The Bamberg County Chorale will bring its message of joyful Christmas music to the community again this year, with performances at The Oaks, Trinity United Methodist Church in Bamberg, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Orangeburg and Bethel Park United Methodist Church in Denmark.
This year marks almost 30 years of performances for the group, said Laura Hoffman, president of the Apollo Music Club, which sponsors the Chorale.
“Most years we present a medley of popular, secular and church music. This year, we are trying something different,” Hoffman said.
This year the concert will open with lighthearted music followed by a more serious cantata.
Songs like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Please Come Home for Christmas,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Breath of Heaven” will be followed by the “real meat of the program,” a cantata titled “Noel Celebration,” Hoffman said.
People will recognize most of the pieces, she said. They’ll include “What Child Is This,” “Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming” and “Prepare the Way.”
Monologues telling the story of Christ will be given between the pieces of music, Hoffman said.
The Bamberg County Chorale was founded by the late Paul Whitaker, who served as director of the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Glee Club and as choir director at Bamberg’s Trinity United Methodist Church nearly 30 years ago.
His desire was to bring the music experience to Bamberg and surrounding communities, Hoffman said. When he died some eight or nine years ago, his son David took his place.
Elizabeth Woodall, who was with the glee club, too, has been the Chorale's accompanist since the beginning. She is very, very talented, Hoffman said.
“When Paul decided to start the Chorale, he said he’d only do it if she accompanied,” she noted.
The Chorale does two concerts each year, one at Christmas and one in the spring. The spring concert is usually less serious than the Christmas one, Hoffman said.
Members of the Chorale are very dedicated and spend two hours a week from September until Christmas and from January to May preparing for the concerts, she said.
Hoffman, who calls herself the “glue that keeps” the organization together, prints the programs and advertising bulletins. She loves the experience, she said.
“It makes my soul happy,” Hoffman said.
The schedule for this year's Bamberg County Chorale Christmas concerts is as follows: Dec. 13, The Oaks, Orangeburg; Dec. 14, Trinity United Methodist Church, Bamberg; Dec. 15, Bethel Park United Methodist Church, Denmark; and Dec. 17, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Orangeburg.
All concerts begin at 7 p.m. There is no charge, but an offering is taken up at each event to help cover expenses.