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Monday, July 28, 2014

Concert choir treats community to songs

Thursday, December 11, 2008

(Photo)
Sharron Lathum, director and organizer of the Christmas Concert Choir, leads the group of individuals in a recent practice. The concert will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church.
(Photo by Michelle Felter, Staff)
SIKESTON --With all the hustle and bustle this time of year, it's difficult to take a moment to relax and take in the moment. But that's just what members of the Christmas Concert Choir want people to do on Sunday.

And they promise no one will be disappointed.

"People will be glad they came," said Garry Warner, a choir member. "It will be a highlight of their pre-Christmas activities."

The concert, in it's second year since the tradition was revived, is directed and organized by Sharron Lathum. "Several of us who had been involved in the community choir thought it would be a good idea to do it," she said. "And it was very well received last year."

Forty adults representing different churches from the Sikeston area were invited to be a part of the choir.

"It's made up of some of the very, very best singers in Sikeston," said Lathum. "They all have beautiful voices."

Also participating are children, who will be part of the "Holiday Favorite Melody" to culminate the performance.

About 20 songs will be sung during the two-hour performance.

"Sharron's put together a program that is really going to touch virtually everyone," said Warner. "There are patriotic songs, inspirational songs and a great Christmas finish."

Fellow choir member Connie Thompson agreed. "We have a lot of light music and they will enjoy it. It does appeal to all ages," she said. "It just makes you want to sit there and bounce."

Thompson noted there is much variety in the voices, too.

"As a choral director, Sharron will use all voices and give everybody a part," said Thompson.

There will also be several solos and a bell choir. In addition to the singers, harpist Lacey Lee of Springfield, who played last year, will be involved. Steve Gillespie will play the bass guitar and Mike Parker will play the drums, Lathum added.

And there will be a special treat during the intermission. The '40's song "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" will be performed by the women, while images of the 1140th Charlie Company arriving at the Armory play in a slide presentation. Then, the men will sing "16 Tons," a song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford and also written in that era, said Lathum.

Those in attendance can also take some of the melodies home with them. A CD recorded at one of the practices will be available, due to requests following last year's concert, said Lathum.

And the performance requires a big commitment from all involved. It has been in the works for several months and practices began in September, said Lathum.

"It's a lot of work at a busy time of year," said Lathum, who is also the minister of music at First Christian Church. "But I have a lot of help. And we had a lot of community support last year."

Thompson agreed, and said she and others are often tired at practice from work or other daily events.

"But when you leave, you leave light-hearted and you feel good. It helps relieve stress," she said. "It's very tiring while you're going, but it's all worth it when you see people smiling in the audience or mouthing along. You think 'They like it.'"

Warner agreed. "It's just a really great feeling to come together, share outstanding music and give back to the community," he said. "It's great to see all those people just responding to a great musical message."

If you go

What: Christmas Concert Choir

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: First United Methodist Church, 1307 N. Main St.

All are invited to attend