Faculty Profiles

Dr. Paul Plew

Chairperson, Department of Music
Professor of Choral Studies
B.S.M., Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania
M.M., Pacific Lutheran University
Ed.D., Nova Southeastern University
Joined TMC 1979

Paul T. Plew, Ed.D., has been the chairperson of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at The Master's College since 1979. He was educated at Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania; Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington; and received his Doctorate in Education with Music specialization from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is a member of the American Choral Director's Association, co founder and past president of the Santa Clarita Music Educators Association, and past president of the National Association of Church Musicians (formerly Choral Conductors Guild). Dr. Plew has adjudicated for, as well as participated in, numerous choral festivals around the nation. His emphasis in the classroom includes conducting, church music and choral-related classes, and hymnology.

Dr. Plew conducts the Collegiate Singers, a one-hundred-sixty voice campus choir, The Master's Chorale, a sixty-five member choir, and Majesty, a small contemporary directions group. He has led these groups on tours to England, Ireland, Russia, Canada, Italy, Israel, Germany, Spain, and virtually every state in the union. In May of 2003 he conducted The Master's Chorale in a solo concert at Carnegie Hall. In the spring of 2006, Dr. Plew was granted a sabbatical which took him to England and Ireland to study the life and hymnody of Charles Wesley. In 2007 he was invited back to Carnegie Hall to conduct the mass choir in "The Rutter Gloria" and Don McCullough's "Canite Tuba." His choirs have recorded for Word, Fred Bock Music, Lillenas Publishing, Ligoiner Ministries, and Pavanne Publishing companies as well as numerous custom albums for the college. In March, 2008, The Master's Chorale recorded, by request, an album for Ligoiner Ministries. In addition to his ministry at the college, he also serves as Music Pastor at Santa Clarita Baptist Church in Canyon Country, California. Dr. Plew led the faculty of the Music Department in the accreditation process through the National Association of Schools of Music, which was granted in November, 2007.

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Dr. Stephen Opfer

Professor of Instrumental Studies & Music Education
B.M., University of Northern Iowa
M.M., California State University, Fullerton
D.M.A., University of Southern California
Joined TMC 1992

Dr. Opfer is director of instrumental studies and is head of the music education track. His responsibilities include director of the wind ensemble and jazz band, overseeing the music computer lab, coordinating the applied instrumental instructors and chamber ensembles. Dr. Opfer completed his undergraduate degree in music education with an emphasis in trombone performance. He taught bands and orchestras in public and Christian high schools for twenty years during which he received a Masters degree in instrumental conducting. Dr. Opfer served as adjunct music instructor at Biola University while beginning work on a doctorate. While at TMC, he completed his doctorate in music education that includes specific training in conducting, computer technologies, and music history. Dr. Opfer is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society, Music Educators National Conference, College Music Society, and the College Band Directors National Association. He serves as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and trombonist at numerous musical events including national music organizations such as Music in the Parks and Festivals of Music.

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Dr. Kimberlyn Jones

Professor of Vocal Studies & Opera
B.M., Mississippi University for Women
M.M., D.M.A., University of Texas at Austin
Joined TMC 1986

Dr. Kimberlyn Jones, mezzo-soprano, specialized in opera performance for her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The University of Texas at Austin, with a Master's degree in vocal performance. She serves on the music faculty at The Master's College as Director of Vocal Studies and Opera. Dr. Jones spends the greatest part of her time teaching private voice and directing the opera, for which she has been recognized in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers". She has performed in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England and Wales, as well as the Southern, Southwestern and Eastern seaboard states and in California. She has more than 25 opera roles to her credit and has also sung many solo recitals and appeared as soloist in numerous chamber music concerts and oratorio performances. A highlight of this activity was serving as alto soloist with The Master's Chorale at Carnegie Hall in 2007. Dr. Jones teaches master classes in voice and adjudicates vocal competitions on the national, regional and local levels. She is a member of both Sigma Alpha Iota and Pi Kappa Lambda music honorary societies. In addition, she is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and serves on the board of NATSLA. Dr. Jones also holds membership in the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Classical Singers Association of Los Angeles, The Opera Buffs of Los Angeles, The Opera League of Los Angeles, and has been a performing member of the Opera Guild of Southern California. She and her husband, Taylor, who is head of the TMC Science and Math Departments, have two grown children, Marcella and Trevor, and one grandchild. Dr. Jones is a member of Grace Community Church, through which she and her husband have long hosted a Bible study in their home.

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Dr. Carolyn Simons

Professor of Musicology
B.M., M.M., Baylor University
Ph.D., The University of Iowa
Joined TMC 1999

Dr. Simons teaches Music History, Literature, World Music, and conducts the Women's Chamber Choir. After completing her master's degree, Dr. Simons took a 16-year break from academia to raise six children with her husband Jack (Chairperson, Communication Department). She returned to school at The University of Iowa in 1987 to pursue a doctorate in musicology, then spent the school year 1991-92 in Nuremberg, Germany on a Fulbright grant for dissertation studies. From 1992 to 1998 she taught courses at Cedarville College in Music, English composition, German and French, led a missionary team to Germany and started and served as advisor for the German club. Dr. Simons has been on the board of Governors for the American Musical Instrument Society and has been chairman of the archive and nominating committees. She has given numerous papers at their meetings as well as at meetings of the Midwestern Historical Keyboard Society and at a special conference celebrating the 300th anniversary of the piano's invention. In August, 2003, she gave a presentation at a joint meeting of the Galpin Society and the American Musical Instrument Society in Edinburgh. She has written entries for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Garland Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments: Vol. III, The Harpsichord and Clavichord, book reviews for The Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, their newsletter, and several articles for Continuo magazine. Dr. Simons currently writes articles for the music department and served as coordinator for the self-study leading to accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music.

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Dr. Ruta Bloomfield

Assistant Professor of Music
B.M., Bowling Green State University
M.M., Northwestern University
D.M.A., Claremont Graduate University
Joined TMC 1989

Dr. Bloomfield is known for her enthusiastic teaching style.  She instructs the four-semester sequence of Music Theory: Aural Skills, all sections of Introduction to Music and Art in various formats (day classes, Degree Completion Program evening classes, and TMC online), and harpsichord lessons.  She created a humanities course called Arts in Culture: Music, Film, and Art for DCP.  Ably filling in where needed, she has also taught teacher education music classes.  An active recitalist, she released a CD called Music from Versailles (available at featuring the four suites for harpsichord by Bernard de Bury, the subject of her doctoral thesis.  The same music has been performed in concert a total of four times, including as guest artist for Point Loma Nazarene University and for the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society.  In 2013 and again in 2014 she presented a paper called “The French Connection:  Influence of François Couperin on Bernard de Bury” at the annual meeting of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America in Williamsburg, VA and the 16th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music in Salzburg, Austria respectively.  Her critical edition, Four Suites for Harpsichord by Bernard de Bury, was published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 2014.  After receiving a B.M. in Music History and Literature and Harpsichord Performance at Bowling Green State University (Ohio), she completed a M.M. degree in Musicology and Harpsichord Performance at Northwestern University (Illinois). She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Historical Performance Practices at Claremont Graduate University in 2008.  Her goal in performing and teaching is to be a blessing to others with the gifts God has given her by playing skillfully to His glory (Psalm 33:3).  Dr. Bloomfield is active in a local church, with a special interest in global outreach. She is also an avid softball player and hiker.  Visit her website at

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Dr. Kenneth Mays

Adjunct Faculty, Piano
B.M., Fort Wayne Bible College
M.M., Ph.D., Indiana University
Joined TMC 1986

Dr. Ken Mays is the resident Professor of Piano at The Master's College.  He received his MM and Ph.D. from Indiana University.  Dr. Mays has played solo recitals throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Great Britain for more than 40 years.  He was on the staff of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College for 19 years before coming to The Master's College in 1986.  He has also presented papers at several American Musicological Society conferences. More locally, Dr. Mays is a member of the Music Teacher's Association of California and the San Fernando chapter of NACM.  He has been an adjudicator for various piano competitions and has been involved in church music ministry for most of his life.  Dr. Mays' latest recording is titled "Reflections & Praise", a series of hymn arrangements for piano.

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Prof. Claire Blackwell

Freshman Music Advisor
Adjunct Faculty, Music & Mathematics
B.A., Concordia College
Joined TMC 1982

Prof. Blackwell has been ringing handbells since 1977 with a special interest in solo ringing. She co-authored a book on solo techniques for handbells and has taught at workshops in national and regional handbell festivals. In the Fall of 1982, Prof. Blackwell came to The Master's College to teach students ringing techniques and specifics for directing handbell choirs. Prof. Blackwell taught mathematics at the junior and senior high school level before coming to The Master's College and enjoys tutoring in mathematics at all levels.

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Prof. Lauren Shackelford

Faculty, Piano, Piano Pedagogy and Music Theory
M.M., University of Oklahoma
B.M., Cedarville University
Joined TMC 2007

Prof. Shackelford is an Instructor in Piano, Piano Pedagogy and Music Theory at The Master's College. A Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), she currently maintains a piano studio in Valencia, California and performs as a collaborative pianist in the Santa Clarita Valley. She received her M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma and her B.M. with highest honors in Keyboard Pedagogy from Cedarville University. She is also the recipient of several awards including the Music Teacher's National Association Star Award, the Gail Boyd deStwolinski Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Dorothy Detrick Kendall Memorial Piano Scholarship, and the Cedarville University Faculty Scholarship Award. Prof. Shackelford is an experienced piano teacher, having taught lessons from beginning through collegiate levels since 2000. Prior to her employment at The Master's College, she was on the faculty of the First Baptist Fine Arts Academy in Norman, Oklahoma and taught piano lessons in both Fairborn, Ohio and Cedarville, Ohio. Prof. Shackelford is a member of the Music Teachers' Association of California, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the National Federation of Music Clubs.

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Adjunct/Studio Faculty

Prof. Kellie Cunningham, Piano & Piano Pedagogy
Prof. Sarah Wallin Huff, Composition
Prof. Sarah Dixon, Voice
Prof. John Martin, Audio Technology Coordinator
Prof. Tricia Hulet, Theatre Arts
Prof. Tavi Jinariu, Guitar
Prof. Michael Ferril, Violin
Prof. Robert Berg, Viola
Prof. Janet Crouch Shulman, Cello
Prof. John Hester, String Bass
Prof. Ryan Foglesong, Electric Bass
Prof. Gary Woodward, Flute

Prof. William Powell, Clarinet
Prof. Marissa Honda, Oboe
Prof. Tim Dolinar, Saxophone
Prof. Maciej Flis, Bassoon
Prof. David Johns, Trumpet
Prof. Nathan Campbell, French Horn
Prof. Loren Marsteller, Trombone
Prof. Beth Mitchell, Tuba
Prof. Mark Converse, Percussion
Prof. Ben Mason, Organ & Pop Music Theory
Prof. Jane Grothe-Ferruzzo, Harp
Prof. Scott Weber, Audio Technology
Prof. Keith Rogers, Audio Technology
Prof. Mauricio Gasca, Audio Technology
Prof. Jana Gruss, Music Education

Guest Faculty