By Kim West
Not everyone has the opportunity to shine on “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “The Sing-Off,” but there is a local option for singers to go onstage and exercise their vocal chords.
The Community Chorus, sponsored by Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning will host its third concert in two years at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The free performance will be at the Athens Senior Center at 912 W. Pryor St., and a reception with light refreshments will immediately follow.
“The chorus has locals in the community who get together, and it has some wonderful voices,” said Wanda Campbell, assistant director of the CLL.
The chorus was started in 2011 with an annual Christmas concert with plans to phase in additional shows.
“We have about 18 people now, and our goal is to get a good core group of 50,” she said.
The chorus, which practices every Thursday for 10 weeks prior to a concert, will feature director Dr. John Butler, assistant director Lynette Pope and pianist Beth Andrews. Tommy Mitchell will direct a small interlude performance by the barbershop quartet, “The Southern Splendor Chorus.”
“Dr. Butler is a pediatrician who has a lifelong love of music. He has been involved in several award-winning choruses, and we’re very glad to have him because he drives up from Birmingham for practices and performances,” Campbell said. “We would love for people interested in joining the chorus to come and meet Dr. Butler.”
Song selections are the Civil War-era “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and gospel hymns “We Sing Hallelujah,” “The Heavens are Telling” and “I Will Arise.”
The chorus will also perform two show tunes, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” and “All the Things You Are,” which was written by Hammerstein for “Very Warm in May.”
Campbell said a youth chorus for ages 5-16 is in the works for this fall, along with the next round of the adult chorus.
“The chorus we have now has people who are part of church choirs, with some young adults and one college student,” Campbell said. “We are trying to develop a youth chorus, and we’re still working with people to get that organized. We hope to start (the youth chorus) in September when we start the next section of the adult chorus.”
Campbell said both choruses will practice at Chastain Hall on the ASU campus. She said people are welcome to join, even if they don’t possess the deep baritone of country star Josh Turner or the soaring soprano of gospel singer Yolanda Adams.
“You can always find your voice, and even if you think you can’t sing well, you can still join the chorus. Most people sing better than they think they can,” she said.
For more information, contact the CLL at 256-233-8260 or visit http://www.athens.edu/CLL.