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)

Georgia Nurse

Robbin Edwards

Wesley Spruil

Gwen Davis

Susie Walker

Standing farther forward in photo (from left)

Juanita Clayborne

Russell "Nick" Bundy

Shirley Hill

Karen Ward

Margaret Jackson

Jean Spruill

Renee Reynolds

Janice Davies

Rochelle Rhoden

Marcelena Eure

Andrea SpringerCollins

Joyce Harris

 

Audio samples

Click to listen:

At the Cross

Bless That Wonderful Name

Don't Want No Trouble at the River

Every Day of Your Life

How Precious Is the Name of Jesus

I'll Make It Somehow

My Ever-Present Help

New-Born Again

There's Only One Thing

Yield Not to Temptation

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 knew beyond a shadow of a doubt why they were singing. They sang because the Lord is excellent. They sang because they were glad, rejoicing in the Most High. They sang because they had been planted by the "rivers of water." And they sang because they wanted to give testimony to the joy and faith that is within them.

For almost 55 years, at least once a month, and sometimes more often, the chorus lifted its voice in song at an 11 a.m. worship service at Shiloh Old Site (most recently on the fourth Sunday of every month). It has also sang countless times at other churches. The group  often rehearsed on Wednesday evenings, but recent rehearsals were sometimes been on different nights..

 

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.

 

For almost 55 years, it was singing strong

The chorus celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2012. After Rev. Davies' retirement as pastor, the chorus focused mostly on singing traditional gospel music for Shiloh Old Site's 11 o'clock service on the fourth Sunday of each month.

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  long-time director-pianist, Mrs. Marcelena Eure.

The chorus was never just about perfect pitch, proper intonation, or even celestial harmony. Rather,it was about doing God's work and uplifting the name of Jesus through song. As of 2017, the chorus was proud to still have four of its original members. The "Pioneer 4" included two emeritus members, Mrs. Eliza Williams and Mrs. Louise Lewis, as well as two active members, Mrs. Shirley Hill and Mrs. Janice Davies.

Mrs. Marcelena Eure, long-time pianist and director, passed away on October 20, 2017.

To listen to some recordings of Mrs. Eure singing some of her favorite hymns and gospel songs, click here.

To view selected photos taken of the chorus over the years, click here.