Laura Gardner

Music and children's ministry have been the focus of most of my life. My first influence was my mother, a singer, and leader of children's music at church. Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, I spent countless hours practicing piano, cello and voice. Throughout the years, I had amazing opportunities to participate in various choirs, Madrigal singers, show choir, musical theater, and orchestra. During my college years, I spent summers performing in a musical theater revue. Along the way, I volunteered in children's music ministry too.

I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. As a young person, I became convicted that I was a sinner, and asked Jesus to save me. When reading through the book of John, I began to understand that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin, but for those who continue in Christ's Word, they will know the truth, and the truth will make them free. (John 8:31-34)

I received a bachelor of Elementary Education with Vocal Music from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. After graduation, I married, had a daughter and a son, and began homeschooling.

God led our family to ACS through moving next door to another family who attended the school. In 1999, the need arose for a preschool assistant substitute teacher, which was when I began teaching. My daughter and son eventually became full time Ames Christian students, and I joined the school board. I continued to work as a volunteer, especially in the music program.

I sensed God's leading with each new opportunity that came about at ACS, eventually opening the door for the position as vocal music teacher in 2009. I enjoy teaching younger students musical concepts through games, as well as theory for the older ones using classical music. And what fun we all have "making a joyful noise to the Lord" through a variety of worship music in chapel, and in our Christmas and spring musicals! Attending music workshops and conferences with Kodaly Educators of Iowa, Iowa Music Educators Association and Majesty Music (Patch the Pirate) are great resources for sharing new music and innovative methods to ACS students.

I attend Calvary Bible Fellowship in Ames, which is affiliated with Calvary Chapel of California. One of my favorite weekly activities is a women's community Inductive Bible study sponsored by my church. I also enjoy hiking, traveling and singing with the Sonshine Singers of Ft. Dodge.