Dallas Thompson, Youth Director
Dallas comes to FPC after nine years in public education, teaching elementary and middle school literacy for Gainesville City Schools. She is currently enrolled at Columbia Theological Seminary in the Masters of Divinity program, seeking ordainment in the PC(USA).
Dallas and her husband Josh are lifelong Gainesville residents. They share their home with two cats, Chewbacca and Alastor, a very needy dog named Jaqq, and their son Ashton who is active in FPC’s youth program.
This is Dallas’s first church job, but she brings many years of working with young people and a passion for service and ministry to her position at FPC. One of her favorite parts of being at FPC is assisting in worship on Sunday mornings. Dallas enjoys laughing with the youth, studying God’s word with them, and walking alongside them on their journeys of faith.
Ali Thompson, Children’s Director
Ali is a native of Gainesville and is a graduate of Gainesville High School. Before coming to FPC, Ali worked with children as a volunteer Sunday School Teacher, Chapel Teacher for FUMC Preschool and staff member at a local Church helping to care for children while assisting in preparing both the Sunday and Wednesday night children’s programs.
Ali received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University. She worked for 4 years as a Sales Representative for Yellow Book, and a short while as a Customer Service Representative for Regions Bank before retiring to be a full-time mother.
Ali is married to Zack Thompson who is also a Gainesville native and an owner of Pro-Touch Landscapes. They have two delightful young girls, Page and Ashley, who keep them both in shape mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ali would like to express her delight and honor to work with the children and families our wonderful church.
Sam Marley, Director of Choirs
He holds degrees from Westminster Choir College (B.Mus.) and Lamar University (M.Mus.). Since 1965 he has directed choirs in United Methodist Churches in Griffin, Georgia; Bryan, Texas; Beaumont, Texas (’72-’93), Gainesville, Georgia (’93-’12). Since his retirement in 2012, he has served three interim positions in Dalton, Lawrenceville, and Tucker.
Sam sang with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus for twenty-one seasons, served as member and Dean of the Texas Conference Choir Clinic for 25 years, and has prepared and conducted an orchestra of 35+ members.
Mi Kyung Hwang, Organist
Mi Kyung Hwang serves as organist at First Presbyterian Church at Gainesville. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona and a Master of Music degree from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. As an active collaborative artist, she has performed with soloists, choirs, and orchestras at the University of Arizona, Young Harris College, and Perimeter College of Georgia State University. As organist, she performed at the venues of Southern Arizona Chapter and Arkansas Fort Smith Chapter of American Guild of Organist, and international organ festivals in Canada, France, Switzerland, and South Korea where she had private studies with world renown keyboard artists, such as Marie Claire Alain, Daniel Roth, Oliver Latry, Guy Bovet, Simon Preston, and David Higgs. She has received numerous scholarships and honors including full tuition waivers from the University of Arizona, and was the winner of the 20th Peter Knock Music Memorial Fund Competition in 2011. As a dedicated teacher, she has been on piano faculty at Young Harris College and Perimeter College of Georgia State University where she served as Coordinator of Piano Studies. She is a member of American Guild of Organist, Georgia Music Teachers Association, Music Teachers National Association, and College Music Society.
Hope Testement, Handbell Director
Hope has been a member of First Presbyterian since about 1976. She contributes to our music program not only through handbells but she also sings in the Chancel Choir. She majored in Music at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. After teaching music at 4 elementary schools on a rotating basis for several years, she returned to school to earn a masters in education. Since then she has taught middle school math and is currently teaching at Chestatee Middle School.
Hope has played handbells since she was very young and learned under a wonderful director, the late Sue Morris. She actually started handbell program here at FPC and continues to provide beautiful handbell music all year long.
Hope’s husband is John Testement and they have two sons, Caleb and Micah.