Oneonta Girls’ Chorus will sing again Thursday




Ten of the women preparing for the first Oneonta Girls' Chorus concert gather before one of their Monday night practices at Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. Pictured are Emily Tish, seated, and (standing, from left) Jo Ann Shea, Carol Hanson, Celia Ellis, Becky Meigs, Joan Ledford, Martha Butler, Jan Bess, Beverly Ellis and Frances Barnett.

Ten of the women preparing for the first Oneonta Girls’ Chorus concert gather before one of their Monday night practices at Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. Pictured are Emily Tish, seated, and (standing, from left) Jo Ann Shea, Carol Hanson, Celia Ellis, Becky Meigs, Joan Ledford, Martha Butler, Jan Bess, Beverly Ellis and Frances Barnett.

Many memories will be stirred again tomorrow (Thursday) when the Worthwhile Club presents former members of Oneonta Girls’ Chorus in concert in the sanctuary of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. Club members and singers invite the public to be their guests.

Some 15 former members, some having sung in the ’50s and ’60s, will sing in the reunion concert, their second. The first one, in May, fell on a day of threatening weather that discouraged attendance. Those who missed it have a second chance, and those who enjoyed the first can hear them sing again.

Former chorus members Celia Ellis and Jan Bess came up with the idea of the concert. Josephine Sellers Rouse, founding director, soon came aboard. Rouse, who will accompany the singers, is a retired music professor at Morrisville (New York) State University and now organist for Oneonta’s Calvary Episcopal Congregation.

Beverly Ellis, music director of Lester Memorial and longtime Oneonta teacher, will direct.

Rouse recalls that the chorus had its origin at Oneonta High School whose clubs were instructed to provide programs for school assemblies. Already an accomplished musician, Rouse took the logical route to a program – music. She asked a number of girls if they would like to take part. Of course. And so they sang and were invited to sing elsewhere; Oneonta Girls’ Chorus was born and sang and sang until it was disbanded.

In coming together for the concerts, former members have renewed old acquaintances, relished almost forgotten memories, and recalled the things they’ve loved about Oneonta.

Planning to sing and freshen their audience’s memories are Anne Reeves Allen, Frances Huggins Barnett, Jan Self Bess, Marcia Hurst Butler, Beverly Brittain Ellis, Celia Cheney Ellis, Glenda Gargus, Carol Smith Hanson, Anna Johnson, Joann McDaniel Ledford, Terri Bentley Lowry, Becky Hunt Meigs, Marilyn Hudson Reid, Jo Ann Purdy Shea, and Amanda Horn White.