Gwinnett Choral Guild celebrates 25th anniversary

The Gwinnett Choral Guild is one of the oldest performing arts groups in Gwinnett, and it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. The concert will be held at the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church.

In attendance will be Randy Wilbur, the group's founder who launched the Gwinnett Choral Guild in 1983. Wilbur will participate in the concert, which will be conducted by the group's Artistic Director G. Phillip Shoultz III.

"I had just moved to Gwinnett and was working as a music director for Duluth Methodist Church," Wilbur said. "There had been a civic chorus, but it no longer existed, and there was great interest in starting a new one. I approached the newly formed Gwinnett Council for the Arts, and two of its members, Lynn Alford and Charlotte Crosland, helped start the organization and sang with us as well."

The first concert was also at Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church. The event combined the new choral guild with the 530 Air Force Band from Dobbins Air Force Base and the Charlotte Boy's Choir. Wilbur stayed with the group for the next 10 years. Although music has been his avocation, he has been a professional real estate salesman with 20 years at Remax and now with Solid Source.

For the special 25th anniversary concert, Shoultz looked back on the musical heritage that Wilbur had left. The concert will include music from classical, folk, patriotic, spirituals, jazz and Broadway repertory. Fifty members of the Choral Guild are anticipated to sing.

At the end of the concert, past members will be invited to come join the chorus for the final two pieces of music, "America the Beautiful" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Other special aspects of the concert include the establishment of a scholarship program. The James W. and Mary M. Rogers Scholarship will begin accepting applications from Gwinnett high school seniors who plan to continue their education at the college level in either music education or performance. The awards will be announced at the Gwinnett Choral Guild's final concert of the 2009-10 Season.

Tickets for the concert are $15 for individuals, $25 per couple, and $10 for seniors, students and groups of ten or more. For tickets, go to www.brownpapertickets.com and type in Lawrenceville, Georgia in the search box. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information, call 404-223-9962 or visit www.gwinnettchoralguild.org.