The Early Service

“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Meet the band:

Sarah Lawing– 8:30 a.m. Worship Leader; vocals/piano/clarinet

Sarah moved to Athens in 2007 to pursue her graduate education in clarinet performance. She holds Bachelor degrees in music performance and education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as well as Master of Music and Doctorate of Music degrees from the University of Georgia. In 2009, she was a winner of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s annual concerto competition. She has played with local orchestras in the triad area of North Carolina and in Georgia and taught applied clarinet at the University of West Georgia. While attending graduate school, she worked with children, youth, and adults through the Music Ministry at Athens First United Methodist Church. She now directs and oversees our Children’s Music Ministry and leads music for the the 8:30 worship service. Sarah lives in Watkinsville with her husband, Matthew, and their two daughters.

Natalie Smith – flute/vocals

Natalie Smith is originally from Oklahoma City, OK. She grew up outside of Atlanta, and has been living in Athens for close to 20 years. She holds a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory from the University of Georgia, where she was a student of Angela Jones-Reus.  Natalie teaches flute at Oxford College and is principal flutist for the Gwinnett Ballet Theater Orchestra and the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra.  She also performs with husband and classical guitarist Brian Smith, forming the duo the Musicsmiths.  In addition to being a musician, Natalie teaches preschool at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School, practices yoga at home and at Five Points Yoga, and is mother to two amazing girls, Lorelei and Sylvia.  

Serena Scibelli – violin/viola

Violinist, Serena Scibelli, is from Italy and came to Athens in 2014 as a Teaching Assistant of Levon Ambartsumian at the University of Georgia. She has performed solo, chamber music recital, and as an orchestral musician throughout Europe, the United States, Brazil, Russia and the Arabian Peninsula,and in concert halls such as La Scala, Wiener Musikverein, Teatro Real de Madrid, and Royal Opera House Muscat. She has given master classes, clinics, and performances at high schools, university and music schools throughout the United States and Europe. 

Kevin Fleming – guitar/mandolin/banjo

Kevin Patrick Fleming has lived in the Athens area since 2008 and throughout Georgia since 1993. Kevin earned Bachelors (Kennesaw State University) and Masters (Florida State University) degrees in Classical Guitar Performance. Kevin has 20 years of teaching experience and is currently the main teacher at Chick Piano in downtown Athens as well as the guitar teacher for Athens Area Homeschool Band. Mr. Fleming currently performs all over the southeastern U.S., including with the bands Grassland String Band and Between Naybors. 

Luca Lombardi – doublebass

Luca began his musical studies at the age of five in Cremona, Italy.  He began playing on violin through the Suzuki program. At the age of fourteen, he refocused his attention on playing bass. Equally comfortable in jazz, classical, and pop settings, he has played for various albums, TV shows, musicals, and other events. Luca holds degrees in Double Bass Performance from the Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi” of Milan, Italy and the University of Georgia (DMA). He regularly performs with a variety of ensembles including the Louis Romanos Quartet and the Whitehall Jazz Collective.

Hans Holzen (former member) – guitar/mandolin/vocals