Beaufort County Idol returns for second year

Published 2:01 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

Lifestyles &Features Editor
Singers and musicians from throughout Beaufort County will gather Saturday evening for the Terre Ceia Community Choir’s 20th-annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”
The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on Harvey Street in Washington. The concert is open to the public.
This year’s performance is bittersweet for some of the participants, said Rebecca Clayton. The choir’s longtime string coordinator, Doris Hamilton, died last year.
Hamilton, a local music teacher, approached “Messiah” director Alma S. Evett with the idea of putting together a string ensemble to perform with the choir. Evett embraced the idea.
Hamilton’s efforts have had a lasting influence on local musicians, Clayton said.
Clayton recalled that Hamilton made sure her musicians were ready for every performance.
Clayton, who has been active with the “Messiah” concert since it’s inception, recalled that she had been a vocalist until Hamilton, a neighbor, approached her one day.
Hamilton also recruited members of her church and music students from East Carolina University to play with the ensemble, Clayton said. Today, about 20 string musicians join the 40-member choir for the Easter performance.
Rehearsals for “Messiah” began in early March, and among the performers are several who have participated every year. In addition to Evett and Clayton, the longtime veterans include Martha Baynor, Sylvia Coltrain and Gilbert Evett.
Clayton has high praise for the director and the performers, in general.
Cutline for corresponding photo: Mikiah Masters, left, and Robin Potts rehearse earlier this week for Saturday’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” The concert will be held at First Baptist Church in Washington. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)