Athens First UMC Sanctuary Choir

This season features a collaboration with the choir from Athens First UMC, Stephen Mitchell, Director of Music. This coming Fall the choir will premiere a newly commissioned work by composer Michael John Trotta. The work set for a cappella choir will receive its world premiere in October.

Stephen Mitchell

Stephen W. Mitchell is in his sixteenth year as Director of Music at Athens First United Methodist Church, Athens, Georgia, where he directs the Sanctuary Choir, Chamber Ensemble and two handbell choirs, and oversees an extensive choral, instrumental and handbell program. His choirs have recently toured to England, France, Spain and Salzburg singing concerts and festivals. The Sanctuary Choir, the principal choir for worship, sings two major works each year and has performed Eternal Light by Howard Goodall, Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins, Requiem for the Living by Dan Forrest, Magnificat by J.S. Bach and most recently Seven Last Words by Michael Trotta. The choir has commissions in progress from Dan Forrest and Michael Trotta. Stephen is also in his twelfth year as Director of the Athens Choral Society, a 90 voice, non-auditioned community chorus. Recent concerts with the ACS have included Barnett Bluegrass Mass, Cherubini Requiem, Rutter Magnificat and Mass of the Children, Rheinberger Star of Bethlehem and Copland Old American Song among others. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Birmingham-Southern College. Stephen was a Choral Scholar at Wells Cathedral in Wells, England from 1992-1996, where he sang daily evensong in the choir of men and boys, recorded several CD’s and performed live radio and television broadcasts and in concerts throughout Europe, South America and the US. Active in many professional organizations, Stephen currently serves on the design team for the National Convocation of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts and serves on the organizations National Council. Stephen is active as a choral clinician having recently conducted festivals Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida. In his spare time, Stephen enjoys travelling and especially spending time at the beach.

Athens First UMC ChoirThe Music Ministry at Athens First United Methodist Church is a very active and vital ministry in the life of the church. Our program is built on a rich musical heritage that has been an important part of our church and the greater Athens community for many years. The mission of the music ministry is “to enable and nurture persons of all ages to share their talents in praise of God and in service to others.” We do this by offering persons the opportunity to be involved at all ages and stages in a varied ministry of choral, instrumental, and handbell choirs. Those who become involved will find opportunities for spiritual growth, the development of musical skills and Christian fellowship. The Sanctuary Choir, comprised of 70 volunteer and paid singers, is the principal choir for worship, and sings at both the 9:45 and 11:00 Sunday services. In addition, the choir presents 2 majors works a year. The choir has recently commissioned both Dan Forrest and Michael Trotta for anthems, to be ready for Spring 2018 and Fall 2017 respectively.