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Catawba College’s Burgess tabbed as new choir director at First UCC

Staff report

Phillip Burgess has accepted the position of choir director at First United Church of Christ. Burgess also teaches, directs and performs as associate chair of music and director of choral/vocal studies at Catawba College.

“We are very excited to have Phillip join our music program,” the Rev. Carol Hallman said. “He is very talented and passionate about music. I look forward to working with him.”

Catawba College is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The local church provides annual scholarships to Catawba music students to sing and perform at worship services and special events.

Susan Trivette, long time organist at First Church, also teaches and performs at Catawba.

“I’ve worked with Phillip enough that we can read each other’s mind,” Trivette  We are a great team and look forward to serving together at the church.”

Both Burgess and Trivette have experience in all types of worship styles, from traditional to contemporary. With their Catawba College and community connections, Trivette was instrumental in bringing Burgess to First Church.

“I just knew he was the right leader at this time,” Trivette said.

Burgess replaces Matthew Newton, who resigned after 10 years to fulfill a lifetime dream of joining the Navy.

Burgess is no stranger to the Salisbury community. Over the last 20-plus years, he has held music leadership positions in other churches. He is the founding director of the Salisbury Ecumenical Choir and the Amadeus Youth Chorus. He was awarded the Mayor’s Spirit Award and the Koontz Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work with multi-cultural choirs.

Burgess said, “My goodness! With the talent, programs and resources at First Church, I hope to be part of continuing and advancing our spiritual journey with music for years to come.”

Burgess joins First Church in early April.

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