The Savannah Philharmonic announced Chorus Master Monica Dekle will not be renewing her contract with the Philharmonic Chorus, effective at the end of the season this May.

Dekle has led the chorus for four years in this part-time role, which she has combined with her full-time job as director of music and organist at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church. This move will enable her to commit more time to her primary position at Wesley Monumental and to spend more time with her family.

"The board of directors and staff of the Savannah Philharmonic are extremely grateful to Dr. Monica Harper Dekle for her extraordinary leadership of our chorus," said Austin Hill, chairman of the board of the Philharmonic. "Her hard work and dedication are evident in our performances, and we will value her family's continued support of the Savannah Philharmonic."

Artistic director and conductor Peter Shannon added, "I have seldom made decisions regarding the future of the Savannah Philharmonic that carried the weight that accompanied my decision as to who would lead the 110-strong Savannah Philharmonic Chorus. Having personally ensured their artistic growth since 2007, handing the chorus over to another musician is like bringing your child to daycare for the first time and then pretending that it's perfectly normal to wave and walk away. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"All the more wonderful it is then - to know with surety, as I have done now for many years - that Monica Dekle was the right choice to be first Chorus Master of the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus. At every concert, at every rehearsal and otherwise, she has exceeded expectations in every way. It's been a wonderful journey for all of us who have been privy to her keen musicianship and stellar work ethic."

A new chorus master is being sought as the Philharmonic approaches its 10th season this fall. For more information, go to savannahphilharmonic.org, call 912-232-6002 or email info@savannahphilharmonic.org.