Performing Arts Staff

Dave Felty / Performing Arts Director

David is proud and excited to be leading Family Life Performing Arts and producing its major theatrical productions. He’s also excited to be part of a team that will visualize the future of Performing Arts in our new Corning building!

David was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Hershey, Pa. He attended Grove City College where he majored in religion, fostered his love of singing, and threw javelin as a competitive sport.

After college, David moved to Nashville to try his hand as a professional Country and Christian music singer. However, he soon realized that a career as a solo artist was not for him. It wasn’t until David started working in musical theatre that he discovered his real passion.

David’s Broadway and National Tour credits include: Frank Wildhorn’s The Civil War, Schonberg and Boubil’s Les Miserables (Jean Valjean), and American Rhapsody: a Gershwin review. He’s also appeared on Star Search in two categories and was a guest on Nashville Now on CMT.

In 2013, David took the position as head of the musical theatre program for Lancaster Bible. He loved his work at the college and took the program from 3 students to 30 students.

In addition, David has done many recordings and television appearances. You may have seen him on stage at Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pa in the production of Ruth (as Boaz), In the Beginning (as Lucifer/Satan), Daniel (as Nebonidus), and Miracle of Christmas (as Mary’s father).

David is married to actress, Jennifer Lynn Felty. They have two talented children and share a home with rescued labs, Lola and Charlie. David says, “he is so glad to be here (at Family Life) and investing in the communities we serve! God will do great things!”

Rodney Coe / Theater Arts Director

Rodney grew up on a small agricultural farm in Indiana where he worked alongside his dad picking vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. It wasn’t until high school that the love of the arts took hold and he realized that singing was just story-telling with music. So, Rodney set course for Broadway after earning his musical theater degree at Ball State University. It was a college professor and mentor there who encouraged him to always find the truth of the character, and that’s exactly what Rodney intended to do… in New York City!

When he made it to The Big Apple, Rodney was quickly chosen for the lead in the national tour of “The Secret Garden.” Caught up in success, Rodney started walking according to his own desires. However, one night while walking home, Rodney was mugged by three men with a baseball bat. In one moment, his life was completely changed. He woke up with a traumatic brain injury that left his short term memory impaired, taking five years to fully heal. During that time, the Lord became Rodney’s all in all by humbling him through his new limitations. He could not remember new information and literally had to tape his address to his wallet. There were times he became lost on the street and would allow complete strangers to give him money or help him find his way.

After the injury, Rodney’s career in musical theater came to a standstill, though his passion for the stage still burned. With the encouragement of friends, he began to perform again, however with a different motivation than before. He realized his desire for self-glory had changed. He now wanted Christ to be the focus. For the last 12 years, God has allowed him a successful acting career by performing in Christian productions. He spent eight of those years at Sight and Sound Theaters playing the biblical roles of Jonah, Aaron, and most recently Nicodemus in the production of “Jesus.”

Rodney’s passion is to use the arts to bring people the hope of Christ. He longs to see the broken understand their value in the eyes of a loving God. It’s one thing to know who you are, but true freedom comes when you know Whose you are!

Bob Dusek / Director of Music & Worship Arts

Bob grew up in the village of Menomonee Falls, just outside of Milwaukee, WI. As a child, he always had a drive for music, whether it was dancing to the record player or turning his mother’s pots and pans into a drum set.  He started taking piano lessons at the age of seven and hasn’t turned back. After studying for a summer at Tanglewood Institute at Boston University, Bob decided to make music a career.

Bob came to know Christ while at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Up until that time, he was an apologist against Christianity and delighted in arguing with college-aged Christians about their beliefs. However, God used the prayers and perseverance of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship to change his heart and Bob prayed to accept Christ!

After college, Bob continued to give concerts, teach piano and composition, and serve in various church music ministries.  Although his plans were originally to work in academia, within a few short years God had opened other doors and Bob was serving as a pastor of worship arts in a large church in the Denver area. His passion for the Word eventually led to his ordination in 2006, and two years later, his passion for the musical arts led to his first book, “Facing the Music: the worship leader in the evangelical church.”

After serving more than 15 years as worship pastor in different Colorado churches, Bob took a break to seek the Lord’s direction. It was during this time of reflection that Family Life contacted him on the chance that he might be looking for a change. One “so called” coincidence led to another and Bob joined us in October of 2016.

Bob’s musical training includes a B.A. of Music in Composition from Eastman School of Music, a M.M. in Piano Performance from Southern Methodist University, and a Doctor in Musical Arts in Composition from University of Colorado Boulder. He has performed as a concert pianist throughout the U.S and is an award-winning composer with his works recorded by Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), North South Consonance Ensemble (New York City), and University of Colorado Symphony, among others.  He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work including an A.S.C.A.P. fellowship and the Bearns Prize from Columbia University.

In addition to music, Bob loves large format photography, hiking, biking, and shooting.  He lives in Prattsburgh, N.Y., with his wife, Karen, whom he loves, and his dog, Toby, whom he tolerates.

Melanie Coe / Performing Arts Administrative Assistant

Melanie originally hails from sunny California. She grew up the baby of 8 kids, so she learned early on in life how to perform to gain attention! In high school and college, she used that talent to win roles in theater productions, one of her favorites being Dolly, in “Hello Dolly!”

Melanie grew up going to church, but it wasn’t until she was 19-years-old that she recognized her need for Christ and that her “goodness” wasn’t enough to gain salvation. She had never really read the Bible before, though, one always sat on her shelf. When she opened it up, it was as if all the pieces of a jumbled puzzle came together and a beautiful picture of Jesus’ sacrifice for her was staring at her from the pages.

Melanie obtained her degree in Special Education and spent the bulk of her career working with people with special needs. However, she took a 10-year hiatus when she and her husband started a family. Over the past few years, Melanie has been working as a behavior mentor for teens with autism.

Melanie is happy to work alongside her handsome husband, Rodney Coe, as his administrative assistant in performing arts. In addition to her job at Family Life, Melanie has three adorable children – Selah, Judah, and Roman – that keep her busy!

Mike Heyd / Collaborative Pianist

“Mike grew up in the tiny village of Nauvoo, Pennsylvania, as the oldest of three children on his family’s farm. He attended church all of his life and grew up listening to Family Life. With a passion for music, Mike began playing the piano at age 6 and hasn’t stopped yet!
From church choirs to orchestra pits and school chorus concerts, Mike’s first love is being an accompanist. Hard work, the support of his family and friends, and plenty of prayer have all afforded him many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
In 2004, Mike made his New York City debut at Lincoln Center and returned ten years later to perform at Carnegie Hall with the National Sacred Honor Choir, an ensemble sponsored by Houghton College. He also was selected to accompany the 2010 Pennsylvania All-State Choir in Pittsburgh and most recently traveled to Viterbo, Italy to work for a summer as an opera pianist.
Even though Mike grew up in a Christian home, it wasn’t until years later that he began to grasp the meaning of living fully dependent on God. In 2014, while working on his Master’s degree, Mike felt the Lord calling him into a deeper, more dedicated relationship. Around this time, ideas of going into full-time ministry began taking root.
During a difficult job situation in 2016, Mike began praying for an “open door” – one that would lead to the precise place God wanted him. Two months later, Mike excitedly set off to begin an adventure with the Lord… at Family Life! Mike splits his time between the Performing Arts, Events, and Music departments. No two days are alike as Mike balances accompanying rehearsals, vocal coaching, music directing, and event planning.
Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Houghton College and a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from The Boston Conservatory. In addition to coordinating events, Mike plays piano for Family Life Performing Arts.”

Terry Miller / Stage Manager

Terry was raised in Attica, NY, and even though she didn’t grow up in a Christian home, the Lord had a great plan in mind for her future.

Terry’s mom spent much of her life searching for spiritual truth. When Terry was 12, her mom found a church and rededicated her life to Christ. Around that time, she decided her daughter should attend a youth convention called “Acquire the Fire.” Reluctantly, Terry went, but it was there she met the Lord and joined a youth group! This gave her the opportunity of starting relationships with a group of Christian friends and among them was Steve – her now husband! (Persistent mothers can be a blessing!)

Terry has loved musical theater ever since adolescence. In middle school, one of her friends introduced her to Phantom of the Opera. Terry was hooked. She and her sister would drive around singing the Copacabana soundtrack without a care in the world!

Later in her college years, Terry and Steve heard from a friend about a theater called Sight & Sound. The couple didn’t do much with the information except tuck it away. Two years later, and closing in on their wedding date, the pastor of their local church insisted they take time out to pray about their future together. The Lord brought Sight & Sound back to mind. Within a span of a few months, they both had job offers. Neither of them had visited the theater before, or had been to Lancaster County, but Terry and Steve knew the Lord was making the way.

After 14 years of employment at Sight & Sound working in production and stage management, the couple felt the Lord calling them back to their roots and family in Western New York.  The pastor from Terry’s mother’s church suggested she look at Family Life’s website to see if they had any openings – and here she is!

Terry works at Family Life as stage manager for the Performing Arts department and helps the radio ministry as an Underwriting Coordinator. She is “very excited for the opportunity to use her gifts and talents to work with these amazing two teams.”

Lauren Smith / Choreographer

Lauren Norris grew up dancing and loves Jesus, ballet and kids. She studied ballet for 12 years at a private studio in Alfred and Hornell, and found her passion teaching dance students in that same area. Lauren furthered her dance education by attending the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet where she studied under dancers from the New York City Ballet. In addition to ballet, Lauren has some experience with Ballroom and contemporary styles of dance.

One of her most valued accomplishments was her role in developing and directing Side Porch Ballet Productions in Almond. Side Porch Ballet offers one week of ballet instruction to students at no cost, and is held at Lauren’s house on her side porch. After a few years of success, Lauren expanded the outreach to Jamaica on an missions trip with Source of Light Ministries. In Jamaica, she danced for schools and churches, which soon after, led to her teaching a free dance intensive to young Jamaican students..

Now living in Almond, NY and loves teaching and glorifying God through dance at Family Life!

 

Robbie Lindmark / Performing Arts Production Designer

As production designer, Robbie’s main responsibility is designing sets for Family Life’s theatrical performances. He also enjoys acting and auditions for as many shows at Family Life as time allows.

Having enjoyed a natural bent toward the dramatic arts most of his life, Robbie auditioned for Family Life’s production of Narnia as a young teenager. He was thrilled to receive the role of Mr. Tumnus, and since he thrives in God-honoring atmospheres, Robbie continued auditioning with Family Life. Later on he was awarded the role of Willy Porter in “The Gifts of the Magi” – the ministry’s first traveling Christmas production.

In high school, Robbie took advanced art and drama classes that helped him snag lead roles in well-known productions, including Professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jim Dillingham in “The Gifts of the Magi,” and Enjolras in “Les Miserables.”

Since his first production with Family Life, Robbie noticed his passion growing for using theater to teach children about God. In 2011, he began his apprenticeship at Family Life, and a year later, Robbie made his directing debut with the colorful musical “Seussical,” followed by “Peter Pan” and “The Wizard of Oz.” He also oversaw the ministry’s Youtheatre Workshop program for three years, teaching drama, set design classes, and directing shows.

Cody Slayton / Set Designer / Construction Supervisor

As a member of the Performing Arts Department, Cody loves designing and building sets and scenery for our theater productions. When friends and family ask Cody how he likes his job, he emphatically replies, “I love it!” Regardless of the task, Cody sees his work as service to the Lord. Amen!
Cody grew up going to church, but never fully submitted Christ with saving faith. When he was 18, Cody came to Christ during a difficult season. There were false teachers on his college campus, and after trying to defend his “faith” one night, Cody realized he needed to submit his divided heart to Jesus in order to truly follow Him. Head knowledge alone (along with lots of hypocritical living) would not suffice. Alone in his college dorm room that night, Cody cried out to the Lord for salvation. The Lord hasn’t completely finished the work that He started that night, but Cody’s heart to grow and serve in ministry has never been stronger.
Life leading up to and since becoming a Christian has certainly been a journey. Cody was adopted at age 5 when his birth mother married his dad. He grew up on a dairy farm in Howard, NY, not far from Family Life. When he was a teenager, Cody met his birth father for the first time, and a wonderful relationship grew between them that continues today. Later on, Cody married his high school sweetheart, Hillary, and they began life together in San Antonio, Texas. After 14 years and three beautiful children, God made it clear that Cody should move back to New York so he and his family could be near relatives – Cody has 8 siblings! – and the kids could grow up in a safe, rural community. Now Cody, Hillary, and their three children – CodeyNoel, Ryder, and Hadley – have happily settled in Canisteo.

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Phil Keith / Set Design Assistant

Phil was born in Boston, Massachusetts but spent most of his childhood in Vestal, N.Y. In 1975, he married his high school sweetheart, Judy, who is still his sweetheart today.

Both Phil and Judy came to the Lord in 1980 in a little church in South Apalachin, N.Y. They began listening to Family Life when the Spencer station, WCII, began broadcasting in the early 90s. Over the years they have volunteered at many Family Life events.

Phil has worked for the federal government in the United States Army as a helicopter crew chief and with the Department of Defense as a Quality Assurance Specialist and IT Systems Administrator. His DOD job allowed him to work in the United Kingdom for nearly seven years where he developed an affection for British cars.

In 2014, Phil retired to their dream home in Romulus, N.Y. overlooking Seneca Lake. Not really having an established retirement plan, Phil became restless and didn’t quite know what to do with himself. One day he heard an ad on Family Life for “A Christmas Carol” auditions. That Christmas Phil performed in his first theatrical show and loved it! He has since played in several more Family Life productions. Some of his favorite roles are General Waverly in “White Christmas” and Uncle Billy in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

During that time both Phil and Judy began praying about where God could use them. They both felt a tug from the Lord to be more involved with Family Life. In 2016, the couple moved closer to volunteer more often. Phil volunteered her time as a maintenance assistant for several years and then began building sets for Family Life Performing Arts. Then in November 2021 Phil officially joined our team!

Jonathan Marmor / Assistant Radio Engineer / Technical Assistant

Jonathan has a special affinity for technology, especially gadgets with lots of lights and buttons that make noise! It was that curiosity that got him involved with a community theater in his hometown of Chilton, Wisconsin, helping with stage sound and lighting. Jon also earned his Ham radio license and even built his own 40-foot radio tower to better explore Ham radio.

When his family moved to Western NY, Jonathon started working for a custom home builder doing construction. He did everything from installing drywall to operating heavy equipment on site. He even had a short stint working for an electrician.

After a time, Jonathon began missing his work as a stage technician. God led him to a church where he met a few members of the Family Life staff. He began volunteering with us, running lightboards for theatrical productions and working on light design for other types of events. Eventually Jon was hired to do all this – and help in radio engineering, too – for a paycheck! His job is a great fit.

Jonathan is the oldest of 4 siblings and lives near his parents in Corning. He enjoys hunting, trapping, fishing, camping and sports. He also enjoys technical hobbies like Ham Radio, wood working, and fixing most anything.