First Baptist ChurchWichita Falls, TX

Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts of First Baptist Church is staffed by Christian instructors, qualified and competent in their individual areas of expertise.  As a branch of the Music and Worship Ministry, The Academy of Fine Arts provides an environment where Christ is honored and students are challenged to develop their God-given talents for the glory and service of God.  We strive to provide excellence in training in fine arts, and a Christian atmosphere that nurtures the development of talents in children, youth and adults. Private lessons in violin, voice, guitar, piano, percussion, brass and woodwind instruments are currently offered.

All inquiries about The Academy of Fine Arts should be directed to the Worship Office, 940.723.2764, or via email at

Student Handbook 2017-2018
Academy of Fine Arts Additional Information
About Our Fine Arts Academy Faculty

Who May Register

Lessons offered by The Academy of Fine Arts at First Baptist Church are open to anyone desiring to begin or continue music/performing arts instruction.  There are no entrance requirements, although we do collect an annual registration fee of $25 per student or $40 per family.  Adults and children of any ability level may enroll.  Private instruction will be adapted to the student's age and experience.  In certain instances, an instructor may determine that a child is too young to start on an instrument, but these evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis. Enrollment is open at all times throughout the year.

Procedure For Registration:

  • Complete the registration form
  • Sign the Student/Parent Agreement
  • Turn in the above to the Worship Office along with the registration fee and the first tuition payment
  • Student information will be given to our Academy Coordinator who will, in turn, contact the student/parent to work out a lesson time

Private Instruction Registration Form 

For more information about our private music lessons, current fees and payment options, please click the Private Lessons button below:


Although The Academy of Fine Arts of First Baptist Church operates on a school year basis, enrollment is always open to new students.  Students will be given a schedule of lessons and holidays upon request.

Fall Semester - 2017:
August 21 - December 8 (15 Lessons)

Spring Semester - 2018:
January 2 - May 4 (17 Lessons)

Optional Summer Term - 2018:
May 29 - August 10 (11 lessons; may differ per instructor)


There will be no Academy of Fine Arts lessons during the following holidays:
  • Labor Day 
  • Thanksgiving Week - November 20 through 24
  • Christmas Break- December 18 through January 1
  • Spring Break (WFISD) - March 12 through 16
  • Memorial Day & Independence Day


All lessons will be taught on the campus of First Baptist Church in secure areas.  The Academy requires that the parent or guardian of students under the age of 18 to be present at each lesson, either to sit in the classroom or just outside the door.  Children are never to be left alone to wait for their ride or allowed to wander the campus without supervision.  Some instructors require that a parent attend the lesson with his or her child.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but these policies are in place to protect children and instructors alike.

Our Academy of Fine Arts Faculty

Our Academy of Fine Arts is fortunate to have such outstanding instructors as these:

David Allen
Mr. Allen, having retired after many years as a minister of music, now teaches guitar, bass, and drums in the academy.  He received his bachelor of music education degree from Midwestern State University and holds a Texas music teacher certification. David and his wife, Bobbi, have two children, Matthew and Mindy.

Philip Chisum
Mr. Chisum, cello instructor, was born and raised in Wichita Falls and graduated from Rider High School. Having majored in music at Texas Tech University and performed with the Texas Tech Symphony Orchestra, he now also performs with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and is presently finishing his master’s degree in History from Midwestern State University.

Hannah Espinoza

Mrs. Espinoza is currently the W.F. George Middle School choir director in Iowa Park, Texas. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education with a vocal emphasis from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.  She is the choir director of the Girls Choir, Boys Choir and Honor Choir, and also teaches a section of General Music to sixth grade students.Hannah recently married her high school sweetheart, Ruben Espinoza. They have two dogs, Chui and Baby, that they love dearly and will claim them as their children for the time being.  Hannah believes that music lessons are vital to a student's musical growth. It allows for the student not only to grow as a musician, but also to grow themselves. 

Lee Ginnings

Mr. Ginnings teaches guitar and is currently a senior at Midwestern State University, finishing his degree in guitar performance. He has an extensive background in music and is classically trained in percussion, guitar, piano, and voice. Lee has been a member of such ensembles throughout the years as the Rider High School wind ensemble, the Rider High School marching band and drum line, the Rider High School jazz band, the Midwestern State University wind ensemble, the Midwestern State University drum line, the Midwestern State University jazz ensemble, and the Midwestern State University guitar ensemble. He has grown up in Wichita Falls and in First Baptist Church and leads worship for the Oneighty Student Ministry as well as our satellite campuses.  Lee and his wife, Connie, are active members of First Baptist Church. 

Ed Hefti
 Mr. Hefti is the Academy director and also teaches Woodwinds in the Academy of Fine Arts. Prior to coming on staff as the Worship Associate for First Baptist, he spent over 30 years as a high school band director and woodwind specialist.   Ed has served as the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Archer City as well as the interim music minister at First Baptist Church, Iowa Park and Lamar Baptist Church, Wichita Falls.  He has also worked as an adjunct faculty member at Midwestern State University assisting with the University Jazz Ensemble and teaching improvisation, and has also performed with numerous jazz artists and pop groups and opened for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and BTO.  Ed received a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music in Performance from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He and his wife Dianne currently reside in Iowa Park. 

Sheryl Kingcade

Mrs. Kingcade teaches clarinet, flute, and saxophone at the Academy of Fine Arts. Before retiring from full-time public education after 31 years of service, she held the position of Head Band Director at Petrolia ISD, Jacksboro ISD, and Hirschi IB School in Wichita Falls.  In addition to her Academy duties, she teaches beginner band students at George Middle School in Iowa Park. Sheryl earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from Midwestern State University under Robert D. Jorgensen.  Sheryl and her husband, Gerald Kingcade, are members of the Cowboy Church in Iowa Park.

Geoff Martin

Mr. Martin is the Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Coordinator for Rider High School in Wichita Falls, TX. His responsibilities include teaching and designing for the Marching Band, Percussion Ensembles, and Jazz Band, as well as teaching the beginning percussion at McNiel Junior High School. In addition to teaching and designing for marching band, he has also taught private lessons and percussion master classes. He graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree and studied percussion under the direction of Tom McGillen. In addition to teaching percussion, he is the Electronic Designer and Audio Consultant for the 2013 DCI World Class Corps, Carolina Crown.


Elton Milford      

Mr. Milford is a retired teacher and director, now instructing in low brass and trumpet at the Academy of Fine Arts. He was a WFISD band director for 30 years at Hirschi and Barwise, preceded by 6 years at City View. He has earned Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from Midwestern State University. Elton is a native Wichitan married to Patti Milford. They have been members of First Baptist Church for almost 40 years. 

Deborah Renton
Mrs. Renton is teaching Piano in the Academy of Fine Arts.  Debbie received her Bachelor of Music in piano performance and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University summa cum laude. She studied with Alfred Mouledous, Dr. David Karp and Dr. Janice Kay Hodges. She obtained her Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Texas in Austin with Dr. William Race. She was a church pianist and had a private studio in New Orleans. She was a choir director for Episcopal for the junior high and high school students. She is a member of the Wichita Falls Music Teachers Association, the Texas Music Association, and the Music Teachers National Association. She is also an accompanist for FHUMC Youth Choir and an active choir member of FHUMC and ENCORE!. She also plays the organ and the violin. She and her husband reside in Wichita Falls. 

Melissa Ward

Mrs. Ward teaches Voice in the Academy of Fine Arts.  Melissa received her Bachelor of Music degree at Midwestern State University in 1996, where she received the Outstanding Music Student Award, the William V. Boland Voice Award and more.  She pursued graduate studies at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas where she was a Graduate Assistant in Voice.  She was also private voice instructor at the time in the Keller Independent School District.  She was the Music Assistant to the Choir Director and the Voice teacher at Rider High School here in Wichita Falls.  In addition to being soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, the Verdi Requiem, the Bach Christmas Oratorio and more, she was also the featured soloist for the Wichita Falls Chamber Orchestra and Chorus.  Having sung in Carnegie Hall under the direction of Rene Clausen, she continues to use her extraordinary gifts and is in demand as a featured soloist for many organizations and events.  She is currently involved in Amazing Grace Ministries with her husband, singing and ministering throughout Texas and Oklahoma.  Melissa and her husband, Darren, have three children, Christopher, Joshua and Eliana.

Joseph West
Mr. West teaches piano and is a native of Wichita Falls, studying piano and organ since the age of 5. A classically trained pianist, he holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from Midwestern State University where he studied with Dr. Ruth Morrow. During his time at MSU, Mr. West was an integral member of several performing ensembles such as: The Golden Thunder Marching Band, The MSU Wind Ensemble, The MSU Symphonic Band, The MSU Percussion Ensemble, and The MSU Steel Pan Ensemble ”Steel Bandits.” In addition, he has performed for many student recitals including several student degree recitals, earning him the Outstanding Collaboration Award in both 2011 and 2015.  He graduated from City View High School, where he furthered his musical talents by participating in the Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Percussion Ensemble. Along with piano, he also plays organ, harpsichord, percussion, and steel pan.

Brooke Whyrick
Ms. Whyrick is a violin performance major at Midwestern State University.  In addition to her academic studies and violin studio, she serves as a violin coach for the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Her most recent accomplishment is becoming of a member of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra.  Her experience in her church, Christian school, and various musical ensembles have all helped shape who she is and how she teaches her students.