James Smith, Director, completed a Bachelor of Music degree at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. and a Master of Music degree at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V. Postgraduate work in vocal and choral music included studies at West Virginia University, Westminster Choir College, the University of Georgia, Smith College, Oberlin College, and Indiana University.
Jim served as an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Vocal and Choral Activities at Peace College in Raleigh for many years. He performed on numerous occasions as vocal soloist or conductor on the college’s chamber music series with principals of the North Carolina Symphony. Under his direction, the Peace College Chamber Singers made seven performance tours of Europe, performing in cities in England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. His voice students have consistently achieved success, winning or placing in the annual state and regional National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions.
In 2009, Jim served as one of 38 international judges for the 61st Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, which annually attracts more than 150,000 students. During the four-week festival, he judged approximately 400 choirs and 600 vocalists, aged kindergarten through university.
Jim served for fifteen years as the Director of Music at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, and served year-long interim stints at White Memorial Presbyterian in Raleigh and Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian in Cary. He is currently the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Rocky Mount. He is a founding member of the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir of Raleigh. Jim has a wealth of experience in conducting, solo performing, and choral music.
Virginia Vance is the organist at First Presbyterian Church in Rocky Mount and the accompanist for the Rocky Mount Chamber Singers. For most of her career, she was Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Studies at Peace College in Raleigh. While at Peace, Jennie taught courses in Music Theory and Music Appreciation, as well as serving as College Organist. She also accompanied the Peace College Chamber Singers and the Peace College Choir.
Jennie received the Bachelor of Music degree with a major in organ from Salem College and the Master of Music degree from Yale University. She was also the recipient of a Fulbright Grant that enabled her to spend a year in Vienna, studying with Professor Anton Heiller, an internationally known organist. She has attended the International Summer Organ Academy in Haarlem, Holland and has participated in workshops with a number of European organists.
In addition to concerts at Peace College and First Presbyterian Church in Rocky Mount, Jennie has played recitals at Duke University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, Meredith College, Salem College, Florida State University, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro, University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, and in Old Salem. She presently teaches music theory at Meredith College in Raleigh.