Music at Second Presbyterian

For more information about musical activities at Second Presbyterian, please contact Dr. Julia Harlow, Director of Music/Organist:    <>;  for information about the Chapel Service or Children's Choir, please contact Holly Slice:   <>.   It is not necessary to be a member of Second Presbyterian Church to participate in the music programs.

For more information about musical activities at Second Presbyterian, please contact Dr. Julia Harlow, Director of Music/Organist:    <>;  for information about the Chapel Service or Children's Choir, please contact Holly Slice:   <>.   It is not necessary to be a member of Second Presbyterian Church to participate in the music programs.


ADULT CHOIR:  No Wednesday night rehearsals June - mid August.  Meet Sunday mornings 9:30 am, for 10:00 service.  THERE WILL BE NO CHOIR ON JULY 9.  Lee is out of town.  On June 25, July 2, 16 and 23 please meet downstairs at 9:30 for warmup. 

BELL CHOIR:  On vacation June - mid-August.  No Wed. night rehearsals

JUNIOR CHOIR:  On vacation June - mid-August.  No Sunday morning rehearsals.

See you in mid-August!  Have a good summer!     Julia Harlow, music director


A World Premiere at Easter-  Sunday, April 19, during the morning worship service saw the premiere of a new anthem, a setting for choir and organ of Psalm 121    (Levavi Oculi) by Timothy Tikker.   Dr. Tikker lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The piece was commissioned in 2016.   You can hear our choir and organist here:

I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?

My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heav'n and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved, and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD himself watches over you; the LORD is your shade at your right hand,

so that the sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; It is he who shall keep you safe.

The LORD will watch over your going out and your coming in from this time forevermore.


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 June 4 through August 27, 2017, the choir will meet at 9:15 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 June through mid-August. There is no audition for the Choir, but a pleasant singing voice and some ability to read music are helpful.   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.

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; the last Wednesday rehearsal this spring will be May 31, 2017, resuming in 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.

Junior Choir

Directed by Julia Harlow, the Junior choir is open to middle school age children, approximately grades 4-8.  They practice from 10:30-10:45 am Sundays in the choir room (upstairs in the sanctuary building), for the academic year, September through May.  The Junior Choir normally sings in the Sunday worship service about once a month and participates in the annual Christmas Pageant.

Children's Choir:  directed by Holly Slice, the Children's Choir is open to children approximately ages 3-10.   As the choir grows, hopefully this will split into two groups, ages 3-6 and 7-10.   They practice Sundays 10:30-11:00 am in the chapel, right after the early (Chapel) service, sing in the service a few times a year and for the Christmas Pageant.

Christmas 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 contactOlivia Cappelmann, Director of Youth and Christian Education,

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.

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).

1.  All power given in heaven and earth, in name of Father and Son, and Holy Ghost observing all things, to ends of all the earth as one.

2.  Black holes above, mysterious, dark, Earth's bluest sky offering light, with fragile faith at best we oft embark, led forth to knowledge and sight.

3.  Through earthquake fire and hurricane, enduring wages of war, through many hardships which the Church sustained, our peace and hope we secure.

4.  With gifts of love and healing prayer, we live our faith in charity, and going out into the world we share, Commitment and Community.

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.