Author & Host
I grew up in Los Angeles, where I discovered that, contrary to received opinion, you can see the world from there and from other American vantages. It’s a new world. But that’s an old story. So, with the aid and comfort of some friends, and in the freedom that seems at home in America, and even in L.A., I thought to tell that old story in a new way. New to me, anyway. I have labored in the groves of academe and continue to labor. But on early mornings, late afternoons, long weekends, and in weeks of leisure, I like to ride my old motorcycle around the best back roads I can find and out into the broad land and write poems, songs, and stories like these.
Many golden years ago, I was one of the founders of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy in Claremont, California. I remain a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a Contributing Editor of the Claremont Review of Books.
Editing & Production
Chris says Sara’s most important role is inspiration. But she also does research and manages all operations of The American Story project. She simply counts herself lucky to get to love Chris and join him in his life and in his work.
In addition to his role with The American Story, Derek Wood is the General Manager of 88.9-FM WRDL, Ashland University’s award-winning, student-run radio station. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the Journalism and Digital Media Department, teaching both Basic and Advanced Audio Production, as well as Radio Production and Programming. He has received a Bachelors Degree in Digital Media Journalism and Sport Communication with a minor in Digital Media Production from Ashland University as well as a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kent State University. In addition to WRDL, he is currently working professionally at 104.5-FM WQKT in Wooster, Ohio. He works frequently with both WQKT and SportsTime Ohio as a play-by-play sports broadcaster. Other professional experience includes audio editing, board operations, and on-air announcing. His work in sports broadcasting has been recognized by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, having been awarded first place in the country in 2017. You can learn more about Derek Wood online here.
Dr. Patrick J. Garrity holds research appointments at the Matthew J. Ryan Center, Villanova University, and the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. He received a Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has been a Senior Policy Analyst (Technical Staff Member) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory; a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); and a Visiting Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He taught at the Catholic University of America and the Naval Postgraduate School. His works include In Search of Monsters to Destroy? American Foreign Policy, Revolution, and Regime Change, 1776-1900; A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington’s Farewell Address; and The Nixon White House Tapes: SALT, February-May 1971 (digital volume). He has published on American national security policy and historical topics in such journals as Survival, Washington Quarterly, The National Interest, Parameters, Comparative Strategy and Journal of Strategic Studies.
Dr. Abbylin H. Sellers is an Associate Professor of American Politics at Azusa Pacific University in Southern, California. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science (American Politics and Public Policy) from Claremont Graduate University. Her areas of teaching emphasis are U.S. political institutions (the constitutional presidency and war powers; Congress and the legislative process), state and local politics, welfare policy, and 20th century Communism. She also serves as a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College, teaching the Democracy colloquy. She is currently working on a book project about immigrant entrepreneurs in Los Angeles County. The project focuses on the hard work, perseverance, and human flourishing of first-generation immigrants. The ethic of grit is visibly demonstrated by the service these immigrant entrepreneurs provide to the public and their local communities. Their success in pursuing the American Dream by navigating cultural differences in a free society, private business ownership, and regulations, is worth telling and celebrating.
Blake is a freelance bass trombonist and music industry professional who performs in various ensembles around the L.A. area. Blake is thrilled to be working as the Music Supervisor for The American Story, as he is passionate about America's history and using music to help tell stories. Blake graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a BM in Commercial Music Business and is currently attending the University of Southern California in pursuit of an MS in Music Industry with a concentration in Music Supervision and Visual Media.
Michael Jon DeHays is a freelance electric cellist, composer and recording engineer from Mishawaka, Indiana. His time is spent composing music, recording and mixing audio at Kickstart Studios, or performing on electric cello as Imphormal. He is a member of the “Computer Geek, Tech-head Club” and also a part time Worship Team Technical Director.
His music began with the cello at age 8 and grew to include bass guitar. Additionally, service in the United States Air Force provided a solid education in electronics which he promptly applied to audio engineering, recording, and performance technology.
His writing draws on inspiration from a wide variety of musical genres. Other inspirations include the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudy Van Gelder, Vince Guaraldi, and Piero Umiliani.
Michael has long been surrounded or inspired by the culture of Japan. This has a way of appearing in compositions in addition to his mainstream American roots.
As a lover of history, great storytelling, and American life, Michael was inspired by “The American Story” and instantly felt a connection which drove his desire to contribute.
Ian Berry is a freelance composer, orchestrator, arranger, and guitarist based in Los Angeles. Throughout his career, Berry’s music has spanned the worlds of film music, jazz, theater, chamber works, pop, bluegrass, and world music. Berry has collaborated with various members of the LA Film and TV community such as Michael Lee, Mike Watts, Bill Connor, Corey Martin, Tom Gire and John Sponsler of Brand X Music. Berry’s collaborations with the Brand X Music team include orchestration credits on their retro-fueled heist album, Spy and Caper. In addition to his orchestration work, he has also contributed original music to productions for KB Homes, Sonic Drive-In Restaurants, and Paramount’s Rocketman. In 2019, Berry was asked to collaborate with orchestrator Daniel Semsen during Danny Elfman’s debut appearance at the Coachella Music Festival.
Apart from media composition and orchestration, more of Berry’s music can be found on Spotify and his website ianberryscoring.com. There, listeners can find the original jazz album Puttin’ the Puzzle Together, the world-and-ethnic sounds of Atlas, a live-performance experience of his Kaleidoscope production, various short film soundtrack albums, and other notable film/media-based projects.
Berry has also had the privilege of performing on guitar with many great artists and groups such as the Tex Beneke Orchestra, Billy Childs, Justo Almario, Tom Hynes, the Lindy Sisters, Dean Morra and his Orchestra, Just-A-Skosh Bluegrass band, and more.
Berry's pursuit of the arts has revealed a deeper understanding of not only the role he serves in the world of today but also in the kingdom of God. Using his God-given talents and abilities, Berry intends to share the beautiful story of the Gospel through his music and professional interactions with those he encounters. He attributes all the success he’s had to the Lord and looks forward to creating music that he may share with the world.
Growing up, there was always music in my house. My father played the bassoon in the Cleveland Orchestra, and my mother played the cello and string bass. I loved the folk music of the sixties, so I taught myself to play the guitar, based upon my knowledge of the violin, and I learned all my songs by listening to records. My newest CD is called “Sleep Like Fish” and includes songs for all people, whether children or grown-up, who have trouble going to sleep or staying there. Prior to that CD is “Plenty”- a cornucopia of songs celebrating the positive in life, the mystery of a large oak table, a piano, a neon sign….and a wolf. The song “Feed the Right Wolf” has been arranged for choir and recently performed at Disneyworld. Other recordings are “It’s About Time,” “Songfest,” “Like the Light of the Moon,” and “Cowboy on the Highway.” My duo, Goslee Reed and Kean, has a live CD recorded at an old stone chapel in Gambier, Ohio, near my home in Mount Vernon, where I reside with my husband, pets and numerous plants. I play violin in the Knox County Symphony and spend my time gardening, writing songs, and playing with my three grandchildren. All recordings are available at www.store.cdbaby.com and through iTunes and other online sites.
Alayne Wegner is a Violinist, Private Instructor, and Arts Administrator based in Columbus, Ohio. A graduate from Kenyon College (’17) with a dual degree in Music and Sociology, Wegner holds such achievements as the Thomas B. and Mary M. Greenslade Award for Music Performance, the First Place Prize in the Collegiate Division of the Young Musicians Competition with the Knox County Symphony, and Distinction in Music for her Senior Comprehensive Exercise. Since graduating in May of 2017, her creative and detail-oriented approach to the violin has led to passionate and dynamic performances, engaging and effective teaching, and organized and deliberate arts administration.
Wegner performs regularly with multiple local symphonies in Central Ohio, including the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Newark Granville Symphony, the McConnel Arts Center Chamber Orchestra, and the Lima Symphony Orchestra. She also is the Principal Second Violinist of the Knox County Symphony. Wegner teaches a sizable collection of private students. In Columbus, Ohio, she holds positions with First Choice Music Studio of Dublin and City Strings & Piano Columbus. She also balances her own studio of private students across Knox County, Ohio. Wegner has invested her time in Arts Administration by serving as a Board Member of the Knox County Symphony and as a Music Librarian for the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra. By combining her practical experience in musical performance with her passion for spreading musical education and promoting community involvement, Wegner has thus far created a sprouting multi-faceted musical career. Wegner is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
You can learn more about Alayne Wegner online on her website alaynewegner.com.