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Music at Highland

Celebrating Ann Pearce

Since 1987, the energetic and inspiring Ann Cameron Pearce has been the driving force of Highland's handbell choir known as HUMRingers. After over 30 years of faithful service in ministry through music, Ann has announced a well-deserved retirement.

Ann, a Raleigh native, has been a creative and innovative director, exploring a variety of techniques and sounds with handbells. In addition to 5-octave sets of both handbells and hand chimes, HUMC also has a set of cymbelles and other accessory equipment to make unique, ethereal music for worship. Ann has held classes and bell choirs for emerging musicians at Highland, including "Bells Alive!", a beginning bells ensemble.  She has published over 120 flute and bell choir arrangements, and has written handbell/chime hymn introductions used in worship at HIghland each time the HUMRingers play. The testimony to the success of her labor of love is the excitement generated each time the HUMRingers play for worship.

Ann is an accomplished music professional beyond her commitments at Highland. Ann is an icon in flute performance around Raleigh, having co-founded the Raleigh Flute Choir in 1986. She has taught private lessons in her home studio and served as adjunct flute instructor at St. Mary's School. Ann holds graduate and master's degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, and founded the e-sheet music publishing company Score Vivo with her son Jason Pearce in 2011.

Ann and her husband Irv will not be leaving the Raleigh area, but want the time to pursue new projects, to travel, and to visit family. We are grateful they will still be a vital part of Highland UMC and we wish them both much joy in this new chapter for Ann. HUMRingers will play for worship at the 11 am service on Sunday, May 20 - please join us in worship that day as we thank God for Ann's ministry here and pray God's blessings on her in her retirement. A reception honoring Ann and thanking for her service to Highland will be held after the 11:00 service on Sunday, June 24.

Highland has a wonderful, vibrant music ministry with opportunities for all ages to make a joyful noise to the Lord with voices and instruments.

Highland Choir

Highland Choir provides music each week for the 11:00 service and alternating weeks at the 8:30 service, performing a variety of styles ranging from spirituals to classical masterworks, sometimes with guest orchestral musicians.  This all-ages choir rehearses Thursday evenings 7:30 - 9 PM, with a lighter schedule in the summers.  Contact interim Music Director Jo Anne Swartz to join them.

Singers who would like a short-term challenge are invited to join us as we present Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria on December 17, accompanied by members of the NC Symphony . Scores and rehearsal tracks (on-line) are available immediately. Individual rehearsal sessions can be arranged through our music director as needed for anyone who would like to accept this challenge!

Connection Praise Band

Our Praise Band leads music at our 10:30 AM contemporary service, The Connection, in Bradley Hall.  They rehearse at 7:30 PM on Wednesdays in Bradley Hall year-round.  Interested singers or instrumentalists should contact Worship Leader Erik Hawks.

Children's Choirs

Highland’s Children’s Choirs have exciting plans for the fall choir season! Younger elementary children are learning about music reading and working with rhythm patterns on a variety of instruments. Older elementary (Chorister Choir) children are learning to play the ukelele with help from members of the Highland UMYF.

Children ages 3 through 5th grade who enjoy singing, playing musical instruments, fellowship with others their age, and providing a music ministry to others may join us for weekly rehearsals in the choir room.   Children do not need to be a member of the church to participate.  All rehearsals are on Wednesdays from September until May.   Contact our children's choir director, Jo Anne Swartz for more information.

Cherub Choir
Ages 3 - K - Choir Room
4:45-5:15 pm

Chorister Choir
Grades 1 - 5 - Choir Room
5:15-5:45 pm


With our HUMRingers handbell choir, experienced adult and senior-high youth ring once each month in worship services during the school year, typically at the 11:00 service.  This choir also plays at handbell festivals, community events, and an annual Christmas concert at the NC Correctional Institute for Women.  They also provide worship music for small churches without a handbell program once each year in the spring.  They utilize five octaves of Malmark handbells and five octaves of Malmark handchimes.  Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:45 PM in the Handbell Room on the second floor above Bradley Hall.  Anyone interested in joining handbells should contact director Ann Pearce.

Bells Alive

Bells Alive is an informal session for novice handbell ringers of high school age and older, to learn about ringing and to experience the thrill of making music together.  They meet Wednesdays 5:00 - 6:00 PM in the Handbell Room on the second floor above Bradley Hall.  Anyone interested should contact director Ann Pearce.

Highland Winds

For youth and adults, this ensemble combines brass, woodwinds, and strings and provides instrumental music approximately five times a year, sometimes accompanying singing groups. They will be featured at the Moravian Love Feast worship service December 31.  The group rehearses on Sundays at 2:00 PM in the sanctuary.  Contact director Jo Anne Swartz to participate.