Why do people sing? John Bell, the Scottish composer and hymn writer, said “We sing because we can.”
In 1588, composer William Byrd wrote, “The exercise of singing is delightful to nature, and good to preserve the health of man. It doth strengthen all parts of the breast, and doth open the pipes.”
Here in west Georgia, a group of singers has been meeting faithfully and making joyful noise for 37 years. The Carroll County Community Chorus, currently under the direction of Jack Gantt, began in the fall of 1979 and was organized to give a Christmas gift to the community. The success of that gift has now continued for almost four decades. The group sings all kinds of music, from Bach to the Beetles to Broadway, connecting with each other and with the community with the sound of their voices.
The chorus will perform its annual “Christmas in Carrollton” show Friday and Saturday at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center.
The chorus has had such a long and healthy life here, chorus board president Carol Schefler said, because “when people sing together, they bond with each other. I’ve been singing with the group since 1990 and as a result, I’ve met friends and made connections that I would never had without the chorus. When you work together to perfect your performance, you accomplish something together. And that feels great.
“We do a new theme show every spring — Disney, ‘Rat Pack,’ patriotic shows. Next spring (2018) we’ll be doing Broadway. One year we performed Mendelsohn’s ‘Elijah’ with the choir from UWG. And that same year, a number of us went to Carnegie Hall and sang with a group of over 250 singers. It was thrilling.”
Schefler said it’s not difficult for someone in the community to join the chorus.
“There’s no audition,” she said. “Just look on the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for details (www.carrolltonarts.org). There’s a $20 registration fee that goes to help pay for our music, as well as guest musicians and our director. You can make a short term commitment of just a single season, but once you start, you’ll probably get hooked like I did.”
The chorus is especially proud of its accompanist, who has been with the group for 35 years. Jan Adams, Schefler said, is amazing.
“She’s not only a terrific player, but because she’s been with us for so long, she and the director (Jack Gantt) almost read each other’s minds. At our concert ‘Christmas in Carrollton,’ we’re honoring her devoted service to the group.
“In addition to honoring Jan, we’ll be performing great Christmas classics — everything from sacred pieces like “Oh Holy Night” to funny songs like “No Time To Diet” and of course, “White Christmas.”
The Carroll County Community Choir will offer three performances of “Christmas In Carrollton”: Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., then Saturday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10. To purchase, call the box office at 770-838-1083 or buy in person at 251 Alabama St. Tuesday-Friday from 12-5:30 p.m.; or purchase tickets online at www.carrolltonarts.org.