Tri-County Choir dedicated to traditional hymns

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A local choir is keeping old church hymns alive in a world of increasingly modern music.

The Tri-County Choir is performing Saturday at 7 p.m. at Faith Independent Baptist Church in Ashland, Ky.

The group is non-audition and membership is open to everyone. Ronnie Carpenter and Judy Sanders founded the group in 1999 for a love for the old songs and a growing interest in hearing the songs.

Email newsletter signup

“We noticed some people who don’t like the contemporary gospel,” Ed Fairchild, director of Tri-County Choir, said. “People can hear the old songs they don’t perform in church anymore.”

The group has attracted large audiences at each church.

“On average, our crowds have been between 200 to 250 people,” Betty Moore, the group’s secretary, said.

And their schedule keeps getting busier. Moore said the group’s schedule is already filled for 2012. Still, churches keep calling to see if they can schedule the group.

“I tell them they can go on a waiting list, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll get a cancellation,” Fairchild said.

The number of group members change by performance, Moore said. It can be anywhere from 50 to 80. The group does not practice so anyone can join them in song during the performances.

The group takes many formations during the performances. The whole choir performs approximately 14 songs. Then soloists, trios and quartets break off and sing about 10 other songs.

“It’s like a local version of the Gaithers,” Fairchild said.

Samples from their repertoire include “Have A Little Talk with Jesus;” “Winging My Way Back Home;” “How Great Thou Art” and “On the Jericho Road.” The group has a 400-page hymnal selection.

A reception will be held after the performance. Moore said it’s a time to catch up with friends.

“It’s the only time you get to see people,” she said.

Moore said it’s a reward seeing the impact the music has on the audience.

“I like seeing people being blessed by the hymns,” she said.

Fairchild and Moore both said they liked how the music brings different denominations together in one place.

The group performs once a month from March to December. The group does not perform in January or February due to the winter weather.

Other upcoming performances include Oct. 8 at Ice Creek Baptist Church and Nov. 12 at First Church of the Nazarene in Ironton.

“We sing for the Lord and that’s what we are about,” Fairchild said.