The nineteenth season for the Greenwood Festival Chorale will again take you to Broadway for a taste of the hits we all have heard and enjoyed for years. It will be a night of celebration and fun. The Greenwood Festival Chorale was founded in 1999 using as a part of its name “Festival” after being asked to become a regular part of the music for the annual Greenwood Flower Festival celebrations. For 18 years, the Chorale has been a sanctioned event of the Flower Festival. For almost two decades the Chorale has contributed a program of music as a featured part of the Festival activities. This year, “Classic Broadway” will be presented as a favorite subject reprising a popular topic from the first year of our founding. The very First Festival Chorale Concert in 1999 was “A Rodgers & Hammerstein Evening” on June 8, also at the Lander University Auditorium. It was only appropriate we go back to Broadway to help the community celebrate the Festival’s “50th Anniversary” year again in Lander University’s Cultural Center Auditorium.
We are saddened to report that our leader for the past three seasons has announced that he will be stepping down as Artistic Director and Conductor. Dr. Marion Smith, PhD has been an inspiration to the community with his selections of beautiful and uplifting choral music. He took the quality and expectations of the Chorale to new highs and was an inspiration to the singers and the community. The “Requiem for the Living” by Dan Forrest, presented with a full orchestra and Bob Glick at the organ, this spring was highly praised as the best yet many community regulars had heard from the Chorale. A “Festiva!” member-sponsored cultural program grant raised a record amount of contributions to stage this high quality “free concert” for the community at the First Presbyterian Church earlier this year.
Dr. Smith took this non-auditioned group of 70 community singers adding the highly gifted and creative (45) Greenwood Eagle High School Singers for a challenging full orchestra experience. This powerful requiem, patterned after the famous composers of 18th century, was created by Dan Forrest, a contemporary composer with local connections. Gina Jolly, Director of the “Eagle Singers” who have numerous national and state recognition and awards worked with Dr. Smith and assisted in directing to create this special musical gift to the community. It was an inspiration to all who participated and attended.
Dr. Smith will be greatly missed by the Chorale singers and the community. This, his second retirement is supported by all. We wish him a great and fulfilling retirement in the Greenwood Community and hope he will continue to contribute his talents in the community as time permits. He just needs some time to travel and check out some “bucket-list” wishes for his remaining retirement days.
Chorale member Steve Skinner, Director of Music Ministries at the Greenwood First Presbyterian Church, has agreed to create and direct the Chorale’s Christmas concert in early December. A search by the Chorale Board will begin in September to select a permanent Artistic Director and Conductor. Rehearsals for the Christmas Concert will begin in late September. All who enjoy singing are invited to participate. Check here for more information.