Every Monday night, from 7 to 9 p.m., harmonious voices are occasionally interrupted by explosions of laughter filling the sanctuary at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cornelius.
Charles Morrow, music director for the Community Singers of Lake Norman, is trying to get some emotion from the chorus.
Working on the song “A Wink and A Smile,” Morrow was urging the singers to think about the excitement of a first date when they sing. “Anybody here have a good first date story?” he asked. The crowd burst into laughter when someone shouted, “One that you can tell in mixed company.”
Alto Kitty Soesbee, who has been singing in choruses since the 1980s, joked with Morrow as they worked on one song. “This group is like one big family. If someone gets sick we take them meals, we support each other like an extended family,” she said.
Her fellow alto, Betsy Fox, said she has been singing in choruses since the 1990s. “This is the friendliest group of people.” Currently there are 64 members, raning in age from 26 to 88, but they hope to continue growing.
The group was formed by Morrow and some close friends in April this year, inviting others that they may have sung with to join. “I wanted to sing music for the community with no strings attached. No state or local funding, no agendas,” he said.
The singers come from diversified backgrounds, some come to have fun, others to sing beyond their church choir along with those who are new to the area, looking for a group to connect with. “Music bridges so many gaps and it brings people together,” said Morrow.
The group is open to all levels of talent. “We don’t try to make the music too out of reach for anyone,” said Morrow.
Morrow focuses on a stress free, fun experience for the singers, but acknowledges that the group wants to do the very best it can. “The only requirement is an open heart and willingness to learn,” he said.
While most of the music for the four Christmas performances in December will have a religious theme, there will be other opportunities to perform other genre of music in the spring and for special occasions.
On Oct. 22, the group will be singing movie theme songs during Asbury United Methodist Church’s Night at the Movies event. The singers will also be performing the national anthem along with other selections at the Huntersville Veterans’ Day celebration Nov. 11.
You can join the chorus by going to their web site and signing up. There is a $75 a year charge to join the chorus and even though the site says that registration has closed, they are still accepting new members.
“We always want singers,” said Morrow. Once you apply you will be contacted and invited to come and join, “the music family.” Then, “You just show up, you smile, you do the very best you can and you will learn. Music is all about learning,” he said.
“I am excited about this group. It is a new group and it can be whatever it wants to be,” he said.
Morrow believes that singing together encourages people to learn more about each other. “It’s a great opportunity to meet people, to get to know people and make music together,” said Morrow.
Marty Price is freelance correspondent: firstname.lastname@example.org