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Sounds of the season

North Dallas chorus ushers in the holidays with annual concert

Created date

November 26th, 2013
North Dallas chorus practice

“Where words leave off, music begins.” –Heinrich Heine

As the late summer months melted into fall, Highland Springs resident Gene Lawrence found himself pouring over musical scores for the community’s annual holiday concert.

“I started choosing songs in August,” says Gene, who’s directed the Highland Springs chorus for the past six years. “It takes me a while to get the feel of what I want to do. I’ll start with a list of 25 songs. From that list, I’ll pick 18 songs or so for the choir to perform at the holiday concert.”

When the music portfolios reached the choir’s 45 members, Gene and his team of officers had already logged substantial behind-the-scenes hours.

“I usually write a few additional parts,” says Gene, who likes to find ways to breathe new life into recognizable melodies. “Even though many of the songs we sing are familiar, we want people to hear them in a new way.”

Doing what he loves

Gene, a retired high school choir director from Ohio, brought his passion with him when he moved to Highland Springs.

“My wife and I moved to Texas in the spring of 2007. Our apartment wasn’t ready until July, so we lived with our daughter for a few months,” says Gene. “During that time, I heard that Highland Springs had a choir, so I came over to sit in on rehearsals.”

At the time, the Highland Springs chorus was a loosely organized group of residents who loved to gather around the piano and sing.

The group blossomed when Gene took the helm in January 2008.

“Gene introduced four-part harmony to our group,” says Peggy Watkins, one of the choir’s original members. “It made a tremendous difference.”

Variety of backgrounds

Of those on the choir’s current roster, some don’t have any musical background other than a love for music. Others, like Peggy, have experience performing in a variety of venues.

“I sang when I was young, but I gave it up when I got married,” says Peggy, a soprano. “Then, in the mid-’90s, I joined a small singing group at my church, called Infinity. We traveled to Scotland and Ireland to perform.”

Peggy also joined the Silver Serenaders Senior Adult Choir, which rehearsed in South Dallas.

“When I moved to Highland Springs in 2006, I gave up singing with the Silver Serenaders because it was just too far to drive for rehearsals,” says Peggy. “Now I’m thankful I can sing right here.”

Concert scheduled for Dec. 1

The Highland Springs chorus will perform their annual holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 1, in the Hillcrest Restaurant at Highland Springs.

This year’s program includes light-hearted fare such as “All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

It also features a medley of classic hymns and carols, including “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” “Joy to the World,” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

“I like to schedule the concert near the beginning of December because it’s a nice way to ring in the holiday season,” says Gene. “It’s a favorite event for many of our residents and their families.”