Adult Choir Festival Youth Choir Festival Youth Choir Festival 15th Anniversary

Festival by the Sea

two ecumenical choral festivals for youth and adults


Origins & Participants

Festival by the Sea originated in the year 2000 to provide a high-quality youth choir festival for progressive churches in South Carolina’s Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The first of its kind, the festival quickly grew to become an ecumenical and regional event, gathering choirs from various denominations and several states including South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. Discovering the need and desire for adults to have the same festival experience, the adult choir Festival by the Sea was launched in 2005.


Both festivals engage noted choral conductors from across the country who rehearse the festival choir in a variety of choral repertoire. Achieving a high level of performance, singers leave each festival weekend renewed and challenged toward greater accomplishment in their local music ministries. Planned by a leadership team, the festivals are sponsored by participating churches and receive support from the SC and NC Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as well as the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.

A Unique Hallmark

While other choral festivals conclude with a concert, each Festival by the Sea culminates in a service of worship that is open to the public. A unique hallmark of both festivals, this concluding worship experience is meaningfully designed around the festival repertoire and integrates congregational singing, instrumental music, and other creative expressions. The festival worship materials are provided to choir leaders for potential use in their home churches.

Our Welcome

Festival by the Sea welcomes people of all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, differing abilities, situations, and stations in life. This welcome is reflected in the festival’s participants, repertoire, and worship.

Praise the Lord, Florence Price, ClarNan Editions, CN97

Non Nobis Domine, Rosephanye Powell, Gentry Publications, JG2291

Great Is Thy Faithfulness, arr. Maureen Howell, to be made available from MorningStar Music in Jan ‘24

Do Not Be Afraid, Stopford, MSM 50-9818

Verleih uns Frieden, Mendelssohn, ECS 5212

A New Jerusalem Arise, Pedersen, BP2272


Jennaya Robison

Jennaya RobisonDr. Jennaya Robison is in demand as a conductor, clinician, and soprano throughout the United States. She currently serves as the Artistic Director for the National Lutheran Choir (Minneapolis, MN) where she is the third artistic director in the organization’s 37-year history. Robison most recently served as Director of Choral Studies in the Conservatory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has held previous positions at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. She has held state, regional, and national leadership roles with the American Choral Directors Association and currently serves as the national chair of Music in Worship for ACDA. Robison has conducted and taught courses in choral singing and global connection in the United States, Namibia, South Africa, and Germany and currently serves as the Artistic Dean of the Zephyr Point Summer Music Festival at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She has served as an invited conductor and clinician for numerous all state festivals and honor choirs throughout the United State and has presented at national, regional, and state ACDA, NAfMe, and NATS conferences. Her choral series is published with Pavane Publishing, and she serves as the editor of the National Lutheran Choir series through Morningstar music. Additional arrangements and compositions are published by Kjos Music, Morningstar Music, and Galaxy Music.

I Believe in the Sun – Mark Miller
SATB with Piano, Choristers Guild, CGA1310

Cantad – Mark Patterson
SAT or SATB with Piano and Opt. Percussion, Choristers Guild, CGA860

Bonse Aba – Traditional Zambian Song, Arr. Andrew Fischer
SATB, Unaccompanied, Alliance Music Publications, AMP 0626

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree – Mark Patterson
SA(T)B with Piano and Opt. Vocal Solo, CGA1230 

Da Pacem Domine – Franck/Arr. Mary Goetze
Canon for four-part Voices (SSAA), Unaccompanied, Boosey & Hawkes, M051461875

You Are Good by Israel Houghton
Taught at the Festival (no music to purchase)

Revelation 19 by A. Jeffrey LaValley
Taught at the Festival (no music to purchase)

Maria Ellis

Known Internationally as “Girl Conductor”, Maria A. Ellis is a passionate music educator and conductor. She is the owner of Girl Conductor LLC, which specializes in diverse music education resources and serves as the Artistic Director of The Sheldon’s All-Star Chorus and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Voices of Jubilation Ensemble. Maria is a highly sought after clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the United States and abroad. She holds a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis, Level 3 Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts Degree with emphasis on Choral Conducting from Webster University. Maria is the host of the Award-Winning Radio Show “Bach and Beyoncé” and “American Gospel with Maria A. Ellis” on Classic 107.3, The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis. This past June Maria made her Carnegie Hall Debut as a conductor and was awarded The St. Louis Arts and Education 2023 Arts Innovator Award as well as the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association 2023 Merit Award Winner. Maria is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators where she is the Chair Elect for Choral Music Education Council, Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, where she is chair of the RIDE (Race, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) Committee and a member of the Chorus America Board. Maria is the wife of Marion Ellis and the mother of Aria, Kendal and Noah Ellis.

March 1-3, 2024

Kingston Plantation (Brighton Tower)
9800 Queensway Blvd
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572


To reserve your accommodations for the 2024 Festival by the Sea, please call 800-876-0010, select the Kingston Resorts prompt, and ask to reserve your room under the “FBS” group code. To reserve online, please visit Festival by the Sea at Kingston. Reservations must be made before Friday, February 2, 2024


7:30pm-9:00pm – Check-In and Registration (Palladium Foyer, Brighton Tower)
9:00pm-10:30pm – Rehearsal [Palladium Ballroom]

9:00am-12:30pm (with break) – Rehearsal
8:30pm-10:30pm – Rehearsal


9:00am-9:30am – Rehearsal
9:30am-10:45am – Worship Service
11:00am – Check-Out

More details coming soon!