Choral society revs up holiday cheer

Published 10:09 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Beaufort County Choral Society performs at the 2011 HeART of the City Christmas concert. (Submitted photo/Beaufort County Arts Council)

You’ll hear them ring, ring, ringing and sing, sing, singing real soon. Friday night, the Washington Civic Center will be overflowing with the spirit of the season: a Christmas concert with the Beaufort County Choral Society and a hand-bell choir, River City Ringers.
The door will open at 7 p.m.; the concert start is at 7:30 p.m., and according to organizers, if past concerts are anything to go by, this annual Christmas concert will be standing room only.
“It’s a Christmas celebration — it’s always gone well and been well attended,” said Bob Jenks, a member of the choral society. “Last time, we were in the civic center, people were standing along the walls.”
The River City Ringers, under director Sally Love, will start the program that includes audience participation in sing-along carols and eight holiday favorites sung by the choral society: “Sleigh Ride,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and a jazzed up version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
The Christmas concert returns to the Washington Civic Center after a few holiday seasons in other venues, most notably as the last performance at the historical Turnage Theater in downtown Washington, before its doors were closed because of financial insolvency last year.
For Joey Toler, executive director of the Beaufort County Arts Council, returning the concert to the Civic Center has been nostalgic.
“We are so fortunate to have this historic facility for programs like this,” Toler said. “In a way, it’s like bringing this annual event back to its roots and the Civic Center lends itself to perfectly for this holiday gathering.”
The BCAC presents the concert every holiday season, with support from the City of Washington, according to Toler. It’s free and open to the public, which is in keeping with the choral society’s stated mission: to provide quality music concerts, free of charge, to the community and visitors.
Directed by Tom Feller, along with accompanist Melissa Feller, the singers will perform Friday night then take the show on the road to Bath, for another performance at 3 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Because of continuing construction on the deck of the Civic Center, all patrons should be prepared to enter from the Gladden Street side (east) of the building.  While patrons will still be able to park in the Civic Center parking lot, there is no access to the building from the west.