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Choral society to present 'portrait of America'

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The Tarboro Choral Society will present 'A Portrait of America in Song and Poetry' at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church.

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From Contributed Reports

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Tarboro Choral Society will join forces with two of Edgecombe County’s outstanding performers in presenting “A Portrait of America in Song and Poetry” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Concert music will portray life in America from its rich heritage of songs and spirituals. In addition, selections from three outstanding American composers — Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Randall Thompson will complete the program.

During Aaron Copland’s life, he became enamored with the culture of the Midwest resulting in some of his most notable works: “Billy the Kid,” “Rodeo” and “Appalachian Spring.” The choir will perform “The Promise of Living” from Copland’s “Tenderland Suite,” an opera which tells of a farm family in the Midwest.

Another special feature of the concert will be selections from “Frostiana: Seven Country Songs” written by Randall Thompson, following a request from the town of Amherst, Mass., for a commissioned work commemorating its bicentennial in 1959. Thompson chose to write a work that featured the poems of Amherst’s famous citizen, Robert Frost. The poet chose seven poems from his vast repertoire to be included in this set. The Tarboro Choral Society will perform four selections including “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken.”

Since the poetry of Robert Frost is itself so musical, rhythmic and picturesque, Tarboro’s local professional, Dirk Lumbard, will read other selections interspersed among the songs.

Another area native and outstanding performer, Anderson Ferrell, will introduce the concert and its theme by reading the beautiful Walt Whitman poem, “I Hear America Singing.”

The idea of combining poetry and song will create an evening of pleasure and enjoyment for the entire family. Tarboro is so fortunate to have the talents of Lumbard and Ferrell and the wonderful voices of the Choral Society for this event.

The Tarboro Choral Society was formed in 2018 by Dr. Nettie Jean Williams, a former teacher at West Edgecombe School and choir director at Calvary Episcopal Church. She received her doctorate in conducting from the University of Oklahoma.

She remained in Oklahoma where she married John Williams and then founded and conducted the Tarboro Oklahoma Master Chorale and Orchestra, which she conducted for 25 years. She returned to Tarboro in the fall of 2015, following the death of her husband, John. In addition to conducting the Tarboro Choral Society, she is director of the 4-year-old to second-grade Little Angels Choir at Calvary Episcopal Church.

Williams is thrilled with the many talented singers in Tarboro and Edgecombe County and welcomes the public to the concert at Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church at 303 E. St. James St.

The concert is free to the public. Donations may be made at the door.

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