The Decatur Civic Chorus is one of the City of Decatur’s oldest and best-loved organizations, and their annual Christmas concert is a very special tradition – and a great start to the holiday season.
The concert will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Decatur First Baptist Church at 308 Clairemont Ave.
The program will include "The Song of Christmas,” a selection of carols and music arranged by Roy Ringwald with narration by John Lemley of WABE Radio, and carols by John Rutter. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, go to their web site at www.decaturcivicchorus.org.
Christmas is only one of the occasions when this musical group performs.
In addition to performing in Decatur and around the Southeast, the group has, under the direction of Mary Anne Sharp, appeared around the world.
The singers have performed in Wales, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, England, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico.
The Decatur Civic Chorus was founded in 1948 by Mark Clarke and Mary Anne’s mother, Mary Lee Sharp, who was also the group’s accompanist for eleven years.
Mary Anne Sharp became assistant director of the chorus in 1958, and took over as director in 1963.
As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Sharp was a teacher with the Atlanta Public Schools for 30-plus years, wrote and directed a number of musicals based on classic children’s stories and directed the DeKalb County Children’s Chorus, now the Young Singers of Callanwolde.
Sharp was also artistic director of the 1993 DeKalb International Choral Festival and was instrumental in bringing British composer and arranger John Rutter to DeKalb County as guest conductor.
She met Rutter in 1985 during a choral workshop in Atlanta sponsored by the Atlanta Choral Guild. She has continued to stay in touch with him, and feature his work in the Decatur Civic Chorus concerts.
At the Monday evening rehearsal, Sharp focused not only on the music, aided by accompanist Betty Baccus, but also on the singers’ stage presence, encouraging them to be enthusiastic and to play to the audience as they will on Sunday.
Currently there are 65 members in the chorus, but Sharp says she’s looking for more singer in all sections, so if you’d like to join in the music, auditions are held twice a year. The next auditions will be held on Jan. 9. For more details, call 770-388-9536.
The Decatur Civic Chorus is a not-for-profit organization supported by sponsors, patrons, and the general public.