ON THE RIVER AT 801 SOPHIA STREET IN DOWNTOWN FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA
Web content copyright © 2015 by Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), 801 Sophia Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401
A harmonious camaraderie
Click to listen:
There's Something About That Name (2014 version)
The L. A. Davies Chorale
Singing anthems, spirituals, and more
On every fifth Sunday at Shiloh Old Site, the L.A. Davies Chorale, singing in four-part harmony, provides anthems, spirituals, and more at our 11 a.m. worship service. It also occasionally performs at special programs and events in the community.
Mr. John Easley serves as the chorale's director. Dr. Joan Olson currently serves as its accompanist.
The chorale has an "open door" policy, meaning that anyone who is interested in singing in four-part (or more) harmony is encouraged to become a member. The group rehearses on almost every Tuesday of the year, its members enjoying a rich camaraderie.
A brief history of the chorale
In late 1983, Mrs. Bernice Easley initiated a meeting of selected singers at Shiloh Old Site in order to discuss the feasibility of forming a choir that could provide a different genre of music for Shiloh Old Site's worship services. There was much enthusiasm, and Dr. Gilbert Coleman miraculously found enough time in his extremely hectic schedule to work with the newly formed group.
Shortly thereafter, the late Emory Turner introduced the ensemble to Mr. Russell Maclin, who had relocated to the area after retiring as a music teacher in Connecticut. After sitting in on several rehearsals, Mr. Maclin agreed to become the pianist/director in order to relieve Dr. Coleman, who was also working at the time with the Youth Choir and the Men's Chorus. Dr. Coleman, however, remained a member of the choir in the tenor section.
The group rehearsed weekly for over a year under the stern but effective tutelage of Mr. Maclin, who stressed the proper dynamics of choral singing.
The ensemble's debut at Shiloh Old Site was at the 11 a.m. service on the fifth Sunday of January 1985. During that morning service, the previously unnamed group publicly identified itself as the L.A. Davies Chorale in honor of the congregation's esteemed and deeply respected pastor, Rev. Lawrence A. Davies.
Serving with energy and dedication
By the end of 1985, the choir had expanded to include the following members: Barbara Bates, Jean Dixon-Cox, Lillian Jones, Jerry Taylor, Gilbert Coleman, Bernice Easley, Jackie Maclin, Emory Turner, Craig Conyers, Shirley Hill, Russ Maclin, Sandra Turner, Willie Conyers, Anne Johnson, Warner Sprow, and John Young.
Mr. Maclin resigned in 1988, and the ever-faithful Dr. Coleman came to the rescue. The group continued to function and grow under Dr. Coleman's leadership. Mr. John Easley became director in 1997 after Mr. Easley's retirement as band director in Stafford County's schools. Dr. Coleman continued as pianist through Easter Sunday 2013, then returned to his earlier role as a tenor. Dr. Joan Olson began playing for the chorale on a temporary basis in the spring of 2013.
Ever since its debut in 1985, the chorale has served as the congregation's dedicated and talented "fifth Sunday choir." In addition, the group has made numerous appearances as special guests in such places as Chancellor Village, the former Sheraton Convention Center, the Lake of the Woods Clubhouse, the local Hampton Inn, and several churches throughout the area.