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Emmanuel Reformed Church        2017      All rights reserved
Rich & Lynelle Criss, Brittany & Allysa.
Rich Criss is very well-known throughout Iowa and Illinois as a dynamic vocalist
and pianist. Growing up in the little town of Fulton, Illinois, Rich began singing solos
in area churches when he was just three years old. He began being coached vocally
by his mother, Sharon who would work with him on the solos he would sing for
area churches, nursing homes and wherever invitations to sing would present
themselves. Chauffeured by his father, Norm and accompanied in the early years by
Millie Heun, Rich would sing for many services and special events. He then began
taking piano lessons when he was in 2nd grade from Gloria Pessman in Fulton and
continued with her for the next 10 years, also taking organ lessons during that time.
He became one of the regular organists at First Reformed Church, Fulton, in 1985, at
the age of 15. He attended college at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb as a vocal
music major. Founding the widely acclaimed Celebration Chorale in 1994, Criss spent
the next 13 years as Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in DeKalb,
Illinois before receiving a call into full-time ministry. In February of 2007, Rich
began serving the Emmanuel Reformed Church in Morrison, Illinois as the church’s
Ministry Coordinator which is a unique position that is 35% director of music and
65% associate pastor. Since being there, the church’s Sanctuary Choir has grown
from 18 to 60 members and its 85-voice outreach choir, Voices of Praise presents
Christmas and Spring cantata concerts to overflow audiences. During his 20 years of
choral conducting, Rich has been blessed to have his choirs seen on stage with
inspirational Christian vocalist Steve Green, as well as appearing with southern gospel
group, The Hoppers. Rich himself has sung with The Perrys and Legacy Five.
Rich is married to his wife of 23 years, Lynelle and they
reside in Morrison. They are the parents of Brittany and
Allysa. Brittany is married to Matt VanDrew and they are
expecting their first child in July. They also live in Morrison.
Allysa is a senior at Morrison High School.