St. Patrick's Chorale
St. Patrick's Chorale
by Jennifer LB Leese
The St. Patrick's Chorale is a 501(c) corporation that operates solely from donations and from an annual Patron Drive. The group was named for its very first composition, "The St. Patrick's Mass" by Philip Green--performed on March 23, 1997 as an "unnamed" chorus. The group was comprised of ordinary people, many of whom sing voluntarily in other organizational choirs. The initial Chorale, numbering about thirty-five, were mostly personal friends of the director, Sandra Shirey. Today, the number has grown to approximately fifty people. They are now a significant part of the Hagerstown community.
Their second performance was a concert of favorite Sacred Choral Anthems performed on May 17, 1998. According to Bonnie Stull, Publicity Chairman for the St. Patrick's Chorale, they were officially known as the St. Patrick's Chorale. On June 12, 1999, the Chorale performed the St. Patrick's Mass at Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, VA, a trip financed by donations and three fund-raisers. At that time, an orchestra was added to enhance their presentations, the cost of which was paid from free will offerings and collections from the Chorale members. On April 16, 2000, a Sacred Easter Program was presented entitled "He Shall Arise" with a sixteen-piece orchestra accompaniment. This was followed by a Christmas presentation on December 17, 2000, "A Magnificent Season" accompanied by a small chamber ensemble.
From the beginning, Christ's Reformed Church, United Church of Christ, Hagerstown, MD supported the Chorale's concerts financially through its music budget. Shortly thereafter, the chorale applied for non-profit status with the IRS. This was granted and since that time they have functioned as a non-profit organization.
From that time on, the St. Patrick's Chorale performed presentation after presentation throughout our area. Often the Chorale performs with children's choruses and the inclusion of narration and dramatization to enhance their music. More than not, the Chorale members sing memorable, patriotic pieces such at "The Home of the Brave", a patriotic community celebration, Veteran's Day at the Maryland Theatre as a fund-raiser for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and "Celebrating the Dreams of America", a tribute to the resiliency of this country from its discovery through the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Their newest program is the Memorial Day concert, "Songs for the Face of Honor," set for May 28 at 7PM at the Maryland Theatre. The presentation focuses on veterans of the Vietnam War, patriotic songs, and songs of the 1960s and 70s. The Children's Chorus and Concert Band will join the group.
"Our goal is to provide quality seasonal music that is affordable to all and can be enjoyed by all residents of our community. To this end, no admission is charged."
The St. Patrick's Chorale, now in its 8th year, takes pride in presenting two concerts a year. The Chorale group is comprised of volunteer and non-professional musicians from the Hagerstown/Washington County community and beyond. No admission is charged. Their goal is to provide quality seasonal music that is affordable to all and can be enjoyed by all residents of the community.
If you're interested in showing your support for the St. Patrick's Chorale by helping them bring quality seasonal music to the Hagerstown community, then become a Sponsoring Patron. For status and a printable form visit: http://www.stpatrickschorale.org/patrons.html
For further information, please contact Bonnie Stull, 19613 Blossom Lane, Hagerstown, MD 21742 (301-739-1100 or 301-739-8193) Or contact Sandra R. Shirey, 20108 Cherry Hill Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21743 (301-790-0014).