Alumnae Award winner during Alumnae Weekend 2019
A native of Ocilla, Georgia, Monica Harper Dekle graduated from Wesleyan College in 2004 with an A.B. in music (organ and piano) and accounting. She received her master’s degree in church music and organ from Baylor University in 2006, graduating summa cum laude. In 2012 she received her Doctor of Music with double majors in church music and organ and double minors in choral and instrumental conducting and music education from the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, again graduating summa cum laude.
Monica has received numerous awards in national organ competitions including the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance, the Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition, and the Arthur Poister National Organ Playing Competition. For three consecutive years Monica won prizes in the John Rodland National Competition for Church Music and Organ. She also received the National Music Week Alliance Award for excellence in music. She has performed organ recitals at prestigious festivals and venues including Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston and at historic Methuen Memorial Music Hall outside Boston. She cites as one of her greatest accomplishments her marriage in 2016 to Andrew Dekle.
Since 2011, Monica has served as Director of Music and Organist at historic Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah where she has grown the children’s choirs to more than 110 boys and girls. She has made the choirs a ministry to children all over the Savannah area by including children of non-members. Under her direction, the Wesley Choir performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s magnum opus, Mass in B Minor, with orchestra, marking the first time the work had been performed by a Savannah choir. In 2013, she directed the Wesley Choir in singing Noon prayer at Notre Dame in Paris and again at Cologne Cathedral in Germany. Monica has established a music endowment fund to continue Wesley Monumental’s tradition of providing beautiful sacred music to the Savannah community. In December 2019, she will lead the Wesley Choir in performing Handel’s complete Messiah with choir and orchestra.
Monica also served as Chorusmaster of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus from 2014-2018 under the tutelage of Maestro Peter Shannon. On numerous occasions she conducted the full orchestra and chorus and prepared the chorus for all performances. She also has raised money for the Savannah Philharmonic (once by rappelling off a tall building!) and currently serves on the search committee for a new artistic director and conductor.
Recently, Monica organized the Wesley Monumental Choir for a performance of a Dinner Cabaret that raised $23,000 for a choir member who had a liver transplant. Monica has twice run the Chicago Marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society. She also has run the Savannah Rock and Roll Half Marathon to raise money for Savannah area women and children in need.
A member of the American Guild of Organists, Monica regularly plays organ recitals and leads musical programs. She also has a private studio of piano and organ students.
Monica has been an active volunteer for Wesleyan in the Savannah area, serving as a hostess for alumnae events.
For her achievement in her profession, for her contributions to her church and community, and for serving as an exemplar for Wesleyan students, the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association proudly presents the Young Alumna Award to Monica Harper Dekle.
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