Music here at First Baptist is a thriving ministry with an incredible level of talent. Gifted musicians work with our six Children’s Choirs, two Youth Choirs and the Sanctuary Choir, involving over 300 people in the making of music. The music staff includes full-time employees, part-time assistants, student interns and many willing volunteers.
The Music Ministry has had a strong relationship with Furman University for many years with music faculty serving in church staff positions and choral scholar and intern positions for Furman students. As a whole, the Music Ministry seeks to glorify God, using our talents to make music of excellence that reflects on the One who is the source of all good gifts. Our desire is to worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) “uniting our voices in praise” (2 Chronicles 5:13).
The musical experience begins with the Children’s Choir program that provides opportunities for three-year-olds through elementary school to experience making music with both their bodies and with instruments. Many students in our Youth Family not only sing in the two Youth Choirs but play a variety of instruments. 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, I hope you will join us in worship and discover the gifts that music can offer us all in our spiritual journeys.
Music Ministry Staff
Vivian Hamilton, Minister of Music
When I came to First Baptist in 2008 as an interim minister of music, I absolutely loved it here. The incredible energy and talent in our Sanctuary Choir first drew me in, and being part of this congregation has been a blessing to me and my family. I am inspired by our worship services, whether it is singing congregational hymns on Sunday mornings or gathering in the Fellowship Hall for MidWeek Fellowship where we can share our thoughts and prayers and songs. In my spare time, I direct the Furman Chorale and work as a collaborative pianist at Furman University and occasionally play principal keyboard in the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. I have worked with choirs at a number of universities including Simmons College, Emerson College, Northeastern University, University of South Carolina and Clemson University. I am the former conductor of the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium Chorale and have served as state president of the American Choral Directors Association. My training includes a bachelor of music degree from Furman University, a masters of music degree from New England Conservatory of Music and a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of South Carolina.
Jeanie Reed, Youth Music Director
I have enjoyed my first year as the youth music director. First Baptist has a wonderful group of young people who have enriched my life. I graduated from Furman University where I received a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Education. I am presently director of Chicora Voices, the Greenville children’s choir, where we have six single gender choirs ranging from the age of 7 to 18. I am a National Board Certified Teacher and the music specialist at Greenville’s Stone Academy of Communication Arts. I had the privilege of serving as the 2007-2008 Greenville County Teacher of the Year and an Honor Roll Teacher for the state of South Carolina 2008-2009. I enjoy my work as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the nation working with youth and children’s choirs as well as choir directors. I am, however, most proud to be the mother of Mitchell, a graduate of Clemson University, and Philip, a student at Furman University.
Priscilla Harris, Children’s Choir Coordinator
I am a graduate of Furman University with degrees in music and mathematics. I have sung in several choral organizations including the Furman Singers, the Atlanta Choral Society, the Appalachian Chorale, the Greenville Chorale and the First Baptist Greenville Sanctuary Choir. I have also been a soloist for each of these musical groups. As a sign language interpreter by trade, I enjoy using sign language with the Treble Choir I direct.
Charles Tompkins, Organist
I have been Organist of First Baptist Greenville since 1997. I am also professor of music and university organist at Furman University, a position I assumed in September, 1986. I hold the degrees doctor of musical arts and bachelor of music (with high distinction) in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), as well as the master of music degree in organ performance from the University of Michigan. An active church musician throughout my career, I have previously served as organist of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greenville (1988-1997); organist / director of music for Hamline United Methodist Church, St. Paul, MN (in a joint appointment as professor of music at Hamline University), 1981-86; and organist of Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal), Rochester, NY (1973-76). I am an active performer and have given recitals and master classes at major universities and churches through the United States. In 2011, I performed a series of concerts in France and Switzerland, including a recital at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.
Herring Church Music Intern
One Furman student
Herring Choral Scholars
Four Furman students