Community choir reunites for second time
BY Navar Watson - NWatson@chronicle-tribune.com | Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 6:00 am (Published by the Chronicle-Tribune.
Choir director Chuck Kenworthy jokes with members of the Mississinewa Valley Choir while giving instructions during rehearsal Tuesday evening at Marion High School.
Last year the Mississinewa Valley Band introduced a new community choir to perform at its annual Sacred Concert, and this year, choir members are reconvening to make it happen again.
Band saxophone player Chuck Kenworthy was appointed as choir director last year, given his past in directing vocalists. He said he hoped for 100 choir members last year, got about 110 and now hopes to have just as many if not more this year.
Anyone in the community is able to join.
"These are great, great people in the community," Kenworthy said. "A lot of churches have dropped their choirs, so people who like to sing don't have a whole lot of opportunity. ... This is another opportunity for them to sing."
The choir's first rehearsal for the 2016 sacred concert, scheduled for Sept. 20, took place Tuesday, involving former members and new members. Kenworthy said he invites anyone else who is interested to come to the second rehearsal on Sept. 6.
Choir members have three rehearsals and a dress rehearsal the night before the concert.
The choir has only performed with the band, though Kenworthy has talked about the possibility of it becoming its own entity and performing at different venues throughout the year. He and the band have not decided whether to try that.
Earlier this summer, the choir joined the band for a second time, singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" during Gas City's Concerts in the Park.
Ryan D. Drown, administrative assistant, public relations manager and board member of the Mississinewa Valley Band, said the choir enhances the night's performance.
"It adds something different," Drown said. "Our value is that we're always doing something better, and this is something that is making us better."
About 40 people showed up to the initial rehearsal Tuesday night, including Skip McCarthy, who was also involved last year. He said he has enjoyed his time with the choir and the people he has met through it.
He also said the Mississinewa Valley Choir is also a good opportunity for people who want to join a choir but don't think they have the time.
"A lot of people these days don't have an interest in joining a choir because they don't have the time," McCarthy said. "(But) this is not a gigantic time commitment."
The choir will rehearse mainly on its own and convene with the band for a dress rehearsal the night before the concert. The concert itself will not differ too much from the past, though the band will be performing "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King, Drown said - a song not often played by concert bands.
During the sacred concert, the choir will perform two song medleys, Kenworthy said, ending off with "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" by Henry van Dyke and set to the melody of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
"Our goal is to always have something enjoyable, and that's what we strive for," Drown said.
The sacred concert will take place Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center at Indiana Wesleyan University.