Ohio Valley Chorale starting rehearsals Monday

A SPRING SUCCESS — The Ohio Valley Chorale performed its spring concert to a packed house at First Westminster Presbyterian Church and will resume rehearsals Monday, beginning at 7 p.m. at the church in preparation for its next event — a Christmas concert on Dec. 9. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — The Ohio Valley Chorale will be starting rehearsals next week in preparation for its Christmas concert in December.

And there’s plenty of opportunity for more singers to come on board and participate in the local community choir.

Rehearsals will resume at 7 p.m. on Monday at First Westminster Presbyterian Church, 235 N. Fourth St., Steubenville.

“We are thrilled to be back in the former home of the Civic Choral Society,” said Amanda J. Abrams, vice president and community relations director. The choir was founded in early 2017 by Abrams; Robb Townsend, president; and Erik R. Waugh, artistic director/conductor.

The trio envisioned a desire for the formation of a community choral group after the former Civic Choral Society led by Stephen Spurlock dissolved in 2012. “All of our concerts so far have been at First Westminster, and the concert in December will be also,” Abrams explained.

In the meantime, though, rehearsals will be held there every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“As in the past, the only cost to members of the Ohio Valley Chorale is for their music and is $20,” Abrams said. “The group remains open to anyone who would like to sing, and no audition to join is required. An ability to read music is recommended, and we welcome all ages from 15 on up. We currently have members from age 15 to at least age 90 and just about every age in between. We are looking forward to welcoming both new and returning members, and everyone is welcome,” she said.

The Christmas concert will be held Dec. 9 at First Westminster, beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public, but a love offering and donations will be collected to cover the cost of a full professional orchestra. The program will consist of Christmas music, including a few favorite Christmas carols, according to Abrams.

Main pieces will include “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” by Ralph Vaughan Williams; “Christmas Day” by Gustav Holst; and “Arise, Shine” by Dan Forrest. There also will be a number of other Christmas favorites featuring the chorale accompanied by the orchestra.

Donations toward the cost of the Christmas concert are being accepted. “We will be accompanied by a full orchestra just as with our first 2017 spring concert,” Abrams noted. “We are expecting some additional singers from George Melhorn’s choir students at the Franciscan University of Steubenville who will join us for the program.”

Checks may be made payable to the Ohio Valley Chorale and mailed to 631 Canton Road, Wintersville, OH 43953.

Waugh noted that one of his favorite things about the chorale is its commitment to making everyone feel welcome and accepted. “The members collectively represent a variety of not just ages, but music experience levels, faith backgrounds, students, professionals, retirees and more,” Waugh said.

“As a separate event, we also plan for members of our Ohio Valley Chorale to collaborate again this year with the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, under the direction of George Melhorn,” Abrams said. The performance will be held at 3 p.m. on Dec. 16 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Steubenville.

Abrams said 75 area singers performed in the spring concert. “We also had a huge turnout in the audience for our third concert and are so thrilled and humbled with the reception of the community.”