Columbia County Choral Society's new artistic director has dedicated his career to music.
"I don't know if I could do anything else except for be a musician," Dr. Timothy Powell said. "I've got a real love for it. For me, it's really who I am. It's not just what I do."
Powell, an Aiken resident, also serves as the director of choral activities at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta.
He played violin and viola in high school but became involved with choral music in college.
He earned a master's degree in church music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and a doctorate of music arts in conducting from the University of South Carolina.
"The other side of me has some experience and a real gift for working with volunteers in a community setting," he said. "I'm really interested in helping the choral society to grow, both in terms of their numbers and also artistically and musically."
Although Powell stays busy, he said, he's able to find time for each musical endeavor he pursues.
"Really, I'm a workaholic, so that's probably half of either my gift or my burden," Powell said. "Maybe some of it's magic. I'm not sure."
Powell started rehearsing with the group about a month ago. His predecessor, Isaac Holmes, stepped down in June to focus on developing the choir at Paine College.
The organization's selection committee spent about three months combing through resumes and narrowed the field of candidates, said Columbia County Choral Society Publicity Chairwoman Beth Noland.
The choral society's board of directors made the final decision in August.
Although each of the candidates was well qualified, Noland said, Powell's "impressive" and "varied" resume stood out.
"He has the experience in the past with taking an organization like ours that has drawn down somewhat in numbers and building it back up into something really successful and thriving," Noland said.
The choral group's first concert of the season, in December, will be a performance of Handel's Messiah .
In June 2011, Powell said, he's excited to conduct the choral society and members of Davidson's chorus during the premiere of his piece, Incarnatio Mysteria , at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
For the time being, the choral society is focused on building membership, Noland said.
"We have a wonderful, solid foundation that has been built by our past directors," she said. "It's just time to push on to that next level, and we really think that Dr. Powell is the person to take us there."
Those interested in singing with the Columbia County Choral Society during its 14th season are invited to audition in a casual setting. About 40 singers attend rehearsals, which are held at First Baptist Church of Evans on the corner of North Belair and Washington roads.
For information and rehearsal schedules, call (706) 650-2311 or visit www.ccchoralsociety.org.
"We are a very fun, relaxed group," Noland said. "I think that people would enjoy coming out to sing with us."
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