Laura Goodwin Cello

  • Laura Goodwin

My music exposure began as a young child, taught by my mother, a music major. We were brought up on nursery rhymes, eileen farrel, johnny cash, railroad songs and symphonies. In my youth, my sister, a violinist and I played for hs musicals, church, city, state and college orchestras. My father always felt so thrilled that a string quartet was part of his family with our mother on violin, as well as my oldest sister violin, the youngest sister on viola and myself on the cello.

As a member of the Omaha Symphonic Chorus for the past year we sing annually at the St Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha for Christmas. Recently the chorus was among those choirs chosen worldwide for a trip in June 2021 to perform and tour Paris with other choirs. Due to the pandemic that has been placed on hold, until June 2022. 

I’m a member of an Irish ladies band which plays music 300 hundred years and older. The idea is to keep folk song music from Ireland, Scotland and England among our repertoire. We’ve played at the Midland’sBusiness Journal Award breakfast, shops in Aksarben, the “Pink Poodle” restaurant in Crescent, Ia and a nun’s retirement party.

Over the past 10 years I’ve taught privately cello students at a home studio and at St. Paul’s music conservatory in CB, IA. 

Each student is taught the basic fundamentals of cello  and are encouraged to play in their communities.

This is the 50th year I’ve played cello and ensembles have included: string quartets, and string trios, the Littleton Symphony Orch, Arvada Orch, CU Boulder CO orch, Heartland Phil, Orch Omaha and All State Orch (CO) and a variety of musical groups.

I’ve also coached cello sectionals with OAYO (Omaha Area Youth Orchestra) Prelude and Youth Concert strings groups, participated in Grace University Homeschool groups (beginning and Intermediate) with my son, string groups at church, and at many weddings. I also played for a recent fund raiser for Hope-Net Ministries at the PACE arts center, where money was raised to help women released from prison to have a better life.

Music gives a person a way to express themselves individually or in a group and experience the music of many composers. It’s a gift the my mother passed down to us and I passed on down to the next generation. It’s a universal language and very important for me to share and teach other’s to experience the joy music gives. 

I enjoy spending time with my husband and young adult kids now out of the house, collect old recipe books, read, travel, and play music with my family and friends. My husband plays hammered dulcimer and various woodwind instruments and budhron and other drum. My daughter studies voice at UNO and plays the piano and hammered dulcimer, and my son plays guitar and sings as well.

  • Nathan Sherrill

Rev. Nathan Sherrill was raised in the mid Michigan cities of Marshall and Lansing.  He played baseball for Grand Rapids Community College and later received a BA in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  Following undergraduate studies he received a Master of Divinity Degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN.  Rev. Sherrill has served in Council Bluffs for his entire ministry of 13 years, first as an Associate Pastor, then as Sole Pastor and now Head Pastor.  During his time in Council Bluffs he has provided vision and leadership for the creation and development of the following educational and service based outreaches:  St. Paul’s Lutheran Early Childhood Center, St. Paul’s Christ Academy, St. Paul’s Camp Creation and St. Paul’s Music Conservatory.   Rev. Sherrill is know for his passion for collaboration in ministry and as result, has served as chair of Love CB and has nurtured many strong partnerships in the greater Council Bluffs area including Kahl Therapy Corner, housed within St. Paul’s Lutheran Early Childhood Center and Spence Counseling Services, housed within the studios of St. Paul’s Music Conservatory. 

Currently Rev. Sherrill provides pastoral oversight for St. Paul’s ministries especially in the area of expansion and development.  St. Paul’s was recently recognized as a District Ministry Partner of the Iowa District West of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, one of 5 churches out of 172, for creativity in mission work and exceeding expectations of parish ministry.  Part of this recognition relates to the rapid expansion of St. Paul’s Music Conservatory seen through its increased enrollment and plans for sustaining the creation of resources and strategic development services offered to churches and schools around the country and in the foreign mission field.  Rev. Sherrill has become a regular grant writer and has received significant grants relating to collaborations between the Music Conservatory and other educational institutions, including St. Paul’s own Early Childhood Center.    

Rev. Sherrill is married to Tina, who is also a piano faculty member of the Conservatory, and together they are the parents of 7 children.

  • Timothy Frank

Rev. Timothy Frank was raised on his parents’ farm near Dexter, MN. His music studies began with piano lessons at age 7 and organ lessons at age 11. He also began taking trumpet lessons at age 11 and participated in band and orchestra in the Austin Public Schools.  In the fall of 2003, he began his studies at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN and graduated with his B.A. in the spring of 2007 (church music major and religious studies minor).  Pastor Frank entered Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN in the fall of 2007 and received his M.Div. in the spring of 2011. During his third year of seminary, he vicared at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lincoln, KS (2009-2010).  While attending seminary, Pastor Frank sang in the Seminary Kantorei and the Fort Wayne Bach Collegium. He also assisted with handbells, choir, and organ at Emmanuel – Soest Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne. 

Pastor Frank was ordained and installed in July 2011 as Pastor of St. Paul and Immanuel Lutheran Churches, Charter Oak, IA and St. Luke Lutheran Church, Ricketts, IA.  Upon receiving a divine call to serve as Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs, Pastor Frank prayerfully accepted and was installed in June 2016.  In addition to serving as Associate Pastor, he serves as Administrator of St. Paul’s Music Conservatory and as a piano teacher within the Conservatory.

Pastor Frank completed a Masters Degree in Church Music from Concordia University Wisconsin (2014), where he studied organ with Dr. John Behnke. Pastor Frank has performed as a recitalist within the region and is a member of the Omaha Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Pastor and his wife Sandra are blessed with five children: Samuel, Jonathan, Daniel, Matthew, end Ella.  The Franks enjoy spending time with family, working outdoors, and gardening.

Of the gift of music, Pastor Frank writes, “Music is a gift of God to be used for His glory and as a reflection of His beauty. As administrator and as a teacher at the Conservatory, I am delighted to be able to instill the love of music within our students and to encourage them to use their gifts in service to God and to their neighbor.” 

  • Dr. J. Gordon Christensen


J. Gordon Christensen is a native of Dannebrog, a farming community in the central part of Nebraska,  known as the “Danish Capital” of the state.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Hastings College, and Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Post graduate work includes the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Christensen served as the Elementary Music Specialist in the Imperial, Nebraska school system for 41 years.  In 2000, he was the recipient of the “Teacher of the Year” for the State of Nebraska and the national “Teacher of the Year” award sponsored by the Foundation for Rural Education and Development, headquartered in Washington D. C.

Upon retirement from education, Dr. Christensen moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa to become the organist and director of music for St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

Active in the American Guild of Organists, he has earned three of the four certificates of the guild:  the Service Playing Certificate (SPC), the Colleague American Guild of Organists (CAGO), and the Associate American Guild of Organists (AAGO).   Currently dean of the Omaha Chapter of the Guild, he has also served as the education chairman for the Lincoln Chapter.  In Omaha, he is on the board of directors of the Cathedral Arts Project for St. Cecilia’s Cathedral (Roman Catholic).

He has appeared in recital across the United States, Germany, Slovakia, and major cities in Russia, including Moscow.  Co-founder of the Bach Research Library headquartered in Moscow, the library serves the needs of the organ staff and students of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Lutheran churches within several hundred mile radius of Moscow, and the Lutheran churches in Finland.

A bachelor, Dr. Christensen lists collecting original oil paintings by Nebraska artists; collecting Victorian and Art Nouveau art glass; entertaining; travel and driving his Corvette convertible as hobbies.

  • Christa Shepherd

Christa Shepherd teaches voice and piano. She will complete her Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree in May of 2021 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Christa specializes in teaching operatic vocal styles and is also trained in singing and teaching musical theater. She has studied privately both piano and voice with doctorate-level musicians in the Omaha metro area for over ten years.

Christa has performed in several operas at UNO. She has appeared as “The 1st Witch” in Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneus” in 2017, “Papagena” in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” in 2019, and she will appear as “Gretel” in this semester’s production of “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck.

Christa also participates in musical competitions including Kansas NATS 2019, and was the recent winner of the Heartland Concerto Aria Competition in 2020.

Christa has a keen love for music, a gift for teaching children, and an abiding love for the Lord. Her philosophy of pedagogy is this: becoming a student of her students is the key to uncovering their motivation and learning styles with the goal of developing their gift in music to the glory of God.

Outside of teaching and performing, Christa enjoys tutoring French, home decorating, and playing tennis with her husband Josh.

  • Cheryl Haines

Cheryl Haines started taking piano lessons at the age of seven.  She began teaching students of her own in junior high, and has continued teaching for more than 40 years.  Cheryl encourages pianists at every level to reach their full potential and hopes to instill in them a life-long love for music.  She enjoys teaching beginning students, as well as advanced students and adults, giving them new ideas in technique and interpretation.

Cheryl has enjoyed many forms of musical performance as a pianist, accompanist for various school, church and community choruses, and musical theatre.

For 16 years, she has been the accompanist and assistant choir director at Thomas Jefferson High School.  She currently plays organ and piano/ keyboard at New Horizon Presbyterian Church, as well as being the bell choir director.  

Cheryl serves as President of Council Bluffs Music Teachers and chairperson for the Iowa Federation of Music Clubs music festival, a festival which is hosted at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.  

Cheryl received an Associate of Arts degree majoring in business from Iowa Western Community College.

As a personal note, Cheryl is the mother of 3 children, and has 13 awesome grandchildren.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading and gardening.

  • Kirsten Meyer
  • Kirsten Meyer

Kirsten's music instruction began with piano lessons at age 8, and she began playing the viola, her primary instrument, at age 10. She received a bachelor's degree in music and psychology from St. Olaf College, and master's degree in music therapy from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Since completing her music therapy internship and becoming board certified, she has provided individual and group music therapy for a variety of populations and settings, including early childhood, mental health of all ages, geriatrics, hospice, and veterans. She has served on various music therapy committees at the regional and national level. Kirsten is a member of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and performs on occasion with other local ensembles as well. As a music therapist, Kirsten values the opportunity to help students and clients not only improve music skills, but also to use music to address physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and spiritual needs.

  • Laura Nelson

Coming Soon

  • Deb Ramirez

Debra Ramirez has had a love of singing from a young age. While in elementary and secondary school, she was a member of every choir possible. That love of music-making inspired her to pursue teaching. After receiving her Bachelor in Music Education from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2012, Debra accepted a 6-12th grade Vocal Music teaching position at Saint Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs until 2018.  Currently Deb is pursuing her Masters in Music Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has recently attained her Kodály certification. Debra is the director of the St. Peter's Festival Choir in Council Bluffs and a member of the Council Bluffs Evening Musicale.

When not teaching, Debra happily lives in Omaha and occasionally performs with community choirs.

  • Mike Rollins
  • Mike Rollins

Mike Rollins discovered his passion for music at a young age while singing along with the music on television. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of 12 and has been playing and performing ever since. He has played for various venues as a soloist, including church services and weddings. He also belongs to a classic rock/oldies/country/blues band called “Mac and the Bulldogs.”
Mr. Rollins was one of the original teachers at St. Paul’s in 2007.  Through his teaching and playing, he endeavors to inspire the passion of music within others.  His lessons are custom-tailored to each individual based upon their skills, interests, and goals. Students learn basic theory along with ear training. Mr. Rollins teaches a wide range of ages (9-75+), urging that it’s never too late to pursue a musical interest. In explaining the value of music, he states, “Music exercises the mind and feeds the soul.”

  • Lisa Shelton

Lisa Shelton grew up on her family’s farm outside of Glenwood, Iowa.  Her musical studies began in 5th grade when she started playing the saxophone in beginning band.  She participated in the band and choir programs at Glenwood until she graduated.  Lisa than attended the University of Northern Iowa and graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education degree with a double major in instrumental and vocal music education.  She has 11 years of public and parochial school teaching experience—most recently as the 5-12 Band and HS Choir director at the Stanton, Iowa CSD and the 6-12 Band Director at the Villisca, Iowa CSD.

Lisa writes, “I know that music is a gift from God, and I look forward to helping the music students nurture and develop their gifts and talents, as well as create in them a love and joy for music by demonstrating my love and passion for it.

  • Tina Sherrill


Music was a part of life for Mrs. Sherrill growing up in central Nebraska.  By the 4th grade, she was asked to play in church for the first time and has not stopped since!  In grade school and high school she was quickly identified as accompanist for school choirs and church ensembles.  In 2002, Mrs. Sherrill received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  Because of her natural love of both children and music, she operates a piano studio that is highly conducive for nurturing beginning and intermediate piano students.  Along with Mr. Rollins, Mrs. Sherrill was one of the founding teachers at St. Paul’s.  Mrs. Sherrill is a member of the Council Bluffs Music Teachers Association, is married to Pastor Nathan Sherrill of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and is a mother of seven children.

  • John Timm

John Timm realized his love of music early, starting trumpet in 4th grade.  He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education K-12 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and completed some Master’s work in composition.  He spent some time substitute teaching for band and choir in the Omaha area and found, to his surprise, that he especially enjoyed the beginning students.  For a short time, he co-owned a recording studio mostly recording local high school bands, choirs and orchestras.  Since beginning full time in the human resources department at Securitas in 2000, John has continued to share his love of music by playing trumpet regularly in worship and by doing recordings for local Omaha organizations such as Sing Omaha.  John is excited to serve at St. Paul’s Conservatory because he loves music education and the unique mission of St. Paul’s within the community.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church
239 Frank Street
Council Bluffs, IA 515038

Phone: (712) 322-4729
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