Two Anglican churches will sing two collective salutes for current and past service personnel, and help a local charity on the weekend before Veterans Day.
Through “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” this concert collaboration of choirs from Trinity Church and Church of the Resurrection, with some members from the Carolina Master Chorale, proceeds will go to the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center in Little River.
The performances showcase American folk hymns, with this suggested donation for each: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors:
• 7 p.m. Friday at Trinity Church, 3000 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach.
• 4 p.m. Saturday at Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 17 Bypass, west of Surfside Beach, between Glenns Bay Road and Garden City Connector.
The respective church choir directors teaming up for this benefit, Ashley Sosis and Karen Kearney, both reflected on the magnitude of the music chosen and the overall cause of awareness about veterans’ concerns.
Sosis also seized on the Welcome Home and Resource Center’s mission statement, which includes a pledge to “tap into every resource available to help veterans transition back into civilian life” and “raise public awareness to the unique problems of our veterans.”
Question | How did this partnership to help veterans come about, through your voices?
Sosis | Last year, we had a benefit for Street Reach Ministries, which serves Horry County, and that concert was so successful that we decided to set out to benefit a different charity, and since looking at a November concert date, what better time than this for thanking American veterans?
Kearney | Both of us have small church choirs, and we have a vast library with works that require just a bit more people than we each can do on our own. For Sunday mornings, we go on the smaller side of our libraries, but there are these wonderful, complex things just begging to be sung. We found each other, and that gives our choirs a chance to explore. … It’s a big leap for those who are just learning the music, but for us, it’s saying something that is really fun.
Q | Selecting the music, how much joy has the process given each of you as musicians and coordinators for this event?
Sosis | It’s a nice balance. … We’re including works by Aaron Copland, Alice Parker and Virgil Thompson — those are all really heavy hitters. … It’s a very musical process because the process continues with a series of rehearsals … so as we work through the music, our understanding and enjoyment of the music become deeper and more enhanced.
Kearney | We went one way and then another way. Finally, we got the idea of Americana, and then some ideas started coming together. … The other thing is that both Ashley and I serve in … that one person is hired to be the organist and choirmaster, so we can direct with just our eyebrows and foreheads seen on the other side of the organ. … When we direct like this for this concert program, we get to build our own conditioning.
Sosis | We also will include a piece on the program where Karen and I will be singing together.
Q | What folk hymns are the most “American” to people’s ears?
Sosis | “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” and … “What Wondrous Love Is This?” however, the arrangement we’re singing is quite different from something we would recognize from Holy Week of the church year. … Many … we’re doing come from shape-note hymnal singing.
Kearney | “I Will Arise and Go to Jesus”: That kind of is an example of the genre we have. A lot of these are full of vigor, and there are several that are rugged … you can hear it in the southern music style itself. … Some churches still sing from shape-note hymnals. A wonderful website for an umbrella organization is www.fasola.org.
Q | Does the setting, and each church venue, give a different sound to a song?
Kearney | Oh, yes; the singers hear them differently. The very dimensions of the buildings accept and bounce that sound around differently. For a real discerning ear, that will change things a little bit. Sometimes, it will change your tempo a little bit, the acoustic setting.
Sosis | I like holding concerts in both locations because they’re so different. There’s a clarity and crispness at Church of the Resurrection. At Trinity, it can be cacophonous — you can be completely washed over with sounds.
Q | How does the teamwork also carry over into the apple cobbler reception after each concert?
Kearney | My church has some parishioners coming in to help. We determined that we need 50 pounds of apples; that’s more than one person wants to peel in one day.
Sosis | I feel that church food is some of the best food.
Kearney | It’s a good reminder of everything we do.