Singing praises

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The North Carolina Baptist All-State Youth Choir performs at 7 p.m. Friday at Washington’s First Baptist Church.

This choir doesn’t accept just anyone who wants to sing with it. Members — before they become members — are required to audition for positions in the choir. From time to time, members who finish their first seasons are asked not to return for follow-up seasons.

Choir members are required to memorize the songs they perform.

First Baptist Church has three of its members — Sarah Doughtie, Kasey Doughtie and Rebecca Omonde — in the choir. The Rev. Dr. Greg Barmer, the church’s minister of music, serves on the choir’s committee.

“All-State is comprised of about 80 members from across the state, all from Baptist churches. They meet on the campus of Campbell University from Sunday through Wednesday rehearsing all day for those days. On Wednesday night, they begin their concert tour throughout the state. This year’s tour is an eastern tour. So, that’s how we’re able to have them in Washington,” Barmer said Wednesday afternoon while on the Campbell University campus. “It’s on a three-year rotating cycle — one year in the east, one year in the central and one year in the west. They sing all sacred music.”

Penney Doughtie, whose daughters Sarah and Kasey left Sunday for the weeklong tour, said choir members and supporting staff have were busy at Campbell University earlier this week getting prepared for the tour.

“Monday and Tuesday, they had seven hours of rehearsal,” she said.

Doughtie, a First Baptist Church member, is anticipating hearing her daughters and the rest of the choir perform.

“I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to it, especially since it’s at our church,” Doughtie said Wednesday.

Each year, the choir travels around North Carolina performing concerts and small missions projects. The Friday evening concert comes toward the end of the choir’s weeklong retreat and concert schedule. The theme of this year’s tour is “You Never Let Go.” It is taken fro Romans 8:38-39, which reads, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

This year, the choir is directed by Phil Morrow, director of choral activities and associate professor of music at Campbell University in Buies Creek.

The tour week is filled with rehearsals and appearances at various locations. The choir is scheduled for a mini-concert at 11 a.m. Friday at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, followed by lunch at Oakmont Baptist Church in Greenville. The choir is scheduled to arrive at Washington’s waterfront at 2:30 p.m. Friday before a 4:15 p.m. rehearsal at First Baptist Church.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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