Anniversary concert is this weekend
On March 30, at 3 p.m., Newnan’s Masterworks Chorale marks 10 years of excellence with “A Celebration of Music and Community” at the Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts. The highlight of the concert will be a classical work, Franz Schubert’s “Mass in G.” Guest artists Emily Budd and Greg Hucks will sing the soprano and baritone solos while Masterworks’ own L.C. Lane will perform the tenor solos.
The other concert selections, both classical and modern, celebrate and praise the art of music itself: George Frideric Handel’s “Your Voices Tune;” “Sing Me to Heaven,” by Daniel Gawthrop; “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing,” by Ralph Vaughn Williams; Joseph Martin’s “Come to the Music;” and more.
In the spring of 2004, under Don Nixon’s direction, Coweta County’s Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts opened, and Newnan rejoiced. However, unknown to Newnan, Kathy Bizarth, then director of music at Newnan High School, had been working with Nixon behind the scenes to organize a community chorus. Masterworks Chorale performed at the Centre’s grand opening.
Several people who sang at that ceremony still sing with Masterworks today.
Denise Meacham, who teaches music at Smokey Road Middle School, recalls, “For the whole year that the Centre was being constructed, we looked forward to a grand opening in the spring. The huge event was televised by the local cable TV system and featured performers of all kinds, many from the Coweta County schools: musical groups, singers, dance groups. Masterworks Chorale was the last group to perform.”
“I think one reason the choir was developed was to be a kind of anchor for the concerts,” said Terrie Wells, also a Coweta County school music educator.
“The Centre being there is a wonderful thing for all of us to have for our students, and Masterworks is inspiring for the students who go to hear it. And a lot of them perform with us as singers and instrumentalists.”
Ten years ago, Mick and Bonnie Maguire were newcomers to the Newnan area. “I’d just come back from the Air Force,” said Mick. “We didn’t know anybody here. Bonnie had sung in her university chorus, but I’m not musically trained. We were very impressed with the direction and leadership Kathy gave us.”
“I’m not a music teacher, although I am musically trained,” said Dee Nixon. “Not since I was in college have I sung in an almost professional group. The massive, wonderful sound of it was therapeutic for me. I was doing a lot of caregiving at the time, and it held me in place and gave me somewhere to go. And I don’t mean physically go, but emotionally and spiritually. Kathy seems to pull out of us a lot more than we think we have.”
“And we don’t get any Novocain!” quipped Maguire.
“I think one of the unique things about this group is that year after year, it’s never exactly the same group,” said Meacham. “Some people are here, and then they have a season where they can’t participate. People move into and out of the area. But it doesn’t affect the success of the group.”
“I take a lot of what we do here back to my students, and I put it on a middle school level,” Meacham added. “And elementary teachers do the same. Everybody in the chorus, at whatever level of musicianship they’re at, comes out with more knowledge.”
Emily Budd is a singer, actor, and teacher with over 10 years of professional performing and teaching experience. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Valdosta State University and a Master of Music from Georgia State University. She has entertained audiences in improv comedy, theatre, and opera. A Georgia native, she has returned to the South after touring Italy and living and performing in New York City. Today she is a teaching artist inspiring children and adults alike.
Greg Hucks is the Director of Choruses at the Atlanta International School. He is a 1990 graduate of Newnan High School and a graduate of Jacksonville State University, receiving a Bachelor of Choral/Vocal Music Education degree in 1995. He is in his seventh season as the Young Men’s Choir Instructor with the Atlanta Young Singers Youth Chorale; a long-standing member of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus; and an active member of National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
L. C. Lane is a native of Columbus, Ga., and a graduate of Columbus State University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For 30 years, Lane. served on the staff of local churches in Georgia and Kentucky. His last position was at the First Baptist Church of Newnan, Georgia, where he was Minister of Music for 23 years. Lane has sung in churches and other venues throughout the United States as well as at events in Africa, Europe, Canada, and Central and South America. He has released five recordings.
As part of their 10th anniversary celebration, Masterworks is offering a special ticket pricing of “$10 for 10:” just $10 for a ticket to any 10th anniversary concert, with the exception of student tickets, which will remain at $5.