Lake Norman & Mooresville

Choir invites you to relive their best efforts

Members of the East Lincoln Community Chorus are busy rehearsing for their free summer concert, "Encore, Encore," scheduled to take place at Unity Presbyterian Church in Denver.

Lake Norman residents can look forward to "an out-of-this-world performance," said publicity chairwoman Pam Gay. "We want to give the audience a musical encore of some of our favorite songs from past concerts, as well as new songs."

Audiences will enjoy performances of "Live Your Dream" and "A Sentimental Journey," as well as "Over the Rainbow" and "Hernando's Hideaway," among other popular tunes.

Lovers of the musical "Cats" will recognize the signature tune "Memory" from that show, and in keeping with the season, "God Bless the USA" will be featured as well.

Members of the chorus must be prepared to make a serious commitment to the rehearsal process.

"Over 80 performers rehearse several hours a week for three months to prepare a colorful and expressive event of music and entertainment," said Gay. "Each show is a unique performance piece, written and produced by members of the group and showcasing the talents of local singers, dancers and actors."

The ELCC was organized in 2003 as a means of showcasing the members of local church choirs. However, exceptional vocal talent is not a prerequisite.

"We take all interested singers," says Communications Director Wendy Naylor, "whether your talent ends with singing in the shower or singing professionally. We're all here because we love music and we love to sing, and anybody who shares our love of music is welcome to join. Auditions are not required, and nobody is ever fired."

Non-singers can also contribute to the cause of putting on these musical extravaganzas.

"There is plenty to do for volunteers whose talent lies elsewhere in the arts," says Donnie Maggart, operations and logistics chairman. "We welcome folks who would like to help in audio-visual, costumes, choreography or acting."

Participation in the choir frequently is a family affair, with mother-daughter and father-son pairings, as well as siblings and married couples.

Because the concerts are free, the $10,000 budget must be raised through donations and grants. "It costs more than you might think to put on a free show," says Joe Lampron, the group's treasurer.

The choir director, Cheryl Barker, is music director at Salem Methodist Church in Denver. She is assisted by Kristin Farmer, who has been conducting choral groups and choirs for 40 years in various churches in North and South Carolina. The piano accompanist, Jeff Perks of Denver, had the distinction of performing at the White House on Christmas 2008.

The motto of ELCC, "Without music, life would 'b' flat," sums up the enthusiasm members bring to performances. Because past shows have attracted overflow audiences, attendees are encouraged to arrive early, and according to Gay, should "come prepared, because we will rock you to the edge of your seat."