LUMBER BRIDGE — This holiday season marks the 40th anniversary of Lumber Bridge Community Choir that rings in the holiday season each year.
While Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church is home base for the choir, it is comprised of voices from various congregations, according to Marvin Lynne Maxwell, director.
The first concert is today at 5 p.m. and another concert will be held on Monday at 7 p.m. at Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church, which is at 400 Fayetteville St., Lumber Bridge. Both events are free and open to the public.
The performances will such classics as “O Holy Night,” “Jesus Name Above All Names,” Chosen by God,” and the hand-bell ensemble will do a special arrangement of “Silent Night.”
During the past 40 years, Maxwell said there have been more than 220 members of the choir, hand-bell ensembles, and instrumental ensemble.
As always, Maxwell said, the concert will include Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus.
There are 41 singers; 14 youth singers; 14 “wee ones” singing; 11 members of the adult hand bells ensemble and 11 members of the youth hand bell ensemble.
Bob Hill, who lives in nearby Parkton, has been in the choir for 24 years.
“I look forward to starting rehearsals all year. I am the director of my own church’s choir, but being in a much larger choir is a real treat,” Hill said. “Marvin Lynne is a wonderful pianist and leader, and being a part of her community choir is one of the highlights of my year. Many people say that it’s not really Christmas until this choir performs.”
Hill said his hope is to demonstrate his love of Jesus Christ through song.
“If we can truly touch one person, it is worth all the time we put into rehearsals,” Hill said. “I’d love to get so crowded that we have to add a third performance.”
Mary Bybee has been a member of the choir for more than 30 years. She enjoys it because she gets to meet people she would not. She said she loves working with the choir, especially with Maxwell.
Bybee said that by singing in the choir she feels she is conveying the true meaning of Christmas through song.
Daphne Williams and her husband Clyde moved to the community of Rex from Fayetteville in 2003, when she was invited to join the choir. Williams said they love their home church, MacPherson Presbyterian in Fayetteville, and they still attend there but they also love their new friends at Lumber Bridge.
“It’s a connection and a bonding to these lovely people in neighboring communities like no other. In a world of chaos, spiritual decline, and division, the choir serves as a beacon of hope for unity — unity and peace, not just in our neighboring communities, but unity and peace in the world,” Williams said. “We hope to convey in our church services the message of our dear Savior’s birth and salvation to all those who enter. You couldn’t give yourself a better Christmas present.”
Mac Malloy is better known throughout the area as a Cooperative Extension agent who works with farmers, but he is also a musician who plays trumpet in the instrumental ensemble.
“It is amazing to see the many talents from so many churches in our rural community come together for this ministry. I believe I have been given the gift of playing the trumpet for a reason, and that reason is to glorify God through music ministry,” Malloy said. “It is rewarding to humbly give of your talents even in the smallest way. I’m reminded of the saying, ‘even the smallest stone creates a ripple in the pond.’ Hopefully my small ripple can touch a soul in need of illumination.”
Sheila Gasque has been in the choir for about 10 years and credits Maxwell with being a great choir director.
“Marvin Lynn is so wonderful to us. She is so talented, funny, and an inspiration to us all,” Gasque said. “I love to sing, and especially the beautiful songs Marvin Lynn chooses for our annual concert. They are so inspiring and send the message of salvation to all. So many people have told us this starts their Christmas season.”
Gasque said the event is not about the performance.
“It’s about sending out a message of salvation, hope, peace and the wonder of Christmas,” Gasque said.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.