Festival Choir celebrates annual concert

Joedy McCreary

May 6, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The 29th annual Festival Choir concert service took place Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5, at Ironton First United Methodist Church, and Sunday at Cornerstone United Methodist Church. The 52-member choir ushered in melodious sounds for the community to enjoy.

The theme for this year’s concert was “Songs For a Life Life With Jesus.”

Gail Thornton serves as the choir director, has been a part of the Scioto County Festival Choir concert since it’s inception, and said Dr. Wayne Young is the originator of the choir.

“Dr. Wayne Young, who is the minister at Ironton First United Methodist Church, he and his wife were the original founders of the group. Dr. Young was an physician here in the Portsmouth area, but he was also an ordained minister,” Thornton said.

Thornton said Young saw the concert as a chance for smaller churches to enjoy music on a larger scale.

“A lot of the smaller churches did not have the opportunity to sing the large arrangements of music, and for large groups,” Thornton said.

From there, Thornton said Young had the idea of Scioto County Festival Choir. Thornton said the choir is a non-denominational, ecumenical effort of which everyone may participate.

“There are people from several different denominations that are represented, and from different places,” Thornton said.

She also said some participants come from the Ironton area.

According to Thornton, the music was a combination of gospel and more of the traditional/contemporary gospel music. The choir rendered a total of 11 selections, including a “Majesty Melody” for the call to worship, and “Only God” for the benediction choral response.

Dan Ross was the accompanist and is also one of the original members of the group. Three soloists were a part of the concert, Dr. Rhoni Maxwell-Rader, Tony Sturgeon and Jerry Moore.

An offering was collected during the service, which will be allocated for programs that support hunger throughout the local area.

Thorton said being a part of the Festival Choir has been a great experience.

“It has been a wonderful journey, we have had a wonderful time,” Thornton said.

Thornton said she is looking forward to next year’s event, and welcomes everyone who desires to participate.

“The only requirements that we have for singing in the choir is that you love the Lord, and love to sing,” Thornton said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @ PortiaWillPDT.