Jason Shelton, Artistic Director

Jason Shelton has served as Portara’s assistant director since its inception, and moved into the position of Artistic Director during the 2015/16 season. A published and award-winning composer, Jason has worked with choirs all around the country and specializes in creative, collaborative programming.  In addition to his work with Portara, Jason is the Associate Minister for Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, where he has served since 1998.

Formerly a Franciscan brother, Jason received an MDiv from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2003 and was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2004.   He studied theory and composition with Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB (St. Meinrad College, IN), and Drs. Wesley Vos & Jeffrey Kowalkowski (DePaul University, Chicago), and conducting with Robin Fountain and Dr. David Childs (Vanderbilt) and Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe (USC).  Jason’s compositions are published by Santa Barbara Music and Yelton Rhodes Music.

Janice Schnell, Board President

Janice Schnell Butler, Board President

Janice Schnell currently serves as President of the Portara Ensemble Board of Directors, and sings as a soprano in the group. She is an accomplished soprano, holding both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance. Originally from southern Illinois, she has enjoyed living in Nashville for nearly 12 years.

Schnell is a Content Acquisition Account Executive for Ingram Content Group, where she works with publishers to develop print and digital strategies to support their publishing programs. She currently sits on the board of directors of the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Patrick Dunnevant, Assistant Director

Patrick Dunnevant, Assistant Director

Patrick Dunnevant, a composer, conductor, and baritone, joined Portara’s leadership team as Assistant Director during the 2015/16 season. He received his B.M. in Music Education from Belmont University and M.M. in Composition from Westminster Choir College, where he was a member and soloist with several of their world-renowned choirs, including the Westminster Choir, Symphonic Choir, and the early music ensemble, Kantorei. His compositions, which have been praised for their “lustrous sonic colors,” (ArtsNash), have been performed by several regional and All-State honor choirs, and are published by Colla Voce Music and GIA Publications, Inc.

In addition to Portara, Patrick serves as Coordinator of Vocal Music for the Nashville Chamber Music Series, a collective dedicated to creating intimate performances of contemporary classical music in unconventional settings. He also sings as a section leader at West End United Methodist Church.

Horacio Guendulain, Accompanist

Horacio Guendulain, Accompanist

Portara Ensemble is excited to be accompanied by Mr. Horacio Guendulain, a recent graduate of Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt he studied under the instruction of Dr. Craig Nies. His teachers include the late Iris Daniel Engel Barnes and Dr. William Ransom of Emory University.

He is currently an accompanist at Belmont University and serves as the pianist at Monroe United Methodist and Jordonia United Methodist.

Alan Fey, Administrative Manager

Alan Fey is a classically-trained percussionist, composer/arranger, conductor, and arts administrator who specializes in solo and chamber music. Based in Nashville, his primary focus is on the creation of new music, having been involved in the commissioning and world premieres of nearly two dozen works.

In addition to his work with Portara, Alan co-founded Make Music Nashville, is the Managing Director of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, and the Operations Assistant of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. When not doing one of these many things (or occasionally singing with Portara), Alan and his wife enjoy hockey, soccer, baseball, baked goods, and local beer.

Board of Directors

Janice Schell Butler, Board President

Jordan Holland

Mary Scheib

Jason Shelton

Destin Weishaar