ACS Rehearsal

ACS Rehearsal

our story

The Asheville Choral Society (ACS) has been inspiring and enriching audiences in Western North Carolina since 1978 with remarkable choral music at the highest artistic level. The ACS is made up of some 100-plus auditioned singers ranging in age from 16 to 80-plus, many of whom have professional music backgrounds and all of whom share a passion for singing. 

The ACS started in 1977 as a small group of enthusiastic singers, who envisioned a group dedicated to the performance of great choral music. They quickly realized the need for a professional director, and were fortunate to engage the late Dr. Robert P. Keener, Music Director Emeritus, who led the group for its first 22 seasons. From 2000 to 2010, Music Director Lenora Thom presided over a period of unprecedented artistic and organizational growth for the chorus. In 2010, the ACS launched a rigorous audition process for its next director, which culminated in the selection of Artistic Director Dr. Melodie Galloway. 

Now in its 41st season, the ACS has garnered a reputation as one of Western North Carolina’s premier music organizations, and has been praised for the versatility, originality, and challenging nature of its programming. The ACS performs with the area’s finest musicians, and has forged artistic collaborations with the Celebration Singers — Asheville’s outstanding youth choir, the Asheville Symphony Chorus, Cantaria, and other acclaimed musical ensembles. The ACS is actively engaged with the greater Asheville community through public performances at festivals and events, holiday caroling at community establishments, and strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, MANNA FoodBank, and the Asheville Humane Society. The ACS was part of the Asheville Amadeus 2017 Festival, in a concert that included the world premiere of a work commissioned by the ACS. 

The Asheville Choral Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 


The mission of the Asheville Choral Society is to enrich our community with the transformational experience of remarkable choral artistry. 


The Asheville Choral Society will be known for exceptional performances and community partnerships. We will elevate the significance of high-quality choral music, adding value to the Asheville arts scene. 


  • Excellence: We hold excellence to be the standard by which we approach performance and rehearsal, constantly seeking to improve both our understanding and presentation of our repertoire. We recognize that excellence takes hard work and commit ourselves to both group and individual practice. 
  • Music Literacy: We strive to educate our audience and ourselves about the composers and pieces we perform in order to develop a deeper and richer appreciation for the choral works. We actively expand our musical knowledge by performing choral music of diverse genres and styles. 
  • Vocal Artistry: We believe in the beauty of voices of all ages and commit to developing technique, both individual and as a group, to ensure a long life of healthy singing. 
  • Collaboration: We are committed to partnering with community organizations using the power of music to affect change for the betterment of Asheville. 
  • Community: We affirm the importance of music in highlighting our shared humanity. We believe in developing community within our chorus, recognizing it as a vital component that strengthens our performance as a collective unit, and enhances the care and concern we provide for each other. 
  • Diversity: We seek to increase the diversity of age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status within our choral membership to better reflect the surrounding community. 
  • Joy: We believe that singing collectively brings great pleasure to both the singer and the listener and enhances their lives far beyond the performance. 


If you are interested in joining The Asheville Choral Society as a singer, check out our Sing with ACS Page for more information and to schedule an audition. 

The Asheville Choral Society follows an equal opportunity policy and welcomes members, Board Directors, and Staff without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.

Dr. Melodie G. Galloway, Artistic Director

Dr. Melodie G. Galloway, Artistic Director

Melodie Galloway holds a Master’s degree from Florida State University in Vocal Performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her experience as a conductor and soprano soloist includes opera, musical theatre, and jazz. Her credits as a conductor include a 2012 Carnegie Hall invited performance featuring 200 singers and orchestra. She led combined choirs and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra (Krakow) in Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living in May 2017 in Vienna, Prague and Salzburg. As the Director of UNCA’s Asheville Singers, she has been invited to perform as part of the Holiday Open House Performances at the White House from 2006-2017, including a private audience with President and Mrs. Obama in 2012. She will be conductor-in-residence in Syros, Greece, for MidAmerica Productions, NY, in 2019. Currently, Dr. Galloway is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she is the Coordinator of Choral and Vocal Studies. She is in demand as a clinician, conference presenter and consultant for arts advocacy.

Click here to watch a video interview with Dr. Galloway

Laurel Ahrnsbrak, Executive Director

Laurel Ahrnsbrak, Executive Director

Laurel Ahrnsbrak is an experienced nonprofit and association professional with a background in fund development, association membership, events planning and stakeholder engagement. She has more than ten years of nonprofit staff, volunteer, and board leadership experience. Her professional history includes work with Sponsorship Specialists, a consultancy focused on building corporate partnership programs. She focused on fund development and member engagement with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, an association of foundations and other funders dedicated to nonprofit success. She started her work in development with the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, a hybrid service nonprofit and professional association. She also served on the board of directors of Gateway Community Development Corporation, a local nonprofit dedicated to smart and community-positive growth, where she served as vice president, led a strategic planning effort, and chaired the fund development committee.