Piedmont Choral Society to honor patriots and raise funds

The Piedmont Choral Society will perform three concerts of patriotic music.
The Piedmont Choral Society will perform three concerts of patriotic music. COURTESY OF KAY YATES

The Piedmont Choral Society is spending June gearing up for its 12th patriotic concert series.

The group will offerthree performancesconsisting of patriotic music to honor veterans and service members while raising funds for Concord’s Cooperative Christian Ministry crisis center.

Though the shows are free to attend, PCS has raised almost $25,000 since 2004 for local nonprofit organizations through donations at the patriotic concerts. Different beneficiaries are chosen each year, and total donations have often been matched by Bill and Louise Martin of Concord.

The main patriotic concert to benefit CCM will be held June 25 at Forest Hill United Methodist Church in Concord. Two other performances will follow on June 26 at First Presbyterian Church in Kannapolis and June 28 at First Baptist Church in Concord.

Kay Yates, president of the Piedmont Choral Society since 2005, said the summer concert series originally was not exclusively patriotic music, but the singers and audience have enjoyed the shift. The performers dress in red, white and blue.

“We have changed the program to be composed entirely of patriotic music ... and we love it,” Yates said.

“These concerts have become the most popular and well-attended events of our series. What a wonderful way to honor our country, our past, our military personnel, involve the community and benefit a worthy local nonprofit – all at the same time.”

Songs performed will include “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The Piedmont’s director is Joseph Judge of Albemarle. Johnny Lazenby of Kannapolis will conduct the patriotic concerts, and the choral group will be accompanied by musicians Don Simmons, of Kannapolis, and Brent Messenger, a percussionist also from Kannapolis, Yates said.

“A most moving number is the Salute to Patriots, in which both veteran and active military personnel from each branch of service stand and are recognized with applause as their military flag is brought forward and their service song is sung,” Yates said.

“To see the pride in the faces of these patriots and the tears streaming down their cheeks is so heartwarming.”

At each of the three concerts, all military personnel and their families will be recognized. Service members who lost their lives in the line of duty, prisoners of war and those missing in action will also be remembered and honored. The first concert, on June 25, will be followed by a reception at which the audience may thank attending military members, who wear red, white and blue ribbons.

One Vietnam veteran and Military Order of the Purple Heart leader who attended last year sent Yates his remarks about the patriotic concert last year.

“If a person was not moved after your performance, there is no heart beating in their chest ... I sang along with each song ... Music has a way of bringing back memories. Last night, I thought about the men I served with – the ones who did not return,” he said.

“...You make me proud to be an American ... keep spreading the beautiful message through your music.”

The local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart was last year’s patriotic concert series beneficiary.

“The mission of the Piedmont Choral Society is to create a venue for area singers to be challenged musically in the preparation of choral masterworks and to use our talents for community service. We perform two formal concert series each year,” Yates said. The PCS is often accompanied by professional musicians.

Auditions are required to be a member of PCS. The group also involves community singers, who may practice and sometimes perform with the group, though they are not full members. The PCS has about 40 auditioned members and often has around 15 community singers attend various events.

The choral society will hold auditions, and the group will begin rehearsals for its regular season in September every Monday night.

In the fall, the PCS holds an Old-Fashioned Hymn Sing with an accompanying can drive – through which it has donated almost half a ton of canned goods to CCM over the years, which is also the chosen beneficiary for this year’s patriotic concerts.

CCM started in 1981, when seven Concord churches teamed up to reach more of the community by combining efforts. Some programs the organization offers include hunger relief, crisis assistance and shelter and housing services.

A representative from CCM will attend and be available at the PCS benefit concert.

Since 2004, the patriotic concert series has benefited many Cabarrus-area nonprofit organizations, ranging from hospices to animal rescues. Organizations are nominated by PCS members and selected by the PCS board.

Marjorie Dana is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marjorie? Email her at

Want to go?

Concerts will be held at 7 p.m. June 25 at Forest Hill United Methodist Church on Union Street North in Concord, 7 p.m. June 26 at First Presbyterian Church on Vance Street in Kannapolis and 3 p.m. June 28 at First Baptist Church on Branchview Drive in Concord.

For more information on the Piedmont Choral Society or how to audition, contact Kay Yates at

For more information on Cooperative Christian Ministry, visit