‘A Joyful Song’" Holiday Island Singers to perform holiday show Friday

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Holiday Island Singers Rene Duffourc, left, and Wanda Black rehearse for their Nov. 19 performance at the Holiday Island Baptist Church on Thursday, Nov. 11.
Samantha Jones / Lovely County Citizen

It’s been nearly two years since the Holiday Island Singers have performed for the community, and they are ready to join voices again. The singers will perform “A Joyful Song” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, their first performance since December 2019.

Ensemble director Vicki Shutters recalled being hired in the spring of 2020 and working with everyone to prepare for a concert. That was bad timing, Shutters said. Once COVID-19 hit, Shutters said, the singers dispersed.

“There is still a lot of fear and trepidation over COVID. We normally have 35 singers, and we have 12,” Shutters said. “We’ve lost a lot of membership because most of our members are of the age where we get concerned about catching something.”

The singers are vaccinated and taking COVID-19 precautions, Shutters said, and they want to sing again.

“We are going ahead and getting started and letting people know that COVID is with us. It is something we all need to take care for, but singing is not the reason people get COVID,” Shutters said. “We need to let the community know we are alive and well and we are going to start performing again with some adjustments.”

Instead of two indoor performances, Shutters said, the ensemble will perform the holiday concert and several holiday singalongs. The holiday concert will have limited seating, a shorter program and no intermission, Shutters said. At the end of the performance, Shutters said, the audience will be invited to sing along with some carols if they are comfortable doing so.

Singalong performances are scheduled from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Sun Fest; 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Basin Park in Eureka Springs; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Holiday Island Baptist Church Sanctuary.

Shutters said the singers are hosting a singalong at the church because the church offered its space for ensemble rehearsals at no cost. That kindness is something you see throughout Carroll County, Shutters said.

“I have never lived anywhere where the giving aspect has been so forthcoming,” Shutters said. “People who really don’t have anything to give give anyway. They just find a way to help other people around here, and I think it’s an amazing community.”

The holiday show will feature well-known Christmas carols, as well as “Christmas Wish,” an original piece written and arranged by local musician Ellen Stephenson.

“She’s not only a fantastic accompanist and pianist, but she’s a composer and an arranger,” Shutters said.

Ensemble members Debbie Johnson and Rene’ Duffourc said they are excited to perform again. It’s been a joy to rehearse together over the past few weeks, Johnson said.

“We’ve all been home for so long that when we first came back, it was like the world was right again,” Johnson said. “We’ve worked hard and I think people are going to really enjoy the show.”

Duffourc said he is one of two men in the ensemble. When he first signed up, Duffourc said, he was the only man in the group.

“That meant the director had to rewrite the music for the voices in the ensemble,” Duffourc said. “We’re looking forward to showing people that we’re still here and rebuilding.”

Johnson said she’d love to see more singers join the ensemble. You don’t have to know how to read music to be part of the group, Johnson said.

“I sing a lot, but I don’t read music,” Johnson said. “I listen to it over and over again to learn my part.”

Shutters said she’s excited to see everyone at the concert and to continue working with the singers.

“I am so blessed to be in this community at this time and with this particular group of people,” Shutters said. “They are really awesome, every single one of them.”

“A Joyful Song” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Holiday Island Country Club Ballroom. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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