The U.S. Army Chorus came to town Friday evening and as their poster proclaimed, it was a time to “come feel good about the flag!” An overflow crowd of more than one thousand filled pews, the balcony and dozens of folding chairs set in the aisle in the sanctuary of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.
The 20-member group was directed by Capt. Scott McKenzie and accompanied on the piano by Master Sgt. Joseph Holt. The chorus was cheered after every composition and enjoyed multiple standing ovations.
The 90-minute program included sacred pieces, patriotic songs, a medley by Irving Berlin, Broadway tunes, a solo, “Bring him Home” from “Les Miz,” and a special piano performance by Master Sgt. Holt, the “Warsaw Concerto.”
The audience included chorus alumni Carey Cannon (director of Music at Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte) and Eric Simpson (director of Choral Music at Hopewell High School), who came forward to sing the final numbers and two encores.
Mr. Cannon, who sang with the chorus for four years, married a Davidson graduate (Class of 1999) a few ago and many of the group sang at his wedding. Now that Mr. Cannon lives in Charlotte, it was a natural fit to have the chorus visit Providence Baptist Church three years ago. A group from DCPC attended that concert and insisted the chorus sing in Davidson next time they were in town.
The master of ceremonies for the group, Bob McDonald, graduated from Garinger High School and spent many summers at music camp in Brevard. He spoke about how much the group enjoyed the southern hospitality including a dinner when they arrived last Wednesday, time on Lake Norman fishing and staying in private homes.
Other members of the group with local ties were baritone Alex Helsabeck from Winston-Salem, bass Kristopher Armstrong from Mt. Holly and bass Kerry Wilkerson from Huntersville.
Established in 1956, The U.S. Army Chorus is the vocal counterpart of The U.S. Army Band and is one of the nation’s only professional all male choruses. Most of the members hold advanced degrees in music and must audition for spots on the roster. The group is based at Ft. Myers in Washington, D.C. and performs frequently at the White House.
As chorus members receive 30 days’ paid vacation annually, they appear often on Broadway stages, opera productions or benefit events.
Following the concert, DCPC hosted an ice cream social on the patio in front of the sanctuary. Chorus members mingled with the appreciative audience over DeLuxe ice cream scooped by members of the Fellowship Committee, chaired by Tim Stroud and Susan Abbott. Thanks to Carey Cannon and his in-laws, DCPC members Chris and Todd Duncan, who were instrumental in bringing this fine program to Davidson. Also special thanks to DCPC for hosting the event.