew up in Birmingham and is a magna cum laude graduate of Samford University with the Bachelor of Music degree in Organ. While at Samford, she studied organ with Ted Tibbs and piano with Witold Turkiewicz. Dianne served as Organist/Music Associate at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church for 43 years, beginning in 1968, as well as accompanist/organist for Colla Voce, a vocal ensemble founded by her son, Todd, from 2002 to 2011. She is married to Tommy and they are the proud parents of three children, Todd, Brink, and Ashley, and grandparents of five.
Daniel (Dan) Edward Lawhon, a Kentucky native, served as accompanist for the Over the Mountain Festival for Festivals '15 and '16. Playing in churches since age 9, he has been a service player, accompanist, clinician (both in organ and handbells) and has performed recitals throughout the United States, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, Germany, and Moscow, Russia. As an undergraduate earning his bachelor of church music degree at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Dan was the accompanist for Belmont Chorale, Consort Singers, and Oratorio Chorus. In 2010, he and his wife, Sherrie, were awarded the Encore Award from the music faculty at Belmont University, an annual award presented to outstanding graduates in recognition of success in the field of classical music.
Dan holds both the master of church music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the School of Church Music of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he studied organ with Boyd Jones and Donald Hustad. He has done post-doctoral study in improvisation at the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative, 2010.
Dan is presently the Organist/Choirmaster at Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham where he has been since 2008. He was Associate Minister of Music/Organist at First Baptist Huntsville from 1999-2008 where concurrently he was the co-director then director of the civic handbell ensemble, the Heritage Ringers of Huntsville (2006-2013). He has served as organist in churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, and is currently a member of the civic handbell ensemble, Embellishments. Additionally, he is an adjunct faculty member at Samford University where he has taught organ since 2008. Dan has been a member of the Area 6, Handbell Musicians of America board from 2007-2015 as treasurer, chair-elect, chair, and past chair. He is the current Dean of the Birmingham Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Jamie McLemore served as accompanist for the Festivals during our first five years, Festivals '09–'13. He serves as Organist and Music Associate at South Highland Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama; a position he has held since September, 2009. Prior to this position, he served as organist for Briarwood Presbyterian Church, also in Birmingham, for over 19 years.
A native of Birmingham, he began formal piano lessons with Susie Francis Dempsey as one of her first students at Trusswood Piano Studios in Birmingham. Mr. McLemore graduated from the University of Alabama where he was a student of the late Warren Hutton. Additional study has been with Dr. Patricia Fitzsimmons, Dr. James Dorroh, and at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey with emphasis on children's choirs. Mr. McLemore has studied improvisation with Mr. Herbert Buffington in Atlanta, Georgia. An active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Guild of Organists, he has served that chapter as Sub-Dean and Dean, chair of the Hospitality Committee, and on the Executive Board. Mr. McLemore was the Director of the POE (Pipe Organ Encounter) held in Birmingham in June, 2011. He has also served as organ consultant to churches in Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia.