Blue Ridge Chorale April 2021

April Notes

It is so wonderful to come together and sing, even with the challenges the last year has presented. Last season we sang the lyrics, "I sing because I'm happy." Recently, I saw the quote by William James, “I don't sing because I'm happy. I'm happy because I sing.” I do believe that singing during this past year has caused me to smile and remember that things can get better. I'm thankful for this group and for our musical leaders and a very dedicated board of directors that has allowed us to continue singing so we can find happy again.

Annette Richards


We will be recording our concert on May 24, 2021

The virtual Spring concert will be released in June

General Membership Meeting on May 17, 2021

There will be a brief meeting for all members of the BRC to get an overview of the year, hear plans going forward and to vote for new board members. If you are interested in being on the BRC board, contact Patti Christi.

Music Director: C. Alexander Smith

Chorale Accompanist: Brittany Bache

Asst. Director: Melanie Bolas

Asst. Chorale Accompanist: Kathy Pellegreen (not pictured


Hello to ALL of our WONDERFUL Singers!

Alex and I wanted to take a quick moment to let all of you know how proud we are of you and how excited we are for this Spring season! We know it is not easy to sing with a mask on and to be 10 feet away from your fellow neighbor, but you all are handling it with grace and enthusiasm and are making great strides. We are confident this concert will be incredible and people will want to watch it over and over again!

Please continue to keep yourselves safe and healthy, and don't forget to protect your instrument! At the time I am writing this, we only have 5 more rehearsals before the recording- We've Got This!!!

Musically Yours,

Your Director and his favorite Assistant :)

The Blue Ridge Chorale of Culpeper is a community choir in the Central Virginia Region

You can shop and contribute to the chorus at the same time! Go to smile.amazon.com and select Blue Ridge Chorale as your charitable organization. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of you eligible purchase to the chorus, at no cost to you!



C. Alexander Smith, 4/26

Melanie Bolas, 4/9

Kathy Pellegreen, 4/25

Lila Bender, 4/18

Executive Board

President – Patti Christie

Vice President –

Treasurer – Wanda Osborn

Secretary – Geniene Zinn

Communication and Social Media- Wanda Osborn

Fund Raising – Patti Christie & committee

Librarian – Diana Cmeyla

Programs – Annette Richards

Publicity – Beth Aitcheson

Social Affairs – Peggy Carpenter

Production – Cary Oien

Music Director – C. Alexander Smith

Chorale Accompanist – Brittany Bache

Asst. Director – Melanie Bolas

If you have questions, comments or concerns (compliments are welcome, as well) to share with the Board, you can Email the Board at President@brcsings.com

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Singer’s Responsibilities:

Each singer will be responsible for:

  • providing and wearing their own mask to each rehearsal (This is mandatory and you will not be permitted in the building without it.)
  • staying home if you do not feel well, exhibit ANY of the COVID-19 symptoms, or have been around anyone exhibiting said symptoms
  • notifying a board member or one of the music directors immediately if you test positive for COVID-19 (Your identity will be protected.)
  • adhering to the social distancing guidelines, as well as, quickly entering and leaving the rehearsal space without congregating in the building
  • keeping up with individual practice at home and willing to rehearse virtually

Letter from the BRC President

Happy Spring,

I want to again thank our wonderful directors who worked hard to plan and proceed with this concert. Being together and singing is certainly uplifting in this unusual year! Thank you to our accompanist and all of you who have been able to participate and always work hard to learn the music and to the board who gives of their time to keep the show running behind the scenes!


Hosted this year on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 by Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, Give Local Piedmont (GLP) is the community's one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to the nonprofit organizations that are making our region stronger. It's our day to come together as one!

Every dollar that is donated from midnight to 11:59 am on Tuesday, May 4th is increased with additional "bonus" dollars ($100,000!) generously provided by the PATH Foundation and prize dollars graciously donated from our local businesses and Northern Piedmont fund holders.

Built on successful models from other cities, Give Local Piedmont raises money for the community, brings new donors and awareness to local nonprofits, and helps make our region a more vibrant place to live.

All the nonprofit organizations who are signed up are worthy of your donations and we are proud to be on the list. Log in to “I Give Local Piedmont” anytime on May 4, 2021, after 00:01am to 11:59pm to donate to the nonprofits of your choice, of course, hoping BRC is high on your list.


In May we will have a brief general membership meeting after rehearsal where we review all that has gone on during the year, set the stage for next season, and vote on board members for next year.

Two year terms that are open are listed below with those running. If you are interested in running for any position, please let me know. You do not have to have any prior experience as the officer before you will help you until you feel comfortable. All of the positions are important and we just need those of you who care about this organization to step forward. At the May Board Meeting you vote on the slate of officers. Of course, nominations can be taken from the floor, but only if you have made the person you are nominating aware and they are agreeable.

Slate As It Looks So Far

Vice President –

Secretary - Debra Keys

Treasurer – Miki Bruner

Publicity – Tracey Anderson

Communications – Wanda Osborn

Social – Liz Triplett

We have our meeting once a month. This year we have had some ZOOM meetings and may continue to do so as it makes the meetings much easier for all to attend.

The board members are nonpaid volunteers. But this group (like many teachers) put a lot money into the organization – making copies, making CD’s, buying paper goods, buying decorations, food, and the list goes on without reimbursement. I know all of you hate to hear about making money and as fundraiser I have tried many avenues (a million thanks to all who have and continue to help). And why do we need money? The director, assistant director, accompanist, assistant accompanist, guest musicians are paid. We have to pay to sing in many venues, we have paid for rehearsal space, custodians, we have a storage unit, insurance, state corporation fee, sheet music, supplies, and trailer tax, post office box, and stamps etc.

I hope this answers a few questions. For more information go to www.brcsings.com.

Rehearsals are held every Monday night at Culpeper Baptist Church. Alex and Melanie will have a schedule for you.


You may get in touch with me at pattilane461@gmail.com or (540)219-8837.


Patti Christie

The Music

A look at two of the songs we are currently singing. A little background about the songs and an opportunity to listen to a different interpretation of the music. Enjoy.

900 Miles

Enjoy this haunting version by Terry Callier.

The text for the folk song, 900 Miles, implies a story. The narrator tells the listener what is happening at the moment the song begins (“I am walkin’ on this track”) and suggests an emotional state (“I’ve got tears in my eyes”), without disclosing what led to this moment. The singer must imagine what might have displaced the speaker to a location “nine hundred miles” from home. Wayward travelers of the railroad era were sometimes known as “hobos,” a term derived from the phrase “homeward bound.”

“A folk song is a way of singing out the news—news of a wedding, a murder—good times or bad times—good people and bad people. It’s one way of making a record of memorable things that happened. In the days before newspapers, and among people who couldn’t have read them even if they existed, the folk song was a kind of chronicle and running commentary on the times. Many of them have lived for years, while nothing is more dead than yesterday’s newspapers. The folk songs and story ballads were not the most accurate kind of history of course, because once the event, whatever it was, had been recorded, generations of singers went on elaborating and changing the song— smoothing it out, or shaping it up to suit their own ideas of how the event might have happened. Often, the event which started the song was blurred or lost as time went on. The song then took on its own independent life. Aristotle said in his poetics, that art is truer than history because it shows what should have happened rather than simply what did happen.”

I'm walking down this track,

I've got tears in my eyes,

Trying to read a letter from my home.

If this train runs me right

I'll be home tomorrow night.

I'm nine hundred miles from my home.

And I hate to hear that lonesome whistle blow.

The train I ride on Is a thousand coaches long. You can hear that whistle blow a hundred miles. If this train runs me right I'll be home tomorrow night. I'm nine hundred miles from my home. And I hate to hear that lonesome whistle blow.

This Little Light of Mine

This Little Light of Mine" made it into the American folk music tradition when it was found and documented by John Lomax in 1939. At Goree State Farm in Huntsville, Texas, Lomax recorded Doris McMurray singing the spiritual. The recording can still be found in the Library of Congress archives.

The song is actually attributed to Harry Dixon Loes. He was gospel songwriter and music director from Michigan who worked at the Moody Bible Institute. Loes wrote the song for children in the 20s. Though Dixon was a white man from the North, the song is often attributed (even in hymnals) as an "African-American spiritual." This is understandable because it sounds similar to other Southern spirituals of the time.

In the 1960s, the simple song became an anthem of the civil rights movement. It was adapted for this purpose by Zilphia Horton (who also taught Pete Seeger "We Shall Overcome") and other activists.

Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band

Enjoy this high energy version of This Little Light of Mine.

Could this be what Alex is looking for when he asks for more energy?

In Memory of Alex's Grandmother, Lorraine Miles

September 12, 1936 - April 4, 2021


Created with images by manfredrichter - "purple flowers petals" • NefeliDeli - "note paper expression" • Dieter_G - "birds swifts singing" • PepaLove - "guinea pig happy birthday animal" • stevepb - "piano keyboard music" • TheDigitalArtist - "facebook social media communication" • Kranich17 - "clef hyacinth flower" • Unknown - "High Angle View of Train on Railroad Tracks · Free Stock Photo" • Unknown - "Free illustration: Steam Train, Locomotive, Train - Free ..." • Unknown - "Free stock photo of close-up, engine, landscape" • pixel2013 - "tealight light prayer"