Our Praise Team

Praise Team
Left to Right around the piano. Shaddai Kinney, Maura Fornataro (Music Director), Alexis Gilghrist, Stephanie Holt, Sue Keely (Bell Choir Director), Bill Stroia, Tom Schaffner, John Gibbons, and Bill Coates.

We are extremely blessed here at Highland to have a unique and powerful praise ministry.  Our praise team vibrantly leads our worship services every Sunday, as well as special services.

The praise band includes piano, keyboard, brass, guitar, and percussion instruments.  The vision statement of this ministry is to have an anointed, vibrant, continually expanding worship team comprised of vocalist and instrumentalist who strive for excellence.  The team live lives to honor Our Lord and can lead the congregation in worship that brings glory to God.

We are also blessed to have our children love to use their voices and talents to sing praises to Jesus.  Under the direction of Karmin Dando, our children will on occasion bring their gifts to our services.  The children bless us with songs of joy and worship, as well as always bringing a smile to everyone's faces.

Maura Fornataro - Director

Make a joyful noise.I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.  Psalm 104:33

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!  All the earth bows down to you; They sing praise to You, they sing praise to your name.   Psalm 66:1,2,4

As a young child, Maura at the age of 6, began her musical studies.  Organ, piano, and voice lessons were her life, and she can't remember a time when music didn't fill her soul.  She obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from Duquesne University as well as spending her first two years attending Westminster College.  She was blessed to be under the Maura Fornataro - Praise Team Director.instruction and teaching of Dr. Raymond Ocock since the 10th grade. He had a major influence in her life and in choosing her career goal of being in sacred music.

Living in Florida, her and her husband Mike attended and were very involved in ministries at the Tree of  Life Christian Center, where she was mentored in worship leading under a dear friend and now Pastor Jennifer Sandy.  Jennifer also influenced her life and passion for worship.  Upon reading the book "Called, Appointed, Anointed", her path was directed into worship ministries and has remained there ever since.

Since moving back home to New Castle in 1993, Mike and Maura have been involved in several churches and in ministry therein.  In July of 2012, God sovereignly led Maura to Highland Presbyterian Church.  She was grateful to be hired on staff to oversee the Worship and Music Ministries.

Maura is married to an amazing and gifted husband, Michael, who is extremely involved at Highland as well.  He is a member of the Session, Finance Committee, and heads the Sound and Media Ministries.  He is her rock and better half.  They have two wonderful children, Michael and Mariah, both young adults now, and Maura Fornataro - Praise Team Director.set on their life careers.  When they are home, Highland is their spiritual home.

Maura said that serving at Highland has been and continues to be a joy and fulfillment in her life.  She states that she is blessed beyond measure to be under the powerful and anointed leadership of our pastor, Pastor Richard Kinney, and the believers of this congregation that make our church a lighthouse in this city.

Her last thoughts are to anyone considering a church home.  She states, "I  know you will find Highland a church where you can come just as you are, find and experience the abundant  and fulfilling life in Jesus Christ, be blessed to be a blessing to others,  and finally take what you receive here and build the kingdom of God here on earth until Jesus comes again."


In Christ's shalom,

Maura Fonataro