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Chorus celebrates nation's aspirations

May 23, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Nancy Newkirk, an elementary school teacher, says she has loved to sing since she was a child. She sings in her church choir, at weddings, and for about five years, with the St. Patrick's Chorale. "It's one of the best experiences that I've ever been involved in," she says. "It's really cool."

St. Patrick's Chorale, a chorus of about 50 voices, will perform a concert, "Celebrating the Dreams of America," Saturday, May 25, 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Sandra Shirey, who directs the chorale, calls the program a patriotic musical montage that honors the history and heroes of the country. Narration and poetry accompanies the musical pieces, says John Stull, president of the chorale.

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Stull, a Hagerstown dentist, enjoys singing with the group - a lot of "just regular people" singing in a professional manner.

Memorial Day is an appropriate time for a concert that makes a point of celebrating the sacrifices of those who fought and died for America.

"It's not just another day off," Shirey says of the holiday.

It's important to see what people have given up so we have what we have today, Stull says.

Newkirk believes that people's appreciation of America was raised by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. "It's a shame that it takes something like that, but it does," she says.

Memories fade over time, Shirey says. People need a shot in the arm, a reminder once in a while so that they'll be aware of and thankful for those who have gone before them.

A 16-piece concert band and 16-member children's chorus also are part of the program.

Donations are welcome, but admission to the concert is free.

"This is our gift to the community," Shirey says.

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