Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ashland Area Community Choir Presents Annual Spring Concert "Awaken the Music"

On Sunday, the Ashland Area Community Choir held it's annual spring concert "Awaken the Music".

By:  Megan A. Hepler

On Sunday, April 29th at 2:00 PM, the Ashland Area Community Choir began preparing for their Annual Spring Concert. Within the hour, the pews in the sanctuary at the Lavelle Church of the Nazarene were filled. Additional seats were brought in to accommodate an audience of approximately 220 people of all ages. Those attending the concert greeted one another with smiles and light conversation, as they waited for the concert to begin. A couple of women chatted about how they had been to several of the Ashland Area Community Choir concerts in the past and were eager to hear the choir again.

Just before 3:00 PM, the choir filed in to their designated spots and director Bruce McCormick took the stage. He welcomed the spectators with humor, “we will sing one song and that’s all…over and over.” The audience stilled when the first note was sung. They remained attentive and respectful throughout the concert, unless McCormick cracked a joke between songs. On several occasions he had the audience and choir roaring with laughter. At one-point McCormick joked, “the next part we’ll start out with the testosterone of the group.” The audience laughed as the Baritones and Basses stood to sing “Sixteen Tons.”

The choir performed songs such as “Fairest Lord Jesus,” “Somos Uno (We Are One),” “Somewhere Out There,” “Over the Rainbow,” and many other beautiful pieces. Most of the songs were performed alongside Betty Chappell, former director of the choir, on piano. For two pieces they were joined by a small band. One of its members happened to be McCormick’s grandson, a senior in high school, on trumpet. After the final song was finished, “Thine Be The Glory,” the choir received a standing ovation from the audience. Members of the choir traveled from surrounding areas such as Ashland, Girardville, Shamokin, to as far as Williamstown, Pottsville, and Barnesville. Jeremy Smallwood, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene and choir member, described the performance as cathartic. He said that he, “loved it; it was so fun to be a part of.” Smallwood also noted that the Annual Winter Concert would be taking place at the church this year.

Kaitlyn “Kb” Smallwood, Jeremy Smallwood’s daughter, is the only minor and youngest member of the choir at 13 years old. She has been with the choir for two years, performing four concerts. Kb stated that, “it’s a great experience. And it improves a lot of different skills.” She encourages teens to take an interest and explained, “it’s a great choir to join.”