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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Community Choir: singing a new tune

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sikeston Community Choir members practice at the Senior High School Band Shell.
SIKESTON -- It will be a mixture of old voices and new ones as a new community choir takes stage next month in Sikeston.

Comprised of around 40 singers representing about five area churches, the Christmas Choral Concert Choir will make its debut from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2 at the First United Methodist Church in Sikeston.

"There will be solos all the way through, and it's a lot of fun," said choir director Sharron Lathum. "I think everyone will really enjoy it."

Musicians will be: Elizabeth Heeb and Ryan Fox, violin; Katelyn Dannenmueller and Kali Brooke, flute; Darren Shipman, trumpet and french horn; and Ed Cowan, oboe. Betty Garner will serve as accompanist. Harold Myrick will play keyboard, and Mike Parker will play percussion. Parker will also lead the hand bell choir.

"Five songs will be performed in both the first and second halves. The ladies will sing 'Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,'and the men will sing 'What Child Is This,'" Lathum said.

Michael Parker, a member of the Sikeston Community Choir, plays the chimes.
Performing during intermission will be former Sikeston resident Neal Boyd, who has sang at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. Joining him will be harpist Lacey Lee of Springfield.

"Sharron has picked music that she thought we could learn quickly and blend well, and it hasn't been so hard so we've enjoyed it," said choir member Connie Thompson.

Thompson said she thinks those who attend will enjoy what they hear. She also said it will be a great event to involve the whole family.

"I feel it's an asset to the community, and the people in the community I've visited with said they were glad we were having something this year," Thompson said.

Lathum, who serves as the minister of music at First Christian Church in Sikeston, said the idea for the new choir group came in September after some discussion with fellow musicians. She then met with Thompson, Brenda Hale and Larry Bohannon, who helped her form the committee to put the choir together.

"We invited people to participate and if they were interested, they called," Lathum said. "So basically, they were chosen to be in the choir."

The Sikeston Community Choir formed in December 1959 by the late Gordon Beaver and lasted over 40 years.

Both Lathum and Thompson were members of the community choir and were quick to point out the new choir is not the same as the previous community choir.

"I knew Gordon Beaver and that was his choir. We wanted to start something different," Lathum said.

The new choir has been practicing at the band shell on the Sikeston High School campus since September.

"A lot of the people were people that have been in my choirs in the past. We just tried to have a nice group of great voices and that's what have," Lathum said.

Thompson hopes the new choir becomes another tradition like the one Beaver initiated years ago.

"For me, personally, it helps get me into the Christmas spirit," Thompson said about performing in the choir. "I haven't put a (Christmas) tree up for four or five years, and this year, I am purchasing a tree and putting it up."

Singing Christmas carols every Thursday since Labor Day makes you get in the Christmas spirit, Thompson said, adding she hopes the concert will put other residents in the holiday mood.

"I hope when they come, they will feel the Christmas spirit and the love we have," Thompson said. "It's like our gift back to the community."