Performing Arts Faculty
Full Time Faculty
Rusty Ruth is the Director of Theater, overseeing all theatrical productions and teaching theater and acting classes.
He previously served as Director of Theater at Mount Marty College where he directed Boeing Boeing, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Stories of Evangeline.
He holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from the University of South Dakota an M.F.A. in Directing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Some of his academic and professional directing credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Free to Be You and Me, November, Pirates of Penzance, and The Underpants.
Additionally, Rusty has acted in various professional productions and a few of his favorite roles include “Michael” in God of Carnage and “Shawn Keogh” in Playboy of the Western World.
Jeshua Franklin serves as Director of Music at Lincoln Trail College, directing choirs and band and teaching music theory, music appreciation, and applied voice and flute.
Prior to his position at LTC, Franklin taught music at Modesto Junior College (Modesto, CA), Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN), and Southwestern Michigan College (Dowagiac, MI). He also operated a private music studio in Modesto.
Franklin holds an associate’s degree in music from Modesto Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in flute performance from Bethel College, and a master’s degree in choral conducting from Bowling Green State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Washington.
His conducting experience includes stints with the Goshen Community Chorale, Modesto Junior College Masterworks Chorus, and the choirs of First United Methodist Church in Modesto and Steel Lake Presbyterian Church in Federal Way, WA. In addition, he conducted the Bowling Green State University Choral Society and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in the European premiere of a Dave Brubeck work. He also served as assistant conductor for Vesper Chorale in South Bend, IN, and has conducted a number of college choirs as a teaching assistant.
As a performer, he played flute professionally with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Modesto Performing Arts, Townsend Opera Players, Vesper Chamber Orchestra, Camaraderie Woodwind Quintet, and Serendipity Winds.
Click here to contact Jeshua Franklin
Chris Bynum - Guitar Instructor
Don Correll - Jazz Band Director
Melissa Couch - Violin/Strings Instructor
Melissa Couch holds Bachelor of Music Performance and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Indiana State University. She will complete a Master of Music Performance degree in the spring of 2013. She began violin studies at age eight with Julane Lund and became a member of the Columbus, Indiana Philharmonic at 16 years of age. In 2004 she became a member of the Terre Haute Symphony orchestra where she remains in service. She has served as concertmaster of the Indiana State University Symphony from 2005 to 2010 as well as performing in the University String Quartet. In the spring of 2012, she completed her graduate recital featuring the little-known Violin Concerto by Karl Goldmark. She has studied viola with Allison Edberg and Logan Strawn. She has participated in jazz ensembles under the mentorship of Brent McPike and has engaged in a variety of non-traditional musical collaborations in the non-classical sphere.
Greg Downes - Low Brass Instructor
Greg Downes is currently Director of Bands at the Palestine CUSD #3 and Instructor of Low Brass at Lincoln Trail College. Mr. Downes holds degrees from the University of Evansville and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. He is currently a Doctor of Music Arts student at the University of Illinois. He has taught public school music in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, and at Indiana University, and the University of Nevada-Reno. His is a member of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and a former member of the Terre Haute Symphony, Owensboro Symphony, Reno Philharmonic, and the Italian National Radio (RAI) Orchestra of Turin, Italy.
Brenda Harris - Piano/Little Mozarts Instructor
Brenda Harris has been an adjunct faculty member of the LTC music department since spring semester of 1998. She has an associates degree from John A. Logan College, Carterville, IL, a bachelor's degree in Music Education with a piano major from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL, and also a master's degree in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood emphasis from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL. Since coming to LTC, Brenda has accompanied the Statesmen Singers and several theatrical productions, directed the Singing Senior choir, taught KinderMusik and Little Mozarts for young children, taught early childhood courses and piano classes as well as private lessons. Other musical endeavors include worship coordinator and pianist at Oblong First Baptist Church. Brenda, and her husband Randy, live in Oblong. They have a son, Michael, a daughter, Emily, and a grandson, Blake.
Click here to contact Brenda Harris
Marie Lakin - Piano/Voice Instructor
Marie Lakin has 30+ years experience teaching piano and voice. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance (minors in vocal performance and German) from Methodist University, a K-12 vocal general music teaching license in the states of Tennessee and Indiana, and has just completed all the course work for her Masters in Music Education from Ball State University.
Marie has taught at Methodist University, Taylor University Fort Wayne, and Ball State University. She has also accompanied at Taylor University Fort Wayne, Huntington University, and Johnson University. Her public school teaching experience includes: 7.5 years high school, 2.5 years middle school and a year on the elementary level. She enjoys working with students of all ages.
Click here to contact Marie Lakin
Kyle Lutes - Percussion Instructor
Kyle Lutes joined the Lincoln Trail College faculty in 2011. Kyle received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Indiana State University in the spring of 2011. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Indiana State University. At ISU, Mr. Lutes is a performing member of the Wind Orchestra, University Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Steel Band, and several other ensembles. Some of his recent performances includes performing with the Cramped Spaces piano and percussion quartet, and performing with the Indiana State University Wind Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Chicago, Illinois. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Indiana Music Educators Association, and the National Society for Music Educators.
Click here to contact Kyle Lutes
Yvonne Newlin - Director of Music Emeritus/Piano & Organ Instructor
Yvonne Newlin recently retired as a full-time instructor but continues as the coordinator of performing arts, teaching music theory and applied piano and organ.
The LTC graduate has a bachelor’s degree in organ performance and a master’s degree in keyboard pedagogy and conducting from Eastern Illinois University. She is an active member of the Music Educators national and state conferences and International Association of Jazz Educators.
An adjudicator, clinician and workshop presenter in music education, Yvonne is also the conductor of the Terre Haute Community Band during the summer.
Click here to contact Yvonne Newlin
Janie Piersall - Piano Instructor
Janie grew up in Oblong and graduated from Oblong High School in 1974. She graduated from Asbury University in 1979 with a bachelor of science in elementary education and a minor in music. She married Ray Piersall in 1978 and together they have pastored Crawford County Christian Center in Robinson since 1993. They have 5 children ages 26 through 34 and 6 grandchildren from 6 months to 7 years old and one due in September. She gave piano lessons in her home 1985-89, was a teacher for Robinson Head Start 1988-89, taught 2nd & 3rd grades at New Hebron Christian School, Robinson, 1989-91, was a substitute teacher in Crawford County schools, 1991-94, taught 6th & 7th grade language and reading at Hutsonville, 1994-2000, was the director for a birth through 5 yr. old program, P.E.P., and taught music K-4th at Hutsonville Elementary, 2000-04, gave private voice and piano lessons at New Hebron Christian School and did a volunteer music time for grades K-5th from 2004-2011. She is currently an aide for the band and chorus directors and a lunch supervisor at Robinson High School. She has been an adjunct piano teacher at LTC for the past 3 ½ years. She loves spending time with her grandchildren, playing Words with Friends with her children, and praise and worship at church.
Larry Quick - Theater Instructor