West Georgia Choral Arts Festival being held Saturday

Published 9:10 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

About 250 singers will raise their voices together on stage this weekend at the third annual West Georgia Choral Arts Festival.

The annual concert features a variety of local choral ensembles and one of the largest choral performances in the region. This year the LaGrange College Chamber Choir, Phi Mu Alpha Men’s Chorus from Columbus State University, Faithful Hearts Women’s Ensemble, the LaFayette Christian School Chorus, Masterworks Chorale of Newnan, Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus and the Choral Society of West Georgia will perform first in groups then all together at Callaway Auditorium at LaGrange College on Saturday.

“We tried to go within the West Georgia area and invite choirs that have not had the opportunity to perform with the festival before,” said Bettie Biggs, director of the Choral Society of West Georgia. “We’ve got several new choirs, and we are excited about that.”

Biggs was also excited about the returning choral performers at this year’s festival, including Voices of the Valley, which is led by this year’s guest director.

“My children’s choir has been in the festival since its inception, and so this year it is really cool that I get to stand up in front of all of them and conduct,” said Dr. Michelle Herring-Folta, assistant professor of music education at Columbus State University and guest director. “It is one of my favorite things to do.”

The concert will focus on community and coming together, and the variety of voices and musical styles will only serve to underscore that message.

“I’m thrilled that we have had a great response not only from the choirs, but from the community, and I hope the community will come out and support all of these wonderful singers,” Biggs said. “The initial concept of this was to feature singers from 8 to 81 in the area, and show the power of choral music. We have so many different choirs in the area, but they rarely if ever sing together.”

Herring-Folta said that some of the featured songs will talk about coming together as a community despite differences.

“I thought it was really important that we have that message, especially since there is so much division in our society right now,” Herring-Folta said.

“It is talking about how we are very alike in many ways. Music is one way that we can show that.”

While many local concerts have a small fee, this concert is free to the community.

“This is part of our outreach statement to the community,” Biggs said. “The concert is free and open to the public, so there is no ticket cost. Just please come and support these wonderful singers, musicians. We’ll have everything from classical works to gospel to swing. It’ll be a great experience with a lot of contrast and a lot of variation in the musical offerings.”

LaGrange College and the Choral Society of West Georgia partnered to make the concert possible, and the show will be free and open to the public. The West Georgia Choral Arts Festival will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Callaway Auditorium at LaGrange College.