ART BEAT: Stone Mountain Chorus invites group to share stage

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

The Stone Mountain Chorus is an all-male group, but a lot of ladies will be lending this award-winning group their voices at the annual spring concert to be held at 3 p.m. June 5.

The Georgia Connection, an all female barbershop group, has been invited to take part in this annual concert, which will be given at Mountain Park United Methodist Church in Stone Mountain.

Stone Mountain Chorus spokesman Mike Walsh assures potential patrons that the event will be a concert not soon forgotten.

"The 60-man Stone Mountain Chorus promises to thrill the audience with close, four-part harmony in the barbershop style," he said. "The show will feature several of the chapter quartets as well."

The inclusion of the Georgia Connection is actually quite a "family affair."

"My father, Mark Rusch, is our former director," said Amy Johnson, the group's president. "Back in 2001, we did a combined show with the Stone Mountain Chorus. After my dad's retirement, we went on the hunt for a new director. Our current director, Luke Lindsay, is the former director of Stone Mountain Chorus. Talk about 'keeping it in the family!'"

Walsh describes what barbershop thrills are waiting ticket purchasers.

"The first half of the show will be all Stone Mountain Chorus," he said. "The entire chorus will be singing such tunes as 'Vive L'Amour,' 'King of the Road,' and 'Embraceable You.'"

Then the spotlight will fall on four of the chorus' resident quartets, which will each perform a "potpourri of barbershop styles." These quartets enjoy such names as "Mutt and Jeff," "Harmony Express," "Up Front" and "A Mighty Wind." This last quartet has already qualified to compete this July at the International Barbershop Harmony Society Convention in Philadelphia.

"I believe 'A Mighty Wind' will finish in the top 10 in the worlds this year," Walsh said. "All four of their members are very experienced and have been rehearsing with private coaches."

After the quartets and an intermission, the Georgia Connection will take the stage.

"I guess you could say we're 'headquartered' in Gwinnett," Johnson said, "but we have ladies from all over the metro area singing in our chorus. The majority of us do live in Gwinnett, from Snellville to Buford."

Georgia Connection's performance will be a "tribute to the movies."

The Stone Mountain Chorus will return to join the ladies on stage, and the combined choruses will offer such songs as "Sentimental Journey," "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and conclude with a patriotic "harmonic overlay" with the ladies carrying the tune and the men providing the harmony.

Tickets for this unique event are only $12 for adults and $10 for seniors if purchased in advance. All tickets are $15 at the door. Tickets can be ordered by calling 770-978-8053 or by visiting the Stone Mountain Chorus Web site at www.stonemountainchorus.org.

To learn more about the Georgia Connection Chorus, visit www.georgiaconnection.org.

Mountain Park United Methodist Church is at 1405 Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain.

The Stone Mountain Chorus is always looking for new male voices. The chorus meets from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. Interested parties are always welcomed.