Meet the Team
Catholic Liturgical Ensemble Formation
CLEF is an all-volunteer organization led by a board of ensemble directors, instrumentalists, singers, and liturgists who believe in the importance of ensemble music in liturgy.
Our founding board members have extensive experience in music and liturgy, and they have been involved in a wide range of ensembles. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities for ensemble musicians and seek to provide education, skill building, and inspiration for ensemble musicians across the United States.
CLEF founders & board members
Mary Lou Cantrell is a joyful guitarist who has been a dedicated music minister for more than 45 years. She has served as an ensemble member, co-director, or ensemble director in many military and civilian parishes in the US, Europe, and Asia. When Mary Lou’s family relocated to the Northern Virginia area in 2004, Mary Lou accepted a position as the ensemble accompanist at St. Dominic Church in Washington, D.C., where she continues to serve. When not at St. Dominic’s, she works at the Hattie M. Strong Foundation. She lives in Springfield, Virginia, with her husband, JC. They have two adult children.
Mary Dumm, D.Min, is the pastoral associate at St. Blase Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Additionally, she teaches at Siena Heights University and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary. Her areas of study include scripture, liturgy, and sacrament. Mary has enjoyed participating in ventures with LTP, NPM, and other organizations that serve the people of God and their worship. When she’s not locked to her computer or in pre-Covid life running around the country giving workshops, she can be found with a book in her hand, cross-stitch in her lap, or diligently (albeit unsuccessfully) learning chord shapes.
Bobby Fisher is a world-renowned musician, music producer, recording artist, composer, and clinician. He has served for many years as program director for the NPM Guitar Schools, Guitar and Ensemble Institutes, and most recently, the Bobby Fisher Ensemble Formation Program (BFEFP). He has been the music director of St. Agnes Parish in Ft. Wright, Kentucky, for more than 25 years. For the past four years, he has been the music director of the Share the Journey (A Concert for Compassion) series (https://shareinthehope.com).
Bobby has recorded and produced many of his own recordings and has worked as producer and guest musician on countless others. With his daughter, Serenity, and her husband, Michael G. Ronstadt, he currently records and performs with Serenity Fisher and the Cardboard Hearts. He has also recorded and published a number of music collections for OCP, GIA, Franciscan Media, and Heart to Heart Ministries. He is the author of “The Pastoral Guitarist,” a guitar instructional book, and “The Liturgical Guitarist,” an instructional video. As a children’s recording artist, Bobby is best known for “Hymns and Hers for Happy Hearts,” a collection of fun and creative music for young and old children. His best-selling collections include Play Before God, Guitar Prayer, Catholic Classics Vol. III, If We Dare to Hope, and Go Out and Tell. Bobby lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and family.
Ken Gilman, PhD, recently retired from his 16 years as music director at St. Michael & All Angels in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He returned to the back row as an obbligatist on a variety of instruments – mandolin, bouzouki, violin, octave viola, bass mandolin, etc. The banjo has even snuck in a time or two. He loves thinking through what diverse musical elements do to enhance the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements in the ensemble, as well as ensemble as a community. With roots in the music of the Celtic Diaspora, he has played in bands in New England and Europe as well as the Southwest. As a semi-retired psychologist and mediator, he works with first responders, especially around teamwork, communication, and burnout.
Peter Maher earned a bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America in 1978. He is currently enjoying retirement after a varied career, including stints as an executive chef, owner-operator of a highly successful computer operations company, and 16 years with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Peter began his career as an ensemble musician in 1969 when Sister Maureen, who knew he played guitar, asked him to help form the first folk group in the parish. Aside from a few breaks for life and jobs along the way, he has been an ensemble musician since that time.
Steve Petrunak is the director of music at St. Blase Parish in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where he has served in music ministry for more than 43 years. He is a composer, recording artist, author, editor, and clinician. Steve was the President/CEO of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians for nearly four years and served two terms as a member of the NPM Board of Directors.
Steve is the author of “Beyond Strumming,” a three-volume liturgical guitar methodology series, and co-author of “Managing Music Ministry” with his pastor Fr. Randy Phillips, both available through GIA Publications. He has recorded and produced multiple recordings of liturgical music and has also recorded more than 800 guitar-based instrumental recordings distributed across multiple streaming and download platforms (including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and Apple Music). Steve lives in Washington, Michigan, with his wife, Ruth.
Chris St. Clair got his start as a pastoral musician in the late 1970s. He is a retired embedded software engineer who specialized in real-time, embedded software for testing such things as communication satellites and sections of the International Space Station. He has written flight software for one human-rated spacecraft and a number of communications and network based systems. He and his wife Laura (aka ‘Charlie’) live in Jefferson City, Missouri, with their dog Astrid.
In addition to our board members, we have dedicated volunteers currently serving on multiple committees to help advance our mission.
If you are interested in supporting CLEF as a volunteer on one of these committees or in another role, we welcome your support! Please contact us to discuss current volunteer opportunities.