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27 May 2008

JSU Alum Matthew McMahan's Chancel Choir to Perform at Piccolo Spoleto Festival

Matthew McMahan
Photography by Ashley Lamar

Decatur Presbyterian Church today announced that for the third consecutive year the Chancel Choir, under the direction of Choirmaster and Organist Matthew McMahan, has been selected to perform at Piccolo Spoleto. The choir will be performing various sacred selections for an afternoon of “Divine Harmony” on May 31, 2008 at 12:00 Noon at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church located at 405 King Street in Charleston, SC, as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Piccolo Spoleto, an official outreach program of Spoleto Festival, U.S.A., is administered by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs. See listing for this scheduled event.

Chancel Choir of Decatur Presbyterian Church
Photography by Ashley Lamar

“We are honored to have been invited to perform at Piccolo Spoleto again for a third year,” said Matthew McMahan. “I believe this year’s offering titled ‘Divine Harmony’ provides a refreshing and unique mix of sacred selections that includes the inspiring Messe Solennelle by French Composer Louis Vierne, and music by Gibbons, Hogan, Bruckner and Gawthrop. We are delighted to be returning to Charleston again this year to participate in one of the world’s finest and most diverse cultural events. I would like to thank the Church Council, clergy and staff of St. Matthew’s, especially the Reverend James Blacock, Sr. Interim Pastor, Douglas Ludlum, Music Director and Suzy Stephens, Facilities Manager for the grand measure of hospitality extended to us for our visit to Charleston.”

The Chancel Choir of Decatur Presbyterian Church (DPC) is an auditioned ensemble, composed of volunteer and professional singers. The choir is devoted to the performance of the finest classical and contemporary literature through vibrant traditional worship services and concerts. The Choir has long been a mainstay of the metropolitan Atlanta area and has performed broadly, including singing for the American Guild of Organists in Atlanta and Charlotte, Washington National Cathedral, a European concert tour and most importantly Piccolo Spoleto.

The choir is often complimented for its “purity of sound” – a result of emphasis on equal blending of the written harmonies and the minimalization of vibrato. The choir has been honored to represent the Church in ministry beyond its walls through invitations to sing for other churches, professional and community events. Visit their Web site at .

*About Matthew McMahan*

Matthew McMahan has been presented in recital in the United States, Austria, France, Switzerland and Holland. A native of Alabama, Mr. McMahan received his undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University and holds graduate degrees from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Mr. McMahan studied piano with Ronald and Ann Surace, Santiago Rodriguez and Steven DeGroote; and organ with James Farleigh, Joan Lippincott, and Jean Langlais. While in graduate school, Matt was selected to give a solo organ recital broadcast on WQXR – New York Times Classical Radio Station’s “Young Artists Showcase”, which was met with critical acclaim. Since 1997 Matt has served as Organist and Choirmaster of Decatur Presbyterian Church, and as Organist of The Lovett School in Atlanta. Prior to this appointment, he held similar positions in Philadelphia, Birmingham and Canton, Ohio. Click here to view Mr. McMahan's biography.

*About Decatur Presbyterian Church*

Organized in 1825, Decatur Presbyterian Church (DPC) benefits from its rich history. Education and community impact have always been hallmarks of DPC, whose members founded Agnes Scott College, donated land for the Decatur Library, and relocated Columbia Theological Seminary to Decatur. Over its 181 proud years, the congregation has encouraged and supported the sacred arts, sent many missionaries into foreign and domestic fields, established a pre-eminent early childhood education program, and spawned 17 new congregations.

*About Piccolo Spoleto*

Piccolo Spoleto, the official outreach arm of Spoleto Festival USA, was founded by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in 1979. The Piccolo Spoleto Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Charleston; Charleston County; South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Piccolo´s mission is to provide access to the Spoleto Festival experience for everyone, regardless of their economic, social or physical circumstances and to provide the opportunity for excellent local and regional artists, writers and performances to be presented in Piccolo´s "local venue." Piccolo Spoleto offers something wonderful for everyone - from classical to contemporary, from traditional to cutting edge. One of the unique aspects of Piccolo Spoleto is the accessibility to the Spoleto Festival experience. Half of Piccolo´s events are admission-free, and the rest are offered at very modest ticket prices.

For more information about the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, visit their Web site at

Source: Kathy Morse, Choir President, Decatur Presbyterian Church, 404-378-1777,

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