Community Chorus rings in 50th anniversary with holiday concert

Published 11:56 am Monday, December 11, 2023

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COLUMBUS—The Polk County High School auditorium was filled with the sounds of holiday cheer as the Community Chorus celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday.

The chorus performed its semi-centennial concert to support the Rotary Club of Tryon Scholarship Fund. Led by three former conductors – Dell Morgan, Lesley Bush and Richard Kennedy – and accompanied by pianist Pam McNeil, the chorus sang their hearts out for a good cause.

Rotary Club of Tryon President Allan Purtrill kicked off the concert by thanking the performers and attendees for their hard work and support. The scholarship fund awarded 18 college scholarships and three awards totaling $39,000 to Polk County graduates in 2023.

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The Community Chorus first performed together in 1973, holding a spring and winter concert. Over the years, it has gone by three names, including The Rotary Club Chorus and Tryon Community Chorus, before settling on the Community Chorus.

This year’s performance began with “Fanfare for Christmas Day” and “Jesus Child” conducted by Kennedy. Beth Child then performed “Ding Dong Merrily on High” on the piano, followed by a performance by Polk County High School Chorus students Jasmine Schaefer, Jerica Clark, Emma Conner, Samantha Labreche and Chloe Pickett.

Dell Morgan led the chorus four times and directed them through “Festival First Nowell” and “All on a Silent Night.” Soloist soprano Tena Greene-Porter then performed “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” followed by sing-along carols and soloist Andy Millard accompanied by Karen Killough on “The Christmas Song.”

The quartet of Cathy Fischer, Paula Edwards, Ben Davis and Sam Molina sang the Irving Berlin classic “Snow,” accompanied by Carol Bartol. Lesley Bush then conducted the chorus through “We Need A Little Christmas” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” to wrap up the show.

After the concert, a reception was held for singers and attendees, catered by Green River Catering. The chorus featured performers of all ages, with the oldest being 92 and the youngest in middle school.

The Community Chorus proved once again that music can bring people together for a good cause, and the Rotary Club of Tryon Scholarship Fund will undoubtedly benefit from their efforts.