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Civic chorus set for spring concert
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
May 09, 2012 01:42 PM | 866 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Samantha M. Shal
From left, Dawn Thomas of Atlanta, who has been a member of the Decatur Civic Chorus for 37 years, and Mary Jane Horsburgh of Atlanta, a member for 42 years, look over a piece of music with Mary Anne Sharp, originally of Decatur, who has been the choral director for 50 years.
Samantha M. Shal From left, Dawn Thomas of Atlanta, who has been a member of the Decatur Civic Chorus for 37 years, and Mary Jane Horsburgh of Atlanta, a member for 42 years, look over a piece of music with Mary Anne Sharp, originally of Decatur, who has been the choral director for 50 years.
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For Mary Anne Sharp, these Decatur Civic Chorus springtime concerts never get old.

Sharp, who has served as the group’s choral director for the past 50-plus years, even acknowledges that she still gets butterflies right before show time.

“I try to treat each concert as if it were my first one,” she said.

Sharp and company are gearing up for their free 64th annual spring concert at First Baptist Church of Decatur May 20.

The group is slated to perform “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure, selections from Broadway staple “Les Miserables” and patriotic fare comprising “A Salute to the U.S.A.” As proof of the Decatur Civic Chorus’ talent-before-age ethos, 8-year-old songstress Audrey Kirby will take the stage as a featured performer.

Sharp has been a member of the chorus for a grand total of 62 years, taking over as director for the only other person to hold that title, Mary Clark, more than a half century ago.

“The reason I keep coming back season after season is my total commitment to choral music,” said Sharp. “It is a powerful force that changes the lives of not only the singers but the audience who comes to listen.”

The chorus, while based in DeKalb County, is made up of songbirds hailing from eight metro Atlanta counties. The 70-member unit is well-traveled, having performed throughout the country, across Europe and in Mexico. Its list of world renowned venues played includes the likes of Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Regarding the May 20 show at First Baptist Church of Decatur, look for Sharp to stick to her day-of routine.

She will spend the day going over each piece of music. Afterward, Sharp sinks to her knees to pray that “I will be the best that I can be” in conducting the concert. In her estimation, the show itself is not a tough sell.

“I think the variety of what we do is different from most choral concerts,” she said. “There’s something different for everybody — from classical music all the way up to Broadway.”

Information: (770) 388-9536 or www.decaturcivicchorus.org.

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