Lynn Loftus and The NewRiver Valley Community Chorus  perform Songs of War and Peace

Lynn Loftus and The NewRiver Valley Community Chorus  perform Songs of War and Peace
Rosie the Riveter and friends: (L-R) Ruth Rosborough, Patsy Weaver, Sharon Gilbert (Rosie) and Katherine Birchfield (Revolutionary War costume) (Photos by Danielle Reid/The Patriot)

By DANIELLE REID

The Patriot

The New River Valley Community Chorus will be performing a very special concert, “Songs of War and Peace,” in the Pulaski Theatre on Saturday, November 13th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 14th at 3:00 p.m.  Chorus director Lynn Loftus believes that the 2021 performance will be a moving event which will help unite the community.

“We’ve had some wonderful performances in the past.  We had a fantastic 50’s and 60’s review.  We rented an organ from Lynchburg one year and did the Messiah in the theatre.  We’ve done it all,” says Loftus who has directed the Community Chorus for 31 years.  In addition to directing the Community Chorus, Lofus was the Music Director for Dublin Middle School from 1974 to 2004.

NRV Community Chorus piano accompanist for 25 years, Judith Lanum and NRV Community Chorus director Lynn Loftus

Special music for the upcoming event includes “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “I Don’t Want No More of Army Life.”  She believes this year’s performance will elicit emotions from pride to sorrow to hope as the last song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” is sung in a replicated Arlington Cemetery scene.

Loftus credits the success of the Community Chorus to the many musicians and chorus members for their faithfulness and love for music.  “There has always been good sacred music, some secular, and we also branched out to broadway musicals.  The community has given the chorus great reviews throughout the years,” Loftus explained.

This year, several well-know artists will be performing along with the 25-member chorus.

“There are lots of great musicians, people and entities involved in this year’s show and we are drawing participants from a wide area,” said Loftus.  “Some of them are coming from Ironto, Roanoke, Wytheville, Giles and of course, Pulaski – all for the love of music and performing before an appreciative audience.”

RU Graphic Arts Professor Ken Smith has given permission to use four of his beautiful paintings to be displayed in the theater, which are going to add a very special dimension to this anthology of song from the Revolution through Vietnam.

Because of this year’s theme, “Songs of War and Peace,” there is an emphasis on veterans and their contributions to America.  As an acknowledgement of appreciation for their service, the Pulaski Elks Lodge #1067 will be giving pins to all Veterans in attendance and have invited all veterans to be present during at least one of the performances.

Loftus began developing the production and dialogue two-and-a-half years ago while doing research.

Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy scene: (L-R) Pam Kirkner, Mardia Long, Kim Harriman. Bugle Boy is Kevin Fowler, PCHS Band Director

“I can’t explain inspiration, but it just came to me while researching the history behind the songs of war and peace.  We have veterans in the choir who helped provide accurate historic details and dates.  The production was ready to go in May 2020, but the world stopped in March because of COVID.  We kept in touch and got together in April 2021, but it wasn’t until this September that we started rehearsing in earnest.  Dublin United Methodist Church has been very generous in allowing us to use their facility for rehersals.”

The Community Chorus began when RU History professor Harold Mann founded it in 1970.   Mann was a music lover and saw a need in the community to share his appreciation for good music.  “No one knows the correct history, and everyone who knew is now dead,” quips Loftus.

But the spirit of music lives on.

“If my intuition is correct, this one may top all the ones the chorus has done before.  The people are all amateurs – not professionals, just regular people.  To see them share my vision for 31 years is heartwarming.  They are the biggest bunch of over-achievers I’ve ever seen,” Loftus says with a warm smile.

The community is invited to attend the New River Valley Community Chorus’ production of “War and Peace.”  It is sure to be a life-changing event.

Monetary donations are greatly appreciated to cover the operational expenses of the chorus.

SONGS OF WAR AND PEACE
The American revolution
        CHESTER
YANKEE DOODLE
The War of 1812
        THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
Dan Gordon, Tye Kirkner, Howard Congdon, Barry Long
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
The Civil War
TENTING ON THE OLD CAMPGROUND
WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME
SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD
Marva Hickman
ASHOKAN FAREWELL
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
INTERMISSION
World War I
        OVER THERE
FLANDERS FIELDS
John Mason
KEEP THE HOMEFIRES BURNING
Ruth Rosborough, Susan Peters, Summer Bork, Debbie Pauley
World War II
I DON’T WANT NO MORE ARMY LIFE
Jeff McCoy
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY
Kim Harriman, Mardia Long, Pam Kirkner
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Vietnam War
BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERET
C.R. Conner
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER
Closing
BLADES OF GRASS AND PURE WHITE STONES
Courtney Dunavant
LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH
Guest musicians:
Guitar, Bass                                Tony Eads
Drum                                           Xander Pratt
Keyboard                                    Lavelva Stevens
Trumpet , Glockenspiel            Kevin Faller
Violin                                           Dr. Tristan Perry
Clarinet                                       Emily Surface
Flute, Piccolo                             Katie Bisset
Sound                                                 Ron Walters
Narrator                                             Terrie Sternberg
Accompanist
Judith Lanum
Director
Lynn Loftus
We would like to thank:
Pulaski County High School Drama Department
Artist, Ken Smith
Pulaski Theater
Dublin United Methodist Church
Choir Members
Soprano                            Alto                               Tenor                             Bass
   Summer Bork            Kat Birchfield              Matt Chan                  Howard Congdon
Cheryl Chrisley          Susan Cook                 J. D. Hansard              C.R. Conner
Joann Davidson        Bonnie Congdon         Tye Kirkner                 Dan Gordon
Elaine Gehrz              Ruth Derrick                                                     Barry Long
Debbie Pauley           Sharon Gilbert                                                 John Mason
Susan Peters              Kim Harriman                                                  Steve Miller
Ruth Rosborough      Pam Kirkner
Patsy Weaver             Mardia Long 

 

Characters in costumes depicting the years 1812 – WWII: (L – R) Dan Gordon, Howard Congdon, J.D. Hansard, C.R. Conner (in the Green Barret).