The Winchester Chorale has always tried to make its concerts community events.
This year, the spring concert will feature more community members than ever before, thanks to partnerships with five local churches.
“We thought it would be good to give back to the community, because they’ve always supported our concerts,” Chorale Board president John Austin said.
The concert is free, but donations will be accepted for the Clark County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy Board.
“We hope to make this an annual event, sponsoring a different organization each year,”¿Austin said.
Similar events have taken place in the past, Austin said, but not annually.
“We wanted to show unity in the community, and I thought this would be good, to get together and promote
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substance abuse awareness,” Austin said.
Many of the Chorale members are part of their church choirs, and will be performing with both groups at the concert. Austin sings with the Central Baptist Church choir, directed by Michael Houchens, and accompanist Phyllis James also plays for the First United Methodist Church. Her husband, Bill James, sings with the First Methodist Choir.
“I’ve sung in church choirs since I was a teenager,” Bill James said. “Wherever I’ve been, I’ve been in a choir.”
The Winchester Chorale will sing “House of the Lord” and “I Bless Your Name,” featuring soloist Laura Spragg.
In between choir performances, the audience will be invited to sing traditional hymns like “Amazing Grace.”
The finale will be a massed choir performance, featuring all church and Chorale singers, of “May the Road Rise to Meet You.”
Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas and ASAP Director Janna Smith all will speak at the performance, highlighting the importance of substance abuse awareness and prevention.
For Chorale members, the spring concert is one of the highlights of the year, an opportunity for the singers to share their talents with family and friends.
“The fellowship we share together, it’s like a big family. We start in September preparing for Christmas, so we see each other every Monday night. This is a good way to meet people from other choirs,” Austin said.
Donna Breen, also a member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church choir, will sing in her first Chorale spring concert Sunday.
“I love to sing, and I’ve always heard about the Chorale, and how great it was,” Breen said. “One of the other ladies (from church) and I¿thought we’d check it out, and we’re both still here.”
TGIF: Winchester Chorale's Festival of Choirs concert is Sunday
Peggy Case leads a Winchester Chorale rehearsal Monday evening at Central Baptist Church. The Chorale will perform along with several community church choirs as part of Sunday¿s Festival of Choirs.