Music Director: Tim McKnight
Tim McKnight hails from the rural Midwest, but relocated to San Diego in July 2004. One month later, Chalice UU Congregation hired Tim as Music Director, a position he has held ever since. Tim received both his Bachelors Degree in Music Education as well as his Masters Degree in Accompanying and Vocal Coaching from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign. In addition to his music ministry at Chalice, Tim teaches a studio of over 20 private piano and voice students. He also is a professional accompanist, collaborating with both vocalists and instrumentalists for recitals, auditions, college juries, competitions, etc. Tim has served as musical director, conductor, vocal coach and pianist for both opera and musical theater productions in Illinois and throughout San Diego County. In June 2012, Tim conducted a special performance of UU Composer Jason Shelton’s “Sources: A Unitarian Universalist Cantata” with over 100 singers and instrumentalists from all of the UU congregations in San Diego County.
Choir Accompanist: Deborah Morton, Ph.D.
Deborah Morton started piano as a 1st grader and has been sitting on the bench ever since. She spent 12 years as the accompanist for the San Diego Women’s Chorus, and has been the Chalice Choir accompanist for the past several years. Deborah helped pay her way through school by tuning pianos for many celebrities including Count Basie, Judy Collins, Mel Torme, Luther Vandross, and Burt Bacharach. In her day job, Deborah J. Morton, PhD, MA, is an epidemiologist/anthropologist and associate professor at Cal State San Marcos. Dr. Morton has published over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals related to osteoporosis, diabetes, tobacco use, and cardiovascular disease.
Worship Musician: Justin Gray
Justin Gray has been a music director with Welk Resorts for 25 years. He has also worked with Moonlight Stage Productions, the Old Globe Theatre, and San Diego Civic Light Opera. He enjoys preparing professional opera productions, playing for various cabaret shows and vocal recitals, and creating custom soundtracks in his home studio. He is demand as a freelance pianist and organist around San Diego County and has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Moody Blues, Bobby Vinton, and Bob Newhart.
Justin says “I believe that one of my callings in life is to entertain and uplift using music.”
Worship Musician: Steven Withers
Steven Withers grew up in the Point Loma area of San Diego. He studied composition and performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College/Conservatory of Music. Part of a rock band in San Diego in the ’80s, he was playing professional theatre shows by the ’90s. He toured with Michael Crawford, original Phantom of the Opera, rehearsed the Rockettes and played on ABC’s The View. In 2000 he moved to NYC to play Broadway shows and experience life “in that incredible city”. In 2004, Steven moved back to San Diego to rejoin his husband (of 24 years now), Marc, who had to stay on this coast for his job. He has been music directing shows for local companies, programming synths and playing musicals at local icons such as the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, North Coast Rep, San Diego Musical Theatre, and San Diego Rep.
Steven says “I love the universal emotional power and spiritual depth music contains and it is truly an honor to be a musician.”