Song Evangelist and Musicians

Brian Arner

When he knelt at the altar as a boy and gave his heart and life to the Lord, Brian Arner had no idea that God had gifted him with an incredible ability to sing. Although he was exposed to music as he grew up in the church, it was not until he was 23 years old that his voice was revealed. Since that time, Brian has been singing from his heart the praises of Jesus Christ.

A great deal has happened since that time. Brian has emerged as one of the finest voices in inspirational Christian music. His dramatic solo interpretations thrill, inspire and move his listeners. Whether Brian is ministering in his hometown church, or sharing in the national ministries of Youth for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, In Touch Ministries, Love Worth Finding, Turning Point Ministries or others, Brian’s vocal quality is matched only by the depth and sincerity of his spirit. His genuine love for God, his family and those around him is evident in all that he does.

Since beginning his full-time ministry, Brian has completed eight solo recordings including arrangements produced and orchestrated by seven-time Grammy nominee Mr. Lari Goss. These recordings minister to the hearts and souls of all who hear them and have been played across the country on numerous radio stations.

Although Brian is a skilled musician, he is first and foremost a music minister. He lives what he sings, and all that he sings is soul stirring and spiritually stirring.

Hank Oplinger, Pianist

Oplinger-HankHank Oplinger is the Minister of Worship and Music at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Belleville, Ill. He has been at St. Matthew for more than 20 years where he leads an extensive music program, including producing musical dramas in the Christmas and Easter seasons. More than three hundred people participate in the St. Matthew music ministry under Hank’s direction. He also teaches a Sunday School Class. Before coming to Belleville, he served in music and youth ministries in Waycross, Ga.; Wichita, Kan.; and Nashville, Tenn. He grew up in and continues to embrace the Wesleyan Holiness teachings.

Carrie Crago, Organist

Carrie_Crago_275x175Carrie Crago currently serves as a staff pianist at St. Matthew UMC, Belleville, Ill., directs the handbell choir, and assists in various areas of the music ministry. She previously served as Organist and Education/Music Assistant at St. Matthew from 1984 to 1988. From 1989-2009 she served as the Director of Music Ministry and organist at Collinsville UMC and Troy UMC. Carrie just recently retired as K-5 music teacher in O’Fallon School District #90 after 30 years.

In 2018, Carrie was awarded educator of the year for the state of Illinois by the O’Fallon VFW and has ignited and fostered a love for music in the lives of thousands of children.