A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
A lifelong lover of music and the arts, Cynthia H. “Cindy” Edwards fell in love with the piano at the age of 8 and has continued to make music for more than five decades as a pianist, choral music teacher, choir director, children’s music director, theatrical music director and accompanist, and occasional orchestra conductor.
A native of Wake County, she graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1977, majoring in piano and minoring in voice. She spent more than 30 years in the Vance County Schools in Henderson, N.C., most of those years as a high school choral music teacher.
A longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Henderson, Cindy has served as the director of music since 2009, leading the Chancel Choir as well as the children’s music ministries. Having been a participant with the Henderson Rec Players theater program since its inception in 1972, Cindy has been music director and/or accompanist for dozens of shows.
She joined the Northeast Piedmont Chorale as a soprano in 2011 and was pleased to be asked to serve as its director in 2016. She and her husband, James, have two daughters.
Kristen Allred joined the Northeast Piedmont Chorale as an alto in the fall of 2018. Upon the retirement of Stan Benton, the Chorale welcomed her as its new accompanist in the fall of 2019.
Kristen has a degree in Piano Pedagogy from Utah State University, where she taught piano and was awarded “Teacher of the Year” through the Utah State University Youth Conservatory. During the past 30 years, Kristen has continued to teach private piano lessons, as well as music composition and theory, and her students have placed in statewide composition contests.
For many years, Kristen has served as an accompanist for her church, choir, congregation, and for special musical numbers. She is also an accompanist for instrumentalists in the community. In addition, Kristen has served as the Composition Chairperson for North Carolina Music Teachers Association (NCMTA), and she is a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association (RPTA), and the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP).
Kristen has written five piano books for the elementary and intermediate pianist which were published by the Neil A. Kjos Music Company. Many of the pieces from these books are included on the National Federation of Music Club’s repertoire list, as well as on various state contest repertoire lists. Kristen has also written several choral works, simplified piano arrangements of hymns, and children’s songs published by Jackman Music.