Emily Williams Burch, in addition to being the Artistic Director of the Midlands Men’s Chorus, is the founder and artistic director of RISE Chorales, a youth community choir with a mission that seeks to revolutionize the choral music experience through singing excellence and music literacy while also providing a place for singers to develop and enhance their musical talent and establish and nurture relationships.
When not directing, Mrs. Burch is attending classes at the University of South Carolina where she is working towards a DMA in Choral Conducting. Mrs Burch holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Music Education, from Louisiana State University and Florida State University. She works as adjunct faculty at Savannah State University, and also has the privilege of traveling the country as a teacher/trainer for Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music, an interactive K-8 music curriculum. Because of Mrs. Burch’s passion for choir tour and how it changes young people’s lives, she is an Artistic Adviser for Perform International, where she helps organizations create and realize their dreams on tours in the US and abroad. Choirs under Mrs. Burch’s direction have performed regionally, nationally, and internationally including appearances at the Georgia Music Educator’s In-service Conference and the 23rd Annual Concors Internazionale Di Canto Corale, an international choir competition in Verona, Italy, where they received a gold award.
Prior to these engagements, Mrs. Burch served on the podium as Director of Education and Music for the Savannah Children’s Choir for almost ten years. She also served as Department Chair and taught General Music/Piano at The Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts, in Savannah, GA.
In professional organizations, Mrs. Burch is in her third term as Repertoire & Resources Chair for Children’s and Youth Community Choirs for the Southern Region American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She recently traveled to Sweden as part of the ACDA International Conductors Exchange Program. Mrs. Burch loves spending time energizing and making music with choirs all over the country and is honored to be serving as the director for this year’s festival.
Matthew McCall currently serves as Organist and Director of Music at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia and serves as founding Artistic Director of Magnolia Chamber Singers based in Lexington, SC. Matthew holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Sacred Music from Presbyterian College, as well as a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina. Matthew has served as a church musician since 2005 and has developed a passion for creative and inclusive worship. He has led hymn festivals throughout the Carolinas and strives to thoughtfully design welcoming worship experiences using tradition as a basis for innovation.