Blue Ridge

       Vocal Connection



Thomas DeBusk

Joe Borden

Sam Kimzey

Chorus Directors 

Leslie Mabe took her music education degree at Radford University. More recently she has performed with the Rainier Trio, the Wytheville Community College Choir. She also serves as the music director at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Wytheville, VA.

Mrs. Mabe counts having sung at Carnegie Hall with well-known arranger & composer Mark Hayes and soloed for prolific arranger Pepper Chaplin at Carnegie Hall.

A lyric soprano, she is in constant demand as a solo singer, but she counts among her greatest joys performing with fellow singers of all skill levels in her community choir, and passing on a love of music to new generations of her elementary school students.

Leslie Mabe,

Allisonia Chorus Director

Thomas DeBusk,

Brush Mountain Chorus Director

A poor piano pupil and a worse organ student, Thomas DeBusk finally hit his stride when he took two years of music theory in college. Suddenly, the mysteriously elusive patterns among those pesky little notes made sense!

That opened the door to a lifetime of arranging, directing, singing, and playing piano & organ in church and community chorus settings. Nowadays Thomas considers a group of people willing and able to sing in harmony his best instrument. And he loves to share his passionate drive to hone his own musical skills with others.

Want to find out what that’s like? Just ask him for his insights from the introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order, or any of the music theory & conducting textbooks he’s devoured, or the Montana International Choral Festival.

Hailing from Blacksburg, Virginia, Sam is a homeschool graduate and the second-oldest of eight kids. He graduated with honors in May 2020 from Bluefield College with a B.A. in History and Christian Studies and a minor in music. He also graduated in December 2023 with a Master of Arts in Humanities from the University of Dallas. He is passionate about classical education, particularly teaching and studying the liberal arts, history, philosophy, theology, and literature. He is committed to enjoying and practicing the art of music, particularly through piano, guitar, and choir. He teaches Lower School choir at Valley Classical School, teaches private piano lessons, and directs the teen choir for the New River Valley Singing School. He also enjoys studying and teaching music theory, music history, and church music.

Joe Borden,

Dan River Chorus Director


Kimzey, Claytor Lake Chorus Director

Sam Kimzey

Sam Kimzey

Dr. Joseph Borden has conducted choral and instrumental ensembles of various sizes and types for over 50 years. These include church choirs, school, community and military choruses as well as theatrical productions. He has taught music to students of all ages, from pre-school children to senior adults.

Dr. Borden holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Georgia, a Master of Music Education from Georgia State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

‍ He recently returned to the New River Valley after 27 years teaching and making music in East Tennessee and New Hampshire. No stranger to this area, he served as the associate pastor for music at Blacksburg Baptist church from 1984 - 1995. Dr. Borden currently conducts the chancel choir of Grove United Methodist Church in Radford, VA. This past summer he served as the vocal director for the highly regarded Summer Musical Enterprise production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.

Blue Ridge Vocal Connection

Thomas L. DeBusk


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