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
Singing with joy and faith
Standing at back in photo (from left)
Standing farther forward in photo (from left)
Russell "Nick" Bundy
Click to listen:
Boyd's Memorial Volunteer Chorus
Planted by the "rivers of water"
Kirk Franklin once asked, "Why do we sing?"
Well, the members of the Boyd's Memorial Volunteer Chorus know beyond a shadow of a doubt why they sing. They sing because the Lord is excellent. They sing because they are glad, rejoicing in the Most High. They sing because they are planted by the "rivers of water." And they sing because they want to give testimony to the joy and faith that is within them.
At least once a month, the chorus lifts its voice in song at an 11 a.m. worship service at Shiloh Old Site (usually the fourth Sundays of the month). It has also sung countless times at other churches. The group has often rehearsed on Wednesday evenings, but recent rehearsals have sometimes been on different nights. New members are always welcome.
A brief history of the chorus
The Boyd's Memorial Volunteer Chorus grew out of an early request by the Rev. Lawrence A. Davies during the first year of his pastorate at Shiloh Old Site. In 1962, wanting to add a new dimension to the congregation's music ministry, Rev. Davies invited "volunteers" from the church to organize a gospel chorus.
Initially, the group was small in number, though it later grew to as many as forty members. At Rev. Davies' request, Mrs. Evelyn Boyd became the group's director-pianist, and the chorus quickly became an inspirational part of selected worship services. In addition, it often accompanied Rev. Davies to events at other churches, where Rev. Davies would be invited to speak.
After more than fifty-two years, still singing strong
The chorus celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2012, and although it no longer travels to speaking engagements with Rev. Davies (who has retired as pastor), the chorus is still singing traditional gospel music with the same fervor and enthusiasm that it had at its beginning.
Mrs. Evelyn Boyd, the group's first director-pianist, died suddenly in 1977, after which the group was renamed in her honor. After Mrs. Boyd's death, the group was accompanied and directed briefly by Mrs. Odessa Dixon and Mrs. Lucy Lewis before acquiring its current long-time director-pianist, Mrs. Marcelena Eure.
The chorus is not just about perfect pitch, proper intonation, or even celestial harmony. Rather, as always, it is about doing God's work and uplifting the name of Jesus through song. The chorus is proud to still have four of its original members. The "Pironeer 4" includes two emeritus members, Mrs. Eliza Williams and Mrs. Louise Lewis, as well as two active members, Mrs. Shirley Hill and Mrs. Janice Davies.