Chorale soloists Norm Webber, Linda Slavin, Sarah King, Twyla Edwards and Don Drake (L to R) discuss music with accompanist Heather O’Connell.

The Oneida Area Civic Chorale will present “The Great Thanksgiving:  Songs of Peace, Thanks and Brotherhood” on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 4:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 108 Court St. in Rome.  105 members of the non-audition community chorus will be conducted by Kimberly Nethaway of Rome, with accompaniment on piano by Heather O’Connell, Oneida, and Bernadette VanValkenburg of Sherrill.  Amanda Yeoman, Oneida, will add flute to two numbers.  Selections will include traditional spirituals, contemporary arrangements of hymns, and upbeat songs of freedom, compassion and hope.  

The concert will feature solos by several Chorale members.  Linda Slavin of Rome will solo on “Thankful”, a Mark Hayes arrangement of the inspirational song by Sager, Foster and Page that reminds us of the importance of giving in life and for all we have to be thankful.  The joyful “Alleluia, Alleluia”, by Amy F. Bernon, will feature solos by Sarah King of Oneida and Norm Webber of Cazenovia.  Twyla Edwards of Ava and Don Drake of West Winfield will sing solos on Paul Simon’s timeless song of support and compassion, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  

The Chorale will present “Peace Like a River, with Amazing Grace” a traditional spiritual arranged by Joel Raney, in loving memory of Loyal A. Canning.  Canning joined the Chorale soon after its inception, and was active throughout the years as a singer, soloist and board member.  He passed away last November at age 82.

An ensemble of Chorale singers will perform “Laudamus Te”, by Bill Cutter.  Ensemble singers will be Valerie Wood, Sarah Anderson and John Nethaway of Rome, Amanda Yeoman, Kathy Gay and Mark Maginn of Oneida, and Jody Drake of West Winfield.  A special performance of “Ever Joyful” by Ralph Manuel will be presented on piano by the six hands of Bernadette VanValkenburg, Heather O’Connell and Kimberly Nethaway.

Additional concert selections include John Rutter’s “Distant Land”, a musical prayer for freedom; “Namaste”, an original piece by Mark Hayes that depicts a customary greeting of India respresenting the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that connects us with affirmation and respect;  Rutter’s arrangement of the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth, and “The Field”, a contemporary piece by Mark Hayes that uses a 13th-century  poem by Mewlana Rumi to convey a potent message of unity and acceptance.

The concert will also feature the presentation of the 2019 OACC Senior Scholarships.  Scholarship recipients Sara Brown, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, and Benjamin O’Connell, Oneida High School, will each perform a musical selection.

Tickets for the concert are $10, and are available from Chorale members, at W.J. Hinman Jewelers, 115 Main St., Oneida, and by calling 315-655-3007. The church is handicap-accessible.  For more information, call 315-761-9701 or visit

By martha

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