Archived Story

Five years of service

Published 3:25pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It has been five years since the Greene County Community Mass Choir took its roots during a simple ladies weekend at St. Matthew Watson Baptist Church in Boligee.

“A group of ladies came together for a women’s day program,” choir president Johnnie Knott said of the vocal group’s origins. “We call it the Sisterhood Weekend. That was to be held at the St. Matthew Watson Baptist Church.”

The group commemorated its foundations and successes in the years since last weekend by returning to its roots for a fifth anniversary concert that drew a strong crowd.

The choir, which is comprised of women from a variety of churches and denominations, performs all of its shows at the Boligee church since the building provided the group the avenue for its start in 2006.

“We started at this church,” Knott said. “That’s why we do each of our concerts at that church. We composed a choir for that weekend. Afterward, when it had worked so well, we met together to figure out what name we would be called.”

The original incarnation of the group consisted of 18 women from around Greene County. Since that time, the choir has grown to include 30 voices.

“It has worked very well,” Knott said.

The group’s talent and its determination have enabled it to perform at least twice a year at St. Matthew Watson Baptist as well as in a number of venues near and far.

“We really have not had any difficulties,” Knott pointed out as she talked of the good fortune the group has enjoyed. “One of our objectives was to sing praises all over the United States of America. Our first year, we were able to go to Columbus, Ohio.”

Since that time, the group has made it a point to travel out of state for a performance each year.

“We try to make one trip per year,” she said. “Last year, we traveled to Baltimore, Md. We’ve gone to Detroit, Mich. We’ve gone to Atlanta. We’ve done some short trips. This year we are going to Chicago.”

But as much as the choir enjoys its primary role, it also fancies itself a service organization. That approach has enabled the vocal team to assist in a number of ventures around the Black Belt region.

“In addition to being a choir, we also have done things for the Red Cross,” Knott said. “I think it is hearing us and knowing what we’re involved in.”

The tornado outbreak of Friday, April 15 created a need the choir will do its best to cater to in June.

“We’re going to do two concerts in June with the proceeds to be given to the victims of the tornado that we had last Friday,” Knott said of the show that will also be at St. Matthew Watson Baptist where Rev. Chris Spencer oversees the church. The show is one of a number of need-based concerts the choir performs each year.

“Whenever there is a need to generate monies for something, we try to help out there,” Knott said.

The group is in the process of procuring pledges for the June tornado victim benefit show. Those interested in helping in that endeavor are encouraged to contact Knott or another choir member.

Those seeking more information about the Greene County Community Mass Choir can contact Knott at home at 289-2495 or via cell phone at 216-3428. Publicity co-chair Millie Gaines can be reached at 205-292-7912.

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