Local music director “retires” from Choral Society of West Georgia

Published 9:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

From humble beginnings to her title as the musical director of the Choral Society of West Georgia for Elizabeth “Bettie” Biggs the love of music and singing all started in high school.

In school, she got the opportunity to perform famous choral pieces like “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure, “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi and “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff.

“When I had that experience, I came out of it going ‘Gee, I think this is what I have to do this the rest of my life,’” Biggs said.

Fast forward to adulthood, Biggs would find herself in college majoring and graduating with her undergraduate degree in vocal performance at Converse College School of Music, until she segued to majoring in music education and choral studies in graduate school at Columbus State University.

Biggs has built a musical career spanning 26 years. During her career, she has taught music at all grades levels in Troup County and has even taught music as a director at West Georgia Technical College and LaGrange College.

“I’ve had such a huge spectrum of choral experience dealing with all different ages, all different voice types, all different types of music, all different types of programming,” Biggs said. “I think that’s what has helped me be creative in the way that I program the choir.”

For almost 18 years, Biggs has been the artistic director of the Choral Society of West Georgia — a choir she created in 2006 after wanting to spread her wings after her teacher, Dr. William Bullock, handed down the reins to the LaFayette Chorale.

Biggs recently announced that she will be retiring from the position of musical director and stepping into a new position as the choir’s artistic director. Assistant Director Andrew Harry will be taking the reins from Biggs.

Biggs said the decision to retire was a tough one but one that she has made peace with.

“I am confident that this organization will continue to offer singers the opportunity to make wonderful music,” Biggs said. “I am proud to pass the baton to Andrew and am fully committed to the future of the organization and all that it represents. I look forward with love and excitement as we begin this newest chapter of the Choral Society of West Georgia.”

The upcoming concert, “We Gather Together: A Choral Celebration of the Past the Present and the Future” on the Nov. 20 will be her last as the musical director. After that, Harry will take take over starting Jan. 2023.

Biggs said this concert, which is designed in three parts, will be like a homecoming for her and those involved. It will also involve a few old faces that have participated in the concert in the past.

“This choir experience for me has been life-changing,” Biggs said. “They give to me tenfold over what I can possibly give to them. The power of singing together, lifted together in harmony —there has been nothing else like it in the world.”