SFC members Wayman McCoy, Michelle Ruiz, Gary Richardson, Denna Purdie, and Jonathan Jones
Meet the Members
Wayman is first violinst and a founding member of Strings for Christ. He began studying the violin at the age of eight and continued to be active throughout high school and college. As an undergraduate at Howard University, where he earned a BS in Zoology and an MBA in Health Services Administration. he was an award-winning Concertmaster. He has appeared as a session violinist and soloist for numerous recordings for artists like Julia Nixon as well as on Donnie McClurkin’s live recording entitled “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs” recorded in July, 2004 and the Grammy Nominated recording entitled, “Richard Smallwood with Vision; Persuaded - Live in D.C.” recorded in 2001.
He has been involved as both a member of and contractor with the "Soulful Symphony". He is currently serving as Personnel Manager of the American Studio Orchestra (ASO) in Baltimore, MD and US Concert Manager for acclaimed Violinist Ji-Hae Park from Seoul, Korea and has performed at the Kennedy Center Opera House with the Pan American Symphony Orchestra (PASO). Wayman and his wife attend McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA where he is Concertmaster of the MBC orchestra.
Violinist / Violist
Reverend Jonathan Jones is a violinist and one of the founding members of Strings for Christ.
Rev. Jones is currently an Orchestra Teacher at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Va where he has served for 15 years. He also was a conductor and teacher at the DC Youth Orchestra Program for 22 years. In December, 2009 Rev. Jones joined the Takoma Park Baptist Church staff as the Children and Youth Minister.
Rev. Jones received his Bachelors of Music Degree from the Catholic University of America in June, 1990 and his Masters of Education from National Louis University. He graduated from the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in June, 2012 where he received his Master’s of Divinity Degree. He strives to shape all of his musical endeavors in obedience to the exhortation in Psalm 150 which says: “Praise the Lord with the Stringed Instrument.
Denna Purdie is a cellist and founding member of Strings for Christ.
She studied cello with Ronald Feldman (Boston Symphony) and Sieva Lezhnev. She was the first black female to join the US Marine Band, "The President's Own". She taught for D.C. Youth Orchestra Program and is a member of the Soulful Symphony.
Denna has been teaching cello, violin and violin at the Ottley Music School since 2000 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her students, beginners, intermediate and advanced. She has been also teaching at Fillmore Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C. since 1999. She has taught for the D.C.Youth Orchestra Program for many years.Besides teaching at OMS, she is the technical advisor for the string section of the Hyattsville Orchestra.
Like Wayman, Denna plays in the McLean Bible Church orchestra. Here is a clip from a recent performance at MBC.
Michelle M. Ruiz is also a founding member of Strings for Christ. She began her music instruction at the age of nine with the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program. As a member of the orchestra,she traveled to London, Scotland, Canada, and Japan. Michelle continued her training while pursuing a music degree at the Catholic University of America .
Michelle is a member of the Soulful Symphony and has also played with various orchestras in the area, including the Prince George’s Symphony, the Washington Sinfonia, and the UMBC Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with Howard Franklin Music.
Michelle is a member of Woodstream Baptist Church in Bowie, MD. She is employed full-time as a financial specialist and is also the mother of three.
A native Washingtonian, John Wineglass has performed in several orchestras and chamber ensembles both in the and abroad, performing his first viola concerto with the DC Youth Orchestra in 1984 at the age of eleven.
In 1994, Mr. Wineglass earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition with a minor in Viola Performance at The American University. Previously, he studied the viola for several years under Margaret Ward (The Washington Opera House Orchestra) and Osman Kivrak, D.M.A. (Baltimore Chamber Ensemble). He also completed several master classes at the annual Pablo Casals Festival at la Universidad de Puerto Rico under the tutelage of Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich (Conductor Laureate of the National Symphony Orchestra).
A native of Baltimore, Gary Richardson is an American bassist who performs many genres of music. He’s an instructor, charity supporter and a staunch advocate of the important role of music education for children of all ages. He has performed with a variety of national artist in small and large Jazz, R&B, and classical ensembles around the globe.
Gary has performed with such noted artists as Darin Atwater, American Studio Orchestra, Ethel Ennis, Gary Thomas, Gabrielle Goodman, Pieces Of A Dream, Kenny Kirkland, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Slide Hampton, Angela Bofield, Jean Carn, Ertha Kit, Babatunde Olatungi, Bill Mays and more. Love, Courtesy, Discipline and Respect for all is the creed he has learned to live by. “Music a language that transcends all cultural barriers”
Michael J. Sloan
Violist, Composer & Arranger
Michael Sloan was the original founder of Strings for Christ but went home to be with the Lord in 1996. He began instruction on the viola with the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program in 1977, attended the Catholic University as a viola major and graduated from the University of DC in Music Education. He also sang with his congregation's choir and with the Washington Male Chorale.He was also Assistant Principal Viola with the Prince William Symphony Orchestra. Although Michael never studied composition formally, he wrote more than a dozen original compositions and arrangements for strings. Many of Michael’s arrangements will be featured on Strings for Christ’s debut album entitled Tribute. It is a fitting tribute to Michael as one of the core members of the ensemble who demonstrated Christ’s love intentionally.
Strings for Christ's Debut CD: TRIBUTE
Strings for Christ is excited about the release of their first CD: TRIBUTE. Recording and editing of all tracks has been completed and the release is planned for 2014.
Selected Performances for Area Churches and Organizations
- Takoma Park Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- Vermont Avenue Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- Shiloh Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- New Bethel Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- Tenth Street Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- Long Reach Church of God in Christ (Celebration Church); Columbia, MD
- New Bethel Church of God in Christ; Washington, DC
- Faith Assembly of Christ DC
- McLean Bible Church; Vienna, VA
- Providence Baptist Church; McLean, VA
- Greater First Baptist Church; Washington, DC
- Metropolitan Baptist Church
- Capitol Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church; Washington, DC
- Breath of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church; Fort Washington, MD
- Church of the Redeemed of the Lord; Baltimore, MD
- Northeastern Presbyterian Church; Washington, DC
- Christ Church; Montclair, New Jersey
- Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Washington, DC
- Atlas Performing Arts Center; Washington, DC
- Green Door Community-Based Mental Health Center; Washington, DC
Hear Our Music
Watch Us in Action
This is a clip from Strings for Christ at First Baptist Church of Glenarden - February 10, 2002
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