Pianist and accompanist Pam McNeil recognized for contributions to the Community Chorus

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

By Sandra L. Sibley


Whenever the Community Chorus takes the stage for a concert, Spring or Christmas, there’s a familiar face barely visible behind the grand piano, accompanying the singers. Pam McNeil, pianist and accompanist extraordinaire, was recently recognized for her contributions to the Community Chorus over the past 32 years.

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Pam was first recruited as an accompanist in 1990 by then-director Anton Cedervall. She was unknown locally as a musician at the time, but Cedervall had heard her play and knew she would be a good fit to accompany the chorus. Sixty-three concerts, 756 rehearsals and some 15 chorus directors later, Pam remains a constant and integral member of the organization.


At the Community Chorus annual meeting, Board President Linda Lee Reynolds presented Pam with a monetary gift, and Board member Art Brown presented her with the Paul Keenan print of “Morris Leads the Chorus,” a gift from former Community Chorus director Betty Brewer. Keenan is well-known in Tryon for his “Morris the Horse” paintings, prints and Christmas ornaments.


“I already own the ‘Morris Goes to the Theater’ print, so the Morris Chorus print is an honored addition to my Paul Keenan wall,” said Pam. “Many thanks for this treasured gift.”


Reynolds said, “Without Pam’s knowledge, talent and skill as an accompanist, the Community Chorus would not be able to put together such outstanding concerts. She’s not only an exceptional musician in her own right, but is happy to lead rehearsals when called upon and work with the singers both individually and in groups.”


Pam’s keyboard career started when she was five years old with a color-coded toy piano. When she banged out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” her mother decided it was time for lessons. Pam is a graduate of St. Andrews University and Western Carolina University, where she served as an accompanist and had her first experience with the original Moog synthesizer.  In addition to the Community Chorus, Pam has played for and directed productions with Tryon Little Theater, churches, musicals, parties and friends. She is currently the organist at Tryon United Methodist Church and works at Saluda Elementary School.


Rehearsals for the Community Chorus 2022 Christmas concert get underway at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, at Tryon Presbyterian Church. The Christmas Concert, under the direction of Dell Morgan, and accompanied by Pam, is set for Sunday, Dec. 11, at Polk County High School.