Adult Choir Festival Charleston, SC Youth Choir Festival Myrtle Beach, SC 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, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 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.

Brandon A. Boyd

Dr. Brandon A. Boyd enjoys a versatile career as a conductor, in addition to appearing regularly as a composer-in-residence, collaborative pianist, and presenter for conferences, conventions, collegiate choirs, church choirs, choral symposiums, and festivals. He is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Missouri, where he conducts MU University Singers and Choral Union. In addition to his conducting duties at the university, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral conducting and choral music education.

As a proponent of choral singing to build community, his research interests include organizing choirs for the homeless, identifying the social and physical effects of choral singing on senior citizens, creating authentic field experiences for music therapy and choral music education students. For three years, Dr. Boyd co-directed three choral community partnerships in Florida: The Tallahassee Senior Choir, RAA Middle School Partnership Choir (university students and middle school singers), and the MTC Women’s Prison Glee Club (university students singing with women housed in a correctional facility).

As an active composer and arranger, his music is sung regularly by ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. He is also the curator and editor of the “Brandon A. Boyd Choral Series,” a choral series with Hinshaw Music Publications helping promote exciting and innovative works composed by both established and new composers and arrangers. His music also appears in the catalogs of Gentry Publications, Hinshaw Music Company, MorningStar, GIA, and Kjos Music Press. In addition, he is the Executive Choral Editor of Gentry Publications.

As a global collaborator in the orchestral world, Dr. Boyd has served as chorus master, assistant conductor, and guest pianist with the London Symphony in London, England. He prepared the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Vokalensemble for Maestro Alan Gilbert for multiple productions of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, in Hamburg and Kiel, Germany. In the U.S., he has guest conducted the Nashville Symphony, Missouri Symphony, and the St. Louis Symphony. He has made multiple performances at Carnegie in the capacity of guest conductor, composer, and collaborative pianist.

Dr. Boyd served as guest faculty at the Universidad Católica Boliviana – San Pablo of the Unidad Academica Regional Tarija to provide conducting workshops, in addition to serving as guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Sociedad Corla Andaluz, Symphonic Orchestra in a presentation of American music at the Historic Casa de la Cultutura de Tarija (Tarija’s House of Culture). He also was a guest professor at the Universidad Evangelica in Santa Cruz, Boliviana. The Partners of the Americas sponsored both university partnerships.

Dr. Boyd served as Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Composer-in-Residence and Community Engagement Leader for their program Giving Voice to the Voiceless. The Chorale premiered a work commissioned by the SFDC, I Search, during their 35th Anniversary of the Summer Justice Concert Series. He served as assistant conductor, pre-concert lecturer, and guest pianist. He set to music a text written by “Poet V,” a young participant in the Voces de Libertad program at the Santa Fe County Youth Development Center. His duties also included organizing and conducting the Interfaith Community Shelter Street Choir, thus creating a safe place for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness within the Santa Fe community. Other commissioning partners include Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs at Carnegie, Southwestern Adventist University, Florida State University/Tallahassee Community Chorus, New Mexico Music Educators Association, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

He holds two degrees from Florida State University (Ph.D. in choral music education and M.M. in choral conducting) and earned a B.S. in music education (emphasis in piano) from Tennessee State University. He is a proud member of the Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, Inc., Pi Kappa Lambda, American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), American Guild of Organists (AGO), and Chorus America. Dr. Boyd also serves as a member of the National ACDA Composition Initiative committee.

Bio and Videos

Emily Floyd

Emily Floyd is Pastor for Worship and Music at First Baptist Church of Asheville where she conducts choirs of all ages.  She is the Artistic Director for the Asheville Youth Choirs. Emily serves as the co-director and instructor for the Choristers Guild Institute.  Emily has been a church musician for more than 20 years, and has taught in public schools at the high school and middle school level.  She is passionate about young singers having the opportunity to create beauty and sing with artistry.  She frequently conducts choirs for conferences, state and district honor choirs, and summer camps.   She has presented workshops for ACDA, Choristers Guild, school systems, and sacred music conferences (PAM, Lutheridge, Choristers Guild)a. Emily attended the Florida State University and received a bachelor’s degree in music education (voice) and holds certifications with the Choristers Guild and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.  Choirs under her direction have performed in 18 states and internationally in places such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, and St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.  Emily is passionate about awakening artistry in all singers and nurturing leadership in young singers.

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.

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 – 2024 Youth Festival Worship Guide
11:00am – Check-Out

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.