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James W. Rash, Music Director

Appointed by The Nodaway Chorale Board of Trustees in July 2018, Jim has been a singing member of the Chorale since 2016 and has also been serving recently as a member of the Board and Executive Director.  Active memberships include American Choral Directors Association, Missouri Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America.

Jim brings an extensive choral music background to the position. He has sung in various church choirs for over 59 years and is currently in the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church, Maryville, MO. Previously he was Choir Director at St. Andrews UMC, Alexandria, VA, Assistant Choir Director of Lincolnia UMC, Alexandria, VA, and a member of the Hackensack (NJ) UMC choir as a singer for 10 years, then Music Director for 26 years. 

He was a member of the Orpheus Club Men's Chorus, Ridgewood, NJ, as a singer for 25 years and serving as Assistant Conductor for 12 years. Before his retirement and move to Maryville, MO in 2015, he also served as General Manager of the Atempo Chamber Ensemble, Leonia, NJ for three years. Jim has performed at Carnegie Hall twice as a member of an international chorus and orchestra; in 2009 at the Shawnee Press 70th Anniversary Concert under conductors Tim Seelig, Mark Hayes, Greg Gilpin and Joseph Martin and in 2010 at the Sing for the Cure Benefit Concert directed by Tim Seelig.  In 2012, he sang in the chorus at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, for the Music of Joseph Martin concert. Additionally, Jim appeared with the Orpheus Club Men’s Chorus at a Lincoln Center Library concert in 2007.


Jim has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri. Prior to his retirement, his 37-year career was in marketing, working in Washington, DC, New York City, and New Jersey.


Linda Akins, Accompanist

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Accompanist Linda Akins is a Maryville native who graduated from Maryville High School and Northwest Missouri State University with a BS in Music Education, K-12.


Linda has been Nodaway Chorale accompanist since 2016.


She has accompanied choirs, soloists, ensembles, and played for church services, weddings, and funerals most of her life.  Additionally, she has accompanied multiple musical productions for the Nodaway Community Theatre, Maryville High School, Northwest Missouri State University and serves as rehearsal pianist for MYP: Second Stage.


Linda has been a choir and music director for several churches and is currently serving as church pianist for First Baptist Church, Maryville.


She retired from Maryville Middle School after a total of 26 years in music education for elementary, middle school, and high school students.  Linda also gave private piano lessons for many years.


Among the joys in her busy “retired” life are her family including nine grandchildren!


Michael Phillips, Founding Director

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Michael Phillips was the founding director of the Nodaway Chorale and served with dedication in that position until his retirement in May 2018.


After serving in the Navy for four years as a Petty Officer First Class in Special Weapons, Mike immediately went to work for TWA and retired from TWA in 1993 after 31 years as an avionics engineer. During those 31 years he felt a strong calling to pursue a career change to church choral music and entered the UMKC Conservatory of music where he received a BA in Music with minors in English Literature and American History.  


Mike worked as a music director in various churches and denominations for 40 years.  While doing postgraduate work in choral conducting again at UMKC with Dr. Eph Ely, he fell in love with opera and sang four seasons with Lyric Opera in Kansas City and has sung professionally in Italian, German, French, Russian, and Latin.  He coached the articulation of these languages to choirs and soloists for 30 years.


Mike’s wife, Dr. Sheila Phillips, is a retired vocal instructor on the NWMSU music faculty.


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