Latta Community Singers Performance Was Well Worth The Drive
To The Editor:
Walking up to the church I knew it was going to be a pleasant evening. I felt such a welcoming sense of neighborliness. I heard friendly conversation, introductions and pleasantries as everyone settled into their seats for the performance. Then a respectful expectant silence fell as Cindy LeGette introduced the first song ‘Yankee Doodle’- A dear rebel rousing American folksong. Standing at attention were the Latta Community Singers. To the left, the men dressed in dark pants, white crisp shirts- sporting spiffy patriotic ties.
The ladies to the right in their pretty outfits. Cindy adeptly prompted and directed the accompanist(s) and choir as voices ebbed and crescendoed – taking the emotions of the audience from stalwart pride in being ‘of America’ to evoking sad contemplative throes of despair that must have been felt those years ago by all soldiers.
This performance fell on Flag Day- June 14th- which was officially established on this date back in 1916. Such an appropriate day that meshes with honoring those who serve and have served to protect loved ones and values we hold so dear. I – and I heard others remark later- that they were really moved by the renditions of ‘Tenting Tonight’ and ‘Goin’ Home’.
Several soloists and instrumentalists exhibited their talents during the course of the evening. Gerald Berry – in ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ sang his verses with heartfelt passion- honoring those soldiers that so longed to be safe, to survive and be able to return ‘home’.
‘Bound for the Promised Land’ embraced the talented ‘second pair of hands’ Rosemary McQueen.
In ‘Goin’ Home’ the forlorn strains played by Percy Brigman on the saxophone took you back in time as the voices of soloists Alan Roberts, Mollie Platt and Jerri Turbeville intertwined with those of the choir to ‘paint the scene’ with their voices.
Travis Power lent his trumpet prowess in ‘This Is My Song’.
As Cindy LeGette noted: ‘Light One Candle’ was presented and sung as recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary who were popular back in 1961. This song grew out of one of the reunions and was first presented as part of a Hanukkah Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall in 1982. The song was written, and is sung, for Jews and non-Jews alike. The flame is a historical reminder of an ethical imperative. It burns as a burden, demanding sacrifice and struggle. But it also lights the possibility, the privilege and promise of a better world. We must not let the light go out.
The concert ended with two songs: ‘Distant Land’ (A Prayer for Freedom) and ‘Anthem for the Millennium’(America, My Home) with respectful, reverent, uplifting aplomb.
It was very reassuring to see the mix of voices that make up the choir span not one generation but several. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the talents of both accompanists Susan Johnson and Rosemary McQueen.
The reception that followed was just perfect. A myriad of cheeses, crackers, fruits, finger foods and desserts graced the tables arranged with care and attention to detail. Beverages were served at a separate table by a lovely young lady. All those that contributed are to be commended.
I felt very welcomed, at ease and ‘a part of things’ as I was ‘taken into the fold’.
The performance by the Latta Community Singers at the United Methodist Church in Latta, S.C. on June 14th was well worth the drive from Raleigh, N.C.
Thanks again for a most enjoyable evening !