Carolina Master Chorale

A Message From Our Music Director

Dear Carolina Master Chorale Family,

Entering my 23rd season as Music Director of the Carolina Master Chorale as the CMC approaches its 41st season, I am greatly buoyed by the passion for great choral music that continues to grow in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand. Fresh from an anniversary year that featured the largest subscription concert audience in our history – nearly 700 in attendance – our organization is committed to bringing you the very best season in our history, “HEROISM AND THE POWER OF LOVE.”

We debut the 2023-24 season on October 14 and 15 with special performances of Considering Matthew Shepard, composed by Craig Hella Johnson, one of America’s finest musicians. Considering Matthew Shepard is a profound oratorio-style, semi-staged masterpiece that I have wanted to bring to the Grand Strand since it was written in 2016. Our concerts, co-produced by the CMC, Theatre of the Republic, and Careteam Plus, with players from the Long Bay Symphony, commemorate the October 12, 25th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard after being left tied to a fence in rural Wyoming. Johnson’s Grammy-nominated work, written in styles from classical to gospel to country, is one of hope and optimism in the faith of tragedy, pointing a way forward in light as we continue to experience contention and struggle in everyday America. Sir Elton John is said to have cried upon hearing Considering Matthew Shepard and canceled the rest of his afternoon so that he could listen a second time. Through this production, we endeavor to create a pinnacle transformative artistic experience for our audiences and performers.

Our Annual Subscription Series begins this year with our Christmas concert, the one that was attended by a 40-year record audience in 2022; this year features a 12-piece brass and percussion ensemble from the Long Bay Symphony, the largest such group we have ever engaged. We will propel you into the Christmas spirit with spectacular seasonal music from John Rutter, Randall Stroope, Antonio Vivaldi, and more. The concert title, “This Day Sing Gloria,” is a mashup of titles from the concert’s program.

On February 17 and 18, 2024, the Carolina Master Chorale will wed two of its most popular programs, featuring the winners of the Seventh Annual Carolina Master Chorale/Coastal Carolina University Student Vocal Competition in a Broadway love song concert for Valentine’s Day called “Broadway Heroes, Broadway Lovers.” The program will include songs such as "Make Them Hear You" from RAGTIME, "The Impossible Dream" from MAN OF LA MANCHA, "Can You Read My Mind?" from SUPERMAN, "One Day More" from LES MISERABLES, "In Every Age" from TITANIC, and more. Our competition winner and our Valentine's love songs are extremely popular every year. In 2024, we bring you both on the same concert!

On April 27 and 28, 2024, the Carolina Master Chorale season finale, “AMERICAN HEROES,” will celebrate eight local heroes from eight walks of life whose passions and efforts have made the world a better place. Honorees or their designees will be present to hear their stories told in brief and to experience a choral performance selected specifically to ennoble their personal contributions. This is the second time the CMC has produced a program under this theme, and as there were far more nominees than could be honored at the previous concerts, this event undoubtedly will bring highly deserved recognition to individuals and causes that have improved the lives of all they touch.

I hope this note has found you all persevering and shedding light on your personal spheres. I hope you will allow the Carolina Master Chorale to make those tasks a little more inspired and rewarding by joining us for each concert of a memorable 2023-24 season. I hope to see you and greet you throughout the year.

With Gratitude and Best Wishes for All,

Timothy Koch, DMA
Music Director, The Carolina Master Chorale


The mission of the Carolina Master Chorale is to promote the choral arts, present exceptional performances of choral music, enhance arts education, and enrich the cultural lives of our members, audiences, and the coastal Carolina community.

The Carolina Master Chorale, recognized as the premier symphonic chorus in the region, covering Northeast South Carolina and Southeast North Carolina, holds the distinction of being the longest-running community vocal organization in the Myrtle Beach area.

The CMC is proud to be celebrating its 41st anniversary season in 2023/2024. The repertoire of the Carolina Master Chorale encompasses a wide variety of innovative and critically acclaimed programming, including performances of traditional and lesser-known choral and choral/orchestral masterworks, full operatic productions, adventurous contemporary music, numerous commissions, and premieres, as well as lighter fare ranging from Broadway to vocal jazz and gospel music.

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The CMC is deeply committed to the musical education of tomorrow’s performers and audiences. Each year, the Carolina Master Chorale performs for thousands of South Carolina schoolchildren, providing the only opportunity most of these children will have to experience a live performance of professional-level choral artistry. CMC members consider these among some of the most enjoyable and rewarding concerts of every season.

The Carolina Master Chorale performs regularly for the student bodies of Palmetto Bays and Forestbrook Elementary Schools in the Fine Arts Day concerts, before a thousand seventh graders at the Induction ceremony of the South Carolina Hall of Fame, and for several hundred students at the summer High School Music Camp at Coastal Carolina University. Our historical commitment to music education has included performances in schools throughout Horry County, sponsorship of the Carolina Youth Chorale, presentation of an annual children’s music workshop, and shared concerts with high school and collegiate choral ensembles.

During the February 17th and 18th concerts this season, the CMC will welcome the winners of our Seventh Annual Carolina Master Chorale / Coastal Carolina University Student Vocal Competition. Each year, students compete on the campus of CCU for the chance to perform with the CMC. Each winner also receives a $400 scholarship co-funded by the CMC and CCU.

Beginning last season, the CMC established an ongoing relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand. Members of the Chorale travel to the B&GCGS on a weekly basis to teach piano lessons to the children as well as work with the club’s singing group, the Empowerment Movement. These wonderful singers also performed with the CMC last February. The Chorale also provided the piano lesson books used by the children.

Finally, starting with our last season, the CMC has joined the Long Bay Symphony in sponsoring the Horry County Choral Music Teacher of the Year. We welcome the opportunity to recognize these outstanding educators in our public school system!

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CMC Reviews/Media Reviews

Verdi: La Traviata

“This was a full-length version production, sung in its original Italian. The program called the production semi-staged, but there was nothing amateurish about it.

Koch’s sensitive conducting of the orchestra let listener feel the impact of such passages as the high, poignant strings which open the opera, returning late in the work after many shifts of mood.

The remarkable Carolina Master Chorale sent forth jolts of energy in such numbers as the famous ‘Drinking Song’ in Act 1, making listeners completely unaware this is a volunteer group with diverse backgrounds, and not a full time professional music ensemble.

Everyone and everything worked well in this production. Nothing dragged and there was a sense of hardly realizing it was over when it ended.

Timothy Koch, the Carolina Master Chorale, and the cast of fine professionals let us experience a work which is an artistic entree into a world which existed as vividly today as it did in the 19th century.”

– Myrtle Beach Herald

Verdi: Stabat Mater

“In tones that ranged from quiet and contemplative to mournfully passionate, the 80-member Chorale offered up a stirring rendition of Giuseppe Verdi’s Stabat Mater. A flawless performance, it demonstrated the group’s vocal skills and precision.”

– The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Ginastera: Lamentations of Jeremiah

In one of the special moments of the afternoon, this region’s other treasure, the Carolina Master Chorale, took the stage. Timothy Koch prepared the audience for the music to come with a brief description of the background of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera and his powerful Lamentations of Jeremiah. Secure intonation let listeners concentrate on the vocal tone colors, the complex and difficult harmonies, and shifting dynamics.”

– The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Brubeck: La Fiesta de la Posada

“It’s not often that one associates a powerful, well-trained choir with jazz, but the program presented by the CMC certainly erased any doubts about whether this works. The CMC handled all of this effortlessly, and the soloists – Emily Hindrichs, David Bankston, Joe Chappel, and Drew Trautman – were exceptional. Certain parts must be pointed out – the jazz waltz feeling No. 8, “Run Run Run”, the Three Wise Men in No. 9, ‘Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh’ with the unconventional chords, the riveting No. 10, ‘My Soul Magnifies the Lord’ with its interweaving of declamatory instrumental gestures and beautiful solo, and finally No. 14, ‘God’s Love Made Visible,’ with its unusual beat and massive, breathtaking conclusion, using all vocal and instrumental forces – because they demonstrate clearly the skill and power of the CMC itself.”

– Myrtle Beach Herald

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

“The appropriately named Carolina Master Chorale is a treasure… Koch’s beautifully prepared Carolina Master Chorale blended with the Long Bay Symphony as if they do this all the time…”

– Myrtle Beach Herald

Guest Artist Reviews

“The highest praise from me.”

– Carlisle Floyd, World-Renowned American Opera Composer

“How can I thank the Carolina Master Chorale enough for its superlative performances of my Seven Deadly Sins and An American Hallel performed this past weekend? To put it in a nutshell, CMC’s skill and execution was right up there with America’s top choral ensembles. Undoubtedly, this is due not only to the genuinely dedicated and nice community of CMC singers but also to their gifted and inspired musical leaders Maestro Tim Koch and composer-in-residence/accompanist Andrew Fowler. When leaders with vision show their charges the mountaintop and accept no less, great heights are attained. For all this, I am grateful for a thrilling weekend of music-making. I will always be a devoted friend of the Carolina Master Chorale.”

– Michael Isaacson, Ph.D., Composer

“I thank you for reaching out to me to be a part of a great experience. Cheers and rousing applause.”

– Mitch Laurence, Narrator, Actor, ESPN Commentator

Audience Reviews

“My friends and I are still talking about how blown away we were today by that concert we saw. The chorale sounded amazing. Very Impressive!!!!”

– Michael Orland, Music Director, American Idol

“What a wonderful, innovative program by you and the CMC yesterday! The choir sounded great, and the new works were very enjoyable and engaging. It is so encouraging not only to see the CMC continuing to build momentum, but to see the success of interesting, fresh programming concepts presented in this community. Your efforts in this regard help to open up the market for new ideas with the Symphony and all other arts groups. Please share with the chorus (and with Andy Fowler) my enthusiastic congratulations for a huge undertaking well done!”

– Charles Jone Evans, Music Director, Long Bay Symphony

“Thank you again for the wonderful performance. You guys are really special.”

– Ewa Mataya Laurance, World Champion Billiard Player

“I have to tell you that the best and highest class music making I’ve experienced since I have been here has come from the Carolina Master Chorale- it is really a first-class organization. I wish you all continued success!”

– John Santuccio, Executive Director, Horry County Arts & Cultural Enhancement