This month, the Carroll Singers choral group is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Glenn Patterson, president of the advisory board for the chorus, said the not-for-profit group is a designated fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. In its 10 years of musical entertainment, the group has performed 20 major concerts and brought a varied program of choral music to Carroll County.
The group is an offshoot of the now-disbanded Carroll County Choral Society.
"The Carroll County Choral Society performed under the direction of Herb Sell for over 35 years and decided to disband when he retired," Patterson said. "After a one-year absence, a number of people decided we should attempt to renew a choral group, give it a new name and try to continue our interest in performing and supporting other nonprofit organizations who help at-risk citizens or promote cultural activities for our citizens."
Patterson said that after the Carroll County Choral Society disbanded, members continually contacted its former piano accompanist, Beverly Mauck, asking her to bring the group back. When she agreed, it was decided that they would call themselves the Carroll Singers. Mauck became director of the new group.
Patterson said a portion of the funds raised by concert ticket sales are donated to county charities. He and Mauck both said it is important to them that the group is also about community outreach.
"We've consistently made gifts to Access Carroll, Carroll County Arts Council, Carroll County Food Sunday, Shepherds Staff, and the Choral Music and Drama Departments of Westminster High School," Patterson said. "We have also established a $500 scholarship [that goes] to a graduating senior who will study voice or choral music in college. So far, we have given three scholarships and plan to provide a fourth scholarship in June."
Mauck said the group, which has about 60 members, holds two concerts a year: a Christmas concert the first week of December and a spring concert each May.
Rehearsals are held weekly on Tuesday nights from September through May at Westminster High School, at 1225 Washington Road in Westminster.
"We donate to the Westminster High School drama and music program because we use their stage and their equipment for free," Mauck said. "We rehearse there weekly and use their stage, risers, grand piano and sound system for the concerts. We are very grateful for that. Plus we store our music there."
The group features a wide range of ages and voices.
"There is a very low-pressure audition, so we can hear voices and determine where they fit," Mauck said. "Generally, if people can carry a tune they will fit with us. It is a multi-generational chorus. I don't know too many groups whose ages span from the 20s to one gentleman we have in his 90s. We focus on a broad range of music, songs most people like, and we usually have a special guest at each of our concerts."
Mauck said music selection is done with both her singers and the audience in mind.
"Our audiences range in age, but we tend to attract the 40s age group and older crowd," she said. "We just did our spring concert in celebration of Frank Sinatra and that went over well. We had a Frank Sinatra impersonator as a guest. In the past we've done show tunes, gospel and academy award-winning songs."
Sally Wilson, 64, said she joined the group at the suggestion of her friend Carol Raber, the choir director at Sandymount United Methodist Church, who is also a member. Wilson said the age range of the Carroll Singers is impressive.
"We have a gentleman who is 93 and it goes all the way down to people in their twenties," Wilson said. "And they are from all walks of life. Some are music teachers and people very involved in music and others are like me — there because we just like to sing."
Cheryl Humbert, 61, of Westminster, was initially a member of the Carroll County Choral Society.
"I started around 1976 when it was with Herb Sell," Humbert said. "I grew up in Westminster. Herb was my high school music teacher. I always loved him and I always wanted to sing with him again. After I graduated college and had worked awhile, I joined the Carroll Choral Society."
According to Humbert, music selected by Mauck for the Carroll Singers usually follows a theme.
"Both Herb and Beverly have been masters of putting together good music," she said. "The winter show consists of holiday music, but there's a theme at the spring concert. In the past, it has been the music of Frank Sinatra, patriotic music, gospel music, Broadway show music or music that spotlighted different composers or performers."
Chorus member Pat Rucker, of Upperco, said he has loved music since childhood.
"I will be 70 in August," he said. "My mother started me singing [in church] when I was three. She said I didn't talk much but I started singing 'Jesus Loves Me' when I heard the other kids singing it. I've been told that she stood me on a stool in church and I sang it to the congregation. I love to sing and I love choral music. I just have a ball doing it."
Rucker sings tenor with the group and said he loves the joy the Carroll Singers bring to others.
"When the audience is applauding and Bev is smiling and giving you thumbs up and you know you've done a good job — that feels good," he said. "It is such a pleasure to work with Bev. We are all amateurs but she brings out the best in us. As long as there is a Carroll Singers and I can do it I will be singing with her."
For more information or to join the group, call Beverly Mauck at 410-900-4422.
For more information:
Those interested in learning more or joining the group may call Beverly Mauck at 410-900-4422.