Gifted musicians work with Children’s Choirs for those 3 years old through elementary school. Many students in our youth group not only sing in the choir, but play a variety of instruments. We are fortunate to maintain a strong relationship with Furman University. Furman students sing in the Sanctuary Choir and have additional leadership opportunities through the Herring church music internship and Herring choral scholar program. The Sanctuary Choir is the primary choir for our worship services and usually prepares from four to six music services each year. The Sanctuary Choir has had the honor of performing for national and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. They have sung for Furman Church Music Conferences with guest conductors, Mack Wilberg, Andre Thomas and John Ferguson. In 2016, they hosted a residence with composer Morten Lauridsen and had the opportunity to work with him on his Lux Aeterna with chamber orchestra.They have also traveled to sing in the Riverside Church in New York City, Duke Chapel in Durham, NC, and been invited to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. They have sung major choral and orchestral works including: Handel’s Messiah, Faure Requiem, Brahms Requiem, Rutter Gloria and Magnificat, Pinkham Christmas Cantata, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The Sanctuary Choir is an energetic, dedicated group of people who sing everything from Handel and Mendelssohn to Latin American sambas and jazz. If you want to be part of a community of faith where music is a vital part of our services and youth and children’s ministries, join us in worship and discover the gifts that music can offer us all in our spiritual journeys.
Dr. Vivian Hamilton conducts the Sanctuary Choir and is the primary planner for music in our worship services at First Baptist Greenville. An accomplished pianist as well as vocalist and conductor, Dr. Hamilton also conducts the Furman University Women’s Chorale and serves as a collaborative pianist on the music faculty of Furman University. Dr. Hamilton has been a singer in the Robert Shaw Institute Festival Singers where she had the opportunity to work with Robert Shaw and has studied conducting with Dan Lewis and Edvard Tchivzhel. She has worked with choirs at Simmons College, Emerson College, the University of South Carolina, Northeastern University and Clemson University. For twelve years, she conducted the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium Chorale and is a former president of the South Carolina American Choral Directors Association. Her choral conducting experience also includes work at Baptist and Methodist churches in Massachusetts and South Carolina, and in the public schools of Boston and upstate South Carolina. She has worked as a collaborative pianist in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout South Carolina. She received her doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the University of South Carolina, her masters degree in piano performance from New England Conservatory of Music, and her bachelors degree in music education from Furman University.
Shelton Ridge Love grew up in a musical family. His love for music began by watching his mother play the organ at the church where his father served as pastor. It was not long before Shelton was actively involved in the church music ministry. Since that time, he has served as pianist, organist and director of music in several churches in Kansas City, MO, and Upstate South Carolina.
Shelton earned his undergraduate degree in Organ Performance from Bob Jones University studying with Dr. Ed Dunbar. He also studied composition with Dan Forrest, Joan Pinkston and Seth Custer. He owes much of his training to his time spent working as Shelly Hamilton’s assistant at Majesty Music here in Greenville, SC, through which many of his choral, keyboard and orchestral works have been published.
In addition to his duties as Organist at First Baptist Greenville, Shelton works as a composer, arranger and piano instructor. Shelton enjoys being actively engaged in social work in the community, and he performs stand-up comedy as a hobby.
A native of Kansas City, MO, Shelton has lived in Greenville for ten years and currently resides near downtown.
Vocare is the vocal ensemble of youth in grades 6-12. They rehearse on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 before Youth Family activities begin at 5:00pm. Amy Joye is their director, and Shelton Ridge Love serves as their accompanist.
Originally from Woodruff, SC, Amy grew up as a member of Woodruff First Baptist Church where her mother was Minister of Music and father was Choir Director. She graduated from Furman University in 1995 with the Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music. She also attended Converse College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, studying vocal performance and music education. Amy has taught preschool and elementary music in Kentucky and North Carolina and has led workshops for children’s choir directors in Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Missouri. Amy has served as the Children’s Choir Director at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, as the Music Associate for Children at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, and as the Children’s Choir Coordinator at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.
Upon moving back to Greenville in 2008, Amy joined First Baptist Greenville and became active in the Music Ministry here, serving as Junior Choir Director and singing in the Sanctuary Choir. She is a children’s choir curriculum author and has had music and materials published by Lifeway and Growing in Grace. She also created her own preschool church choir curriculum Sing, Play, Rejoice in God!
Amy is also an accomplished singer and performs with the Greenville Chorale, the Herring Chamber Ensemble and the South Carolina Bach Choir. Amy is the proud mother of Will Bailey, who is also an active musician and church member at First Baptist Greenville.
The six Children’s Choirs range in age from 3 years old to 5th grade. They meet on Wednesday evenings throughout the school year. The Children’s Choirs and the Children’s Missions groups coordinate their schedules and meet between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. with music following missions at 6:15 p.m. Each choir is named: Angel Choir (3 year olds), Archangel Choir (4 year olds), Treble Choir (5 year olds), Melody Choir (1st grade), Harmony Choir (2nd grade), and Junior Choir (3rd/4th/5th grades).
Priscilla Harris is the coordinator for the Children’s Choirs at First Baptist Greenville. She is a graduate of Furman University with degrees in music and mathematics. She has sung in several choral organizations including the Furman Singers, the Atlanta Choral Society, the Appalachian Chorale, the Greenville Chorale and the FBG Sanctuary Choir. Priscilla has also been a soloist for each of these musical groups. As a sign language interpreter by trade, she enjoys using sign language with the Treble Choir she directs. Priscilla thinks it is wonderful to be in a church that values the meaningful contributions of our children through music.
Kimberly Coates has served as the Music and Worship Ministry Assistant at First Baptist Greenville since 2008. Kimberly works closely with Vivian Hamilton and Shelton Ridge Love with regard to the Sanctuary Choir and worship services. She has the privilege to work on many aspects of the worship services from planning to implementation. She also enjoys working with Priscilla Harris, the leaders of the Children’s Choirs and Amy Joye, providing whatever support she can. Getting to know members of the choirs and their families is a joy and makes a large church seem smaller. Kimberly is also responsible for the church newsletter, trying to keep the church informed on events within the church as well as those within our community and affiliates. A graduate of Mars Hill College, Kimberly has a math degree but continued music study, singing with Dr. William Thomas in the Mars Hill College Choir. Kimberly and her husband, Lee, have three grown children: Brittany, Jordan (Gracie) and Sara Kathryn.
September 16, 10:30am – South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Wind Ensemble in Morning Worship (Sanctuary)
September 23, 10:30am – Tim Seelig, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director, in Morning Worship as Guest Conductor (Sanctuary)
October 5, 3:30pm – Sanctuary Choir Concert in Fall Conference of the South Carolina American Choral Directors Association (St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Charleston, SC)
October 13, 7:00pm – Greenville Symphony Orchestra Spotlight Series: Sherwood’s Picks (Fellowship Hall) – ticketed event
December 1, 5:30pm – Chicora Voices Holiday Concert (Sanctuary) – ticketed event
December 4, 7:30pm – South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Sinfonia Concert (Sanctuary)
December 9, 10:30am – “From Darkness to Light…” – Sanctuary Choir Music Service with Selections from Handel’s Messiah and Christmas Carols with Orchestra (Sanctuary)
December 23, 6:30pm – Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols (Sanctuary)
January 12, 7:00pm – Greenville Symphony Orchestra Spotlight Series: A Wintry Mix (Fellowship Hall) – ticketed event
February 23, 7:00pm – Greenville Symphony Orchestra Spotlight Series: Bookends (Fellowship Hall) – ticketed event
March 3, 10:30am – Kate Campbell, Guest Artist in Morning Worship (Sanctuary)
April 12, 8:00pm – Greenville Chorale Spring Concert – ticketed event (Sanctuary)
Bonclarken Guest Conductor Amy Joye, director of our Junior Choir and Vocare, has been invited to serve as a guest conductor for the Bonclarken Music Conference this summer. She will serve as junior clinician, working with 4th and 5th-grade singers, and be part of...read more
AUGUST 4, 10:30AM The Furman Singers, the oldest of Furman University’s choral ensemble, was founded in 1946 by the late DuPre Rhame while he also served as the director of music at First Baptist Greenville. In 1979, DuPre Rhame (retired in 1970) and the then...read more
The Sanctuary Choir is preparing some especially great music for our worship service on February 17 – some old and some new. Handel’s Coronation anthems are some of the most beautiful choral sacred music in the repertoire. We will sing “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened,”...read more