Staff Report for The Island Connection
Van McCollum and his wife are retiring to Kiawah Island from the City of Cumming, Georgia. Linda Heard, Executive Director of The Cumming Playhouse, wanted Kiawah to know that these are two very fine talented people and ones who will “benefit your community greatly.” “Your gain is certainly our loss,” she said.
McCollum is the founder, artistic director and conductor of the Cumming Playhouse Singers. He began the Cumming Playhouse Singers, a Forsyth County community chorus, in 2006.
He has more than 30 years of teaching experience at the secondary and college levels as a director of bands and choruses.
He has also been active as a church organist and choir director, with past choral groups having performed in Europe, at Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, N.C., and with the Jefferson Parish Performing Arts Society in New Orleans.
McCollum spent many years as a choral instructor at Otwell Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Church Music, a master’s degree in Musicology from the University of Georgia and a Specialist in Music Education degree from Georgia State University.
As a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Georgia Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education, he has been very active in state and district music activities, serving as a head state adjudicator for the GMEA and clinician for choral activities. His choral groups have received continuous superior ratings at district, national and international festivals.
Mayor Gravitt of Cumming personally thanked McCollum for his many years of service to the Playhouse and Cumming community.
“We wish to acknowledge Van for all his fine work in the music field throughout his career and in particular the outstanding job he has done as founder, artistic director and conductor of the Cumming Playhouse Singers,” Gravitt said.