New Greenwood Festival Chorale Artistic Director and Conductor as of October 2017

Steve Skinner, previously accepted the appointment as Interim temporary Artistic Director and Conductor Christmas Concert 2017 in July.

The Board of Directors have appointed Steve Skinner: Greenwood Festival Chorale, Artistic Director and Conductor
Director of Music Ministries, First Presbyterian Church, Greenwood, SC
Bio: Steve and his wife, Carol, are natives of California, where Steve received his Bachelor of Music Education from the Conservatory of Music—University of the Pacific, and Master of Music (Church Music) from Biola University/Talbot Theological Seminary. Carol has Bachelor and Master degrees in Elementary Education from United States International University. They have three sons: Nathan (wife Sarah, daughters Nell and Marie) who is Music Director and Organist of Park Street Church in Boston, Jared who is moving to Greenwood with them, and Andrew (wife Hannah) who is a music teacher in Boston. Steve has been music minister in Baptist, Grace Brethren, and Presbyterian Churches, guest conductor of the Sacred Song Service at Chautauqua Institution, and conductor/cantor of the Erie Bach Vespers. Because of the influence of music on Steve’s own faith, two priorities of music ministry form his passion: discipleship through Music Ministry (learning and internalizing scripture and a Christian world view), and Worship—responding to the acts and character of God with enthusiastic singing and other worship responses. (Reprinted with permission from FPC and Skinner)

2017 GCT Festival of Flowers Concert “Classic Broadway” June 6, 2017 Recap

Festival of Flowers (50th anniversary concert), “Classic Broadway” a concert of beloved Broadway show tunes from Tin Pan Alley to The Lion King, Tuesday, June 6, Lander University Cultural Center Auditorium. Including 100 Years of Broadway, Arranged by Mac Huff, Dr. Marion Smith, Artistic Director and Conductor, Featuring Quarndra Battle-Ryan, Soprano.

Ensemble: Tobi Otekayi, Piano, Robert Glick, Keyboard, Reed Gallo & John Cooper, Trumpet, Donald Mack, Trombone, Blake Edens, Bass, Matthew Bratton, Drums

Narrators: Rick Morris and Nickie Murphy, Vocal Solos: Carole Austin, Bo Bowman, Jackie Counts, Judy Davis, Beth Hardage, Betsy Henry, David Holmes, Sharon Ivy-Swafford, Nickie Murphy, Mary Putnam, Steve Skinner, Sharon Smith, Earl Winfrey, Michael Winfrey.

Program Scans (click here)

Slides of pre- and post- and during- program (click here)

Audio and Videos Clips 


50th Annual Festival of Flowers Concert Tuesday, June 6, 2017 7:30 pm at Lander

The nineteenth season  for the Greenwood Festival Chorale will again take you to Broadway for a taste of the hits we all have heard and enjoyed for years. It will be a night of celebration and fun. The Greenwood Festival Chorale was founded in 1999 using as a part of its name “Festival” after being asked to become a regular part of the music for the annual Greenwood Flower Festival celebrations. For 18 years, the Chorale has been a sanctioned event of the Flower Festival. For almost two decades the Chorale has contributed a program of music as a featured part of the Festival activities. This year, “Classic Broadway” will be presented as a favorite subject reprising a popular topic from the first year of our founding. The very First Festival Chorale Concert in 1999 was “A Rodgers & Hammerstein Evening” on June 8, also at the Lander University Auditorium. It was only appropriate we go back to Broadway to help the community celebrate the Festival’s “50th Anniversary” year again in Lander University’s Cultural Center Auditorium.

We are saddened to report that our leader for the past three seasons has announced that he will be stepping down as Artistic Director and Conductor. Dr. Marion Smith, PhD has been an inspiration to the community with his selections of beautiful and uplifting choral music. He took the quality and expectations of the Chorale to new highs and was an inspiration to the singers and the community. The “Requiem for the Living” by Dan Forrest, presented with a full orchestra and Bob Glick at the organ, this spring was highly praised as the best yet many community regulars had heard from the Chorale. A “Festiva!” member-sponsored cultural program grant raised a record amount of contributions to stage this high quality “free concert” for the community at the First Presbyterian Church earlier this year.

Dr. Smith took this non-auditioned group of 70 community singers adding the highly gifted and creative (45) Greenwood Eagle High School Singers for a challenging full orchestra experience. This powerful requiem, patterned after the famous composers of 18th century, was created by Dan Forrest, a contemporary composer with local connections. Gina Jolly, Director of the “Eagle Singers” who have numerous national and state recognition and awards worked with Dr. Smith and assisted in directing to create this special musical gift to the community. It was an inspiration to all who participated and attended.

Dr. Smith will be greatly missed by the Chorale singers and the community. This, his second retirement is supported by all. We wish him a great and fulfilling retirement in the Greenwood Community and hope he will continue to contribute his talents in the community as time permits. He just needs some time to travel and check out some “bucket-list” wishes for his remaining retirement days.

Chorale member Steve Skinner, Director of Music Ministries at the Greenwood First Presbyterian Church, has agreed to create and direct the Chorale’s Christmas concert in early December. A search by the Chorale Board will begin in September to select a permanent Artistic Director and Conductor.  Rehearsals for the Christmas Concert will begin in late September. All who enjoy singing are invited to participate. Check here for more information.

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Click here to see larger image for ease of reading at History Page

Festival of Flowers concert Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 7:30 pm Lander University

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Festival of Flowers Event in Greenwood, SC, the Greenwood Festival Chorale will present a collection of Broadway show tunes. The Chorale is celebrating its 19th season. The Chorale’s name reflects its mission of providing community entertainment for the community for the Festival. The first concert was a tribute to Broadway musicals. Join the community singers for this special concert.

Greenwood’s Salute to Broadway hits as it celebrates the Festival’s 50th Anniversary Party.

Spring Concert: Requiem for the Living – Next Sunday, March 19, 4:00 pm.

Rehearsals continue with dress rehearsal on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10:00 with orchestra and seating on the new chancel extension (designed by Joel Peterson, GFC President) and built by current GFC singers. You will be surprised at the temporary staging to add to the Greenwood First Presbyterian Church presentation area for this concert. The sturdy, portable stage extension will be contributed to the church for future use for presentations, as needed. This custom fitted extension should be a welcome addition for occasional future church sponsored activities.

For more information about the program, see earlier post or click here.

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Dr. Marion Smith, Artistic Director and Conductor GFC – Gina Jolly, Director, Greenwood High School Eagle Singers with Toby Otekayi, GFC Accompanist at the piano. Photos by Karen Jennings.

Remember Free Spring Concert: Requiem for the Living – Rehearsals Underway! Concert on Sunday, March 19, 4:00 pm.

Photos from the Saturday, February 18 special rehearsal at First Presbyterian Church, Greenwood, SC. A new temporary stage extension was being fitted in preparation for the Sunday, March 19 concert at 4:00 pm. This is a free concert…contributions are welcomed at the door. The Eagle Singers from Greenwood High School will be joining the chorale for this concert. See rehearsal slides and stage extension fitting in the photos below. A brief excerpt video is also included to provide a taste of this new Requiem for the Living, using the old traditional style of famous period composers. The composer has local credentials. Dan Forrest received his degree from Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC.

Daniel Ernest Forrest, Jr. (born January 7, 1978) is a composer, pianist, and music editor. On March 24, 2013 Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living” was premiered as a commissioned work by The Hickory Choral Society, in honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary. Members of this Society subsequently joined in the initial performance of the work at Carnegie Hall within a year from the date of debut. In November 2014, the “Requiem for the Living” was given its regional premiere by the Voices of the Commonwealth and the Northern Kentucky Youth Sinfonia in Newport, Kentucky.[Wikipedia]

The Greenwood Festival Chorale and the Greenwood Eagle Singers are enjoying the challenges of singing this difficult, beautiful composition.

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Video Short Excerpt from the February 18, 2017 Rehearsal

Saturday Rehearsal – Dr. Marion Smith, Artistic Director and Conductor GFC – Gina Jolly, Director, Greenwood High School Eagle Singers Conducting this video excerpt. Toby Otekayi, GFC Accompanist at the piano.