The Hickory Choral Society will perform today at Olivet Baptist Church in Catawba.
The concert, "Stars in the East," features the society's 110 singers (the "stars") in a rare appearance in this part of Catawba County (the "east").
The Hickory Choral Society is a funded affiliate of the Catawba County Council for the Arts. The concert, which is free and open to the public, is funded by a grant specifically aimed at bringing performances to the Sherrills Ford area.
"The 33-year history of the Hickory Choral Society has taken us to many places nationwide and internationally," said Denise Filip, past president of the society and concert chairwoman. "However, we felt that doing a concert in our area, one in a place other than Hickory, would open us up to a new group of listeners."
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Founded in 1978, the Hickory Choral Society is an all-volunteer group with members from Catawba and surrounding counties. It has performed with the N.C. Symphony and at the Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as in England and Scotland. In May 2010, the society performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., a free regional arts festival hosted by local churches that runs concurrently with the professional Spoleto Festival.
The group is perhaps best known for its annual Christmas concerts at Corinth Reformed Church in Hickory, which have been broadcast statewide on UNC-TV.
Although the group has enjoyed extensive exposure outside the community, its members also are intent on promoting choral music to local listeners.
Today's concert has been promoted to local businesses and churches, and some of the audience members will be students in choral programs at local schools.
"Each year, the Hickory Choral Society offers money from our endowment fund to schools in Catawba County for their choral programs," Filip said. "Schools apply for money using specific music selections that they will teach in their choruses for the upcoming year."
This year, 11 schools received grant money. The society also provides curriculum support via classroom materials. Local chorus teachers received lesson plans based on the state's standard course of study, along with sheet music for them to use in the classroom.
Guest students in the audience will recognize works by American composer Aaron Copland, including "Ching A Ring Ching Chaw" and "The Boatmen's Dance."
Participating students will have special reserved seats.