Music at Second Presbyterian

For more information about musical activities at Second Presbyterian, please contact Dr. Julia Harlow, Director of Music/Organist at

For more information about musical activities at Second Presbyterian, please contact Dr. Julia Harlow, Director of Music/Organist at

Adult Choir

During the school year (beginning in mid-August), the Adult Choir meets Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Choir Room, located upstairs in the sanctuary, and on Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m. (prior to the worship service). From May 29 through August 28, 2016, the choir will meet at 9:30 am in the Choir Room, just prior to the 10:00 am sanctuary service.  There will be no Wednesday evening choir or bell choir rehearsals from mid-June through mid-August. There is no audition for the Choir, but a pleasant singing voice and some ability to read music are helpful. We are fortunate to have  talented section leaders Andrea Scheulen, soprano and Lee Lingle, bass, who can often be heard as a featured soloists in anthems. On the first Sunday of the month, when there is Communion, the Choir meets and sits downstairs at the front of the church, rather than in the loft.  A few times a year, the Choir does an anthem written by a Charleston composer.   

In addition to singing in the weekly Sunday service, the Choir presents two smaller classical works per year with soloists and instrumentalists -- one during Advent and one during the Lenten or Easter season. Some works done in the past include: 

  • Bach, JS, Cantatas #140 (Wachet auf), #61 (Nun komm der Heiden Heiland), #142 (Uns ist ein Kind geboren)
  • Britten, A Ceremony of Carols and Rejoice in the Lamb
  • Buxtehude, Cantata The Infant Jesus
  • Fauré, Requiem and Messe
  • Handel, movements from the Christmas and Easter sections of Messiah, Coronation Anthem #4
  • Haydn, Missa Sancti Joannes de Deo
  • Isabella Leonarda, Magnificat  
  • Mendelssohn, several movements from Elijah, presented in conjunction with Harborview Presbyterian Church choir in April 2009
  • Mozart, Missa Brevis K.140 and K.259
  • Pachelbel (Charles Theodore), Magnificat
  • Pergolesi (Durante), Magnificat, Stabat Mater
  • Schubert, Mass in G
  • Telemann, Cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
  • Vaughan-Williams, Five Mystical Songs
  • Vivaldi, Gloria 

Singers are welcome to join at any time, for the short or long term, or even just to sing in the rehearsals and presentations of the major works. For more information on the Adult Choir, or to join or observe a rehearsal, please contact Dr. Julia Harlow as indicated at the top of the page.

Listen to Vivaldi, "Domine Fili Unigenite" from Gloria

"Listen to Mozart, "Benedictus" from Missa Brevis K.259

Handbell Choir

The Bell Choir is open to high school students and adults; prior bell ringing or musical experience is not necessary. Ringers learn the rudiments of music, ringing technique and something of church music and hymn history. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-6:00 pm in the sanctuary; the Bell Choir plays once or twice a month in the Sunday service during the school year.  The Bell Choir takes a break during the summer as well, approximately mid-June through mid-August.  The church owns a three octave set of Schulmerich handbells. New singers and ringers are always welcome in the Adult Choir or Bell Choir. It is not necessary to be a member of Second Presbyterian Church to participate in the music program.

Listen to Bell Choir, "Grazioso" by Telemann

Junior Choir

The Junior choir is open to children in grades 2-6 (approximately) and meets during the school year on Sunday mornings before Sunday School, from 10:00-10:15 a.m., in the Chapel. After a summer break, they resume practice on the second Sunday in September. The Junior Choir normally sings in the Sunday worship service about once a month and participates in the annual Christmas Eve Pageant.

Listen to Junior Choir, "This Is the Day" by Natalie Sleeth

Christmas Eve Pageant

The Christmas  Pageant is presented during the Advent season, times vary.   The children sing several Christmas songs and those who play instruments also participate. For more information about the Pageant, please contact Perrin Tribble, Director of Children, Youth and Christian Education at

Special Music Programs

For the past several years, Second Presbyterian has hosted joint community services with several other area churches on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving and on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter). The programs consist of each church choir singing an anthem and it is an enjoyable opportunity to hear other choirs and for community fellowship. Please consult the church calendar for the date, time and location of these special services.   Services with special music programs include Christmas Eve candlelight service, Christmas Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.


We welcome the inclusion of instrumentalists in the service, both for solo offerings and as part of the choral anthems. Playing melody instruments such as flute, violin, trumpet, piano or guitar are just some of the ways one might participate in worship. Please contact Julia Harlow for more information on how to participate.

Listen to "Highland Cathedral" - Peter Armstrong, bagpipes (pictured above); Julia Harlow, organ. Performed April 10, 2011 for the bicentennial celebration of the church building.

A Hymn by Mary Edna Fraser and Julia Harlow
This special composition was commissioned for the Bicentennial Finale service held on Sunday, April 26, 2009. It was premiered during that service - the congregation sang the melody, accompanied by organ and brass choir. The words for the first three verses were written by Mary Edna Fraser. The melody, harmonization and words for the fourth verse were composed by Dr. Julia Harlow. The name of the hymn tune is "Wragg Square," after the city park located directly in front of the church. Several other famous hymns are named after places, e.g., Regent Square (Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation), Duke Street (I Know That My Redeemer Lives) and Bunessan (Morning Has Broken).

Listen to "Wragg Square" by Julia Harlow, written in 2009 for the church bicentennial. Performed April 10, 2011 at the bicentennial celebration of the church building.

Church Organ

Second Presbyterian's first organ was built in 1845 by Henry Erben of New York City. The splendid divided carved case and façade pipes are all that remain of that instrument. The present organ, of three manuals and 30 ranks, was built in the 1950's by the Moeller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. The organ sustained considerable damage during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and was rebuilt by the A.E. Schlueter Organ Company of Atlanta.

Dr. Julia Harlow, Director of Music and Organist, began at Second in February 1997. Her undergraduate degree in Organ Performance is from the University of Iowa (Iowa City), and her Masters in Early Keyboard Performance and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Organ Performance and Pedagogy are from the University of Oregon (Eugene). Dr. Harlow teaches organ and harpsichord privately and at the College of Charleston and has taught eartraining, world music and music appreciation. She is active in the Charleston music scene, as a coordinator for the L'Organo organ recital series for Piccolo Spoleto, the American Guild of Organists, as a bagpiper, and performs frequently as organist, harpsichordist or pianist with the Charleston Symphony, Chamber Music Charleston, College of Charleston, Piccolo Spoleto, etc. In June 2010, she founded the ensemble 'La Belle Musique' to perform 17th and 18th century works, notably by women composers.