Music

Music at First Baptist Greenville is a thriving ministry with an incredible level of talent.

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

Minister of Music

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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. Since 2022, she has been part of “A Thriving in Ministry,” a group supported by a Lilly Endowment grant and sponsored by Polyphony (an organization of church musicians) and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This is an intentional community of pastoral musicians from across the country working to build and sustain collegial relationships that seek shared learning, best practices, and enhanced thriving in ministry in the field of church music. 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.

Kimberly Coates

Music and Worship Ministry Assistant

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Kimberly Coates has served as the Music and Worship Ministry Assistant at First Baptist Greenville since 2008. Kimberly works closely with Vivian Hamilton 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 Amy Joye and the leaders of the Children’s Choirs , 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; and two granddaughters, Cece and Olivia.

Charles Tompkins

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An active church musician throughout his career, Charles Tompkins returns to First Baptist as Organist in 2023, previously serving in the that role from 1997 to 2016. He has also served other churches in our area and as consultant for a number of outstanding organs, including Furman’s Hartness Organ, a 42-stop instrument by C.B. Fisk organ builders (Opus 121).

Charles Tompkins is recognized as one of America’s most outstanding organ teachers and concert organists. He is the Distinguished University Organist at Furman University, where he recently retired from full-time teaching. He continues to serve as Organ Accompanist for the Furman Singers and Chamber Choir and as Director of Furman’s Hartness Organ Recital Series.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester) and the University of Michigan, Tompkins is an active recitalist, performing at prestigious venues in both the United States and abroad every year. Recent international engagements have included recitals at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris and St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. He has performed at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Music Teachers National Association, and the College Music Society. His performances have also been broadcast nationally on American Public Media’s PIPEDREAMS radio program.

Youth

 Vocare

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.

Amy Joye

Music Associate

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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.

Children

Music for Children at First Baptist Greenville is an opportunity for our children to experience God’s love as they sing hymns and other songs of our faith, play instruments, and develop musical skills. In choir, our children will learn to praise God and lead others in worship, while building a strong musical foundation, so they can continue to participate in worship through music for the rest of their lives.

Children from 4 years old through 5th grade can participate in our Children’s Music Program on Wednesday evenings throughout the school year. The Choirs for Preschool (K4 & K5) and Elementary (Grades 1-5) meet on the B400 Hall as a part of our Children@First Wednesday Evening Program. After a brief gathering time at 5:30pm, children attend their age-specific music activities from 5:45-6:20pm and then Bible study, Mission and other activities from 6:25-7:00pm.

Bell Tower Ringers

Julie Treu has a long history of playing and directing handbells.

She joined First Baptist in 2016, coming from a local church where she directed five handbell choirs for 18 years. Here at FBG, she assisted with resurrecting the handbell ministry and was both the administrator and a ringer for the first few years until taking over as director in 2019. She also has participated in local handbell ensemble groups such as Carolina Bronze to make sure her “hands keep ringing!”

The Bell Tower Ringers ensemble handbell choir was born in the spring of 2016 and consists of 13-14 ringers, most of whom have many years of ringing experience, but some are without any but have a willingness to learn! New ringers are always welcome to join the sub list, with the anticipation of being first to be asked to permanently join the choir when positions open up. Rehearsals are on Sunday evenings, and the Bell Tower Ringers provide music for Sunday morning worship services throughout the year. Rehearsals are suspended during the summer months.

Music@First

Sunday, October 15, 3:00pm
Renowned trumpeter Ivano Ascari and organist Leonardo Carrieri will present a recital (Sanctuary). Come for worship at 10:30am to hear them then, too!

Sunday, December 3, 3:00pm
Ring in the Season with Bell Tower Ringers Christmas Concert – “A Carol for All Seasons” (Sanctuary)

Sunday, December 10, 10:30am
FBG’s Sanctuary Choir accompanied by chamber orchestra will present The Peace and Joy of Christmas music service in celebration of the Second Sunday of Advent. (Sanctuary)

Sunday, December 17, 6:30pm
The Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols
This service of scripture readings and music with congregational candle lighting is held to celebrate the season. (Sanctuary)

2024

Friday,February 9, 7:30pm
St. Olaf College Choir in Concert – ticketed event (Sanctuary)

Sunday, February 18, 3:00pm
Organist Charles Tompkins will present a recital in celebration of the 40th anniversary of our Casavant organ. (Sanctuary).

Sunday, April 21, 10:30am
Music for the Soul: FBG’s Sanctuary Choir will present a service of music. (Sanctuary)

Sunday, April 28, 3:00pm
Greenville Chorale Concert (Sanctuary) – ticketed event

Sunday, May 19, 3:00pm
Crown Mountain Trio (Sanctuary) – free concert

Latest News

Music Ministry

Music for the Soul

Working here in our Music Ministry is a tremendous blessing in my life. When I initially came to First Baptist Greenville some years ago, I was struck by the people in the Sanctuary Choir. This is an unusual group of people from different ages, different backgrounds...

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Music for the Soul

Working here in our Music Ministry is a tremendous blessing in my life. When I initially came to First Baptist Greenville some years ago, I was struck by the people in the Sanctuary Choir. This is an unusual group of people from different ages, different backgrounds...

read more

Join the Musical Joy

Do you know that singing in a choir makes you happier? That is true for me, but thanks to the research of many learned scientists reported in an article in The Choral Director magazine, it’s a proven fact. I can only tell you from my experience; I leave Wednesday’s...

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40th Anniversary Recital

The year 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the installation of First Baptist’s marvelous Casavant organ. For this wonderful occasion, I am delighted to present a celebratory recital! It will take place on Sunday afternoon, February 18, at 3pm. The program will...

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St. Olaf Choir in Concert

The St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Anton Armstrong, will perform at First Baptist Greenville on Friday, February 9, at 7:00pm during its 2024 National Tour. For more than a century, the St. Olaf Choir has set the gold standard for choral singing, performing for millions...

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Singing in January

The Sanctuary Choir has been invited to sing in the Furman Church Music Conference January 17-18. We will host combined local church choirs in our Sanctuary on Wednesday, January 17, at 7pm with Tom Trenney, guest conductor and composer. He serves at First Plymouth...

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Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Services and Events

Sunday, December 3, 10:30am—The First Sunday of Advent (Sanctuary)Hanging of the Green Service to Prepare the House of the Lord and Our Hearts for the Advent Season with Bell Tower Ringers, Children’s Choir, Vocare, Sanctuary Choir, Kyle Matthews and Tony Hopkins...

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You Belong in Our Music Ministry

This year, we are inviting every person and family to find a sense of community in our Music Ministry when our choirs resume in mid-August. Our Sanctuary Choir needs more singers to join with us in singing in our worship services and in special seasons of the year...

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Belonging: Music

Music has always been a vital part of our worship services and ministries here at First Baptist. This year, we are inviting every person and family to find a sense of belonging in our Music Ministry when our choirs resume in mid-August. A choir that sings sacred songs...

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Singing

One of my favorite things is hearing our congregation and choir singing together in our Sanctuary. Whether it is a festive, joyful hymn or a lyrical prayer song, it is uplifting. In her book Imperfect Harmony—Finding Happiness Singing with Others, Stacy Horn writes...

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Summer Music Services 2019

The first two Sundays in August will be summer music services when we are hosting the Furman Singers Alumni Choir on August 4 and guest singer-songwriter Pat Terry on August 11. Jim Dant will be the speaker during both of these services. On August 4, alumni from the...

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Sanctuary Choir Sing & Sips: Come Mingle!

Summer is here! It’s time to have a little fun… and we want you to join members of the Sanctuary Choir for our summer socials! Each summer, the Sanctuary Choir hosts three “Sing and Sip” Soirées. Because the choir is off from regular rehearsals...

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