Crystal Coast Choral Society readies for renewal of Christmas concerts

The Crystal Coast Choral Society prepares for two Christmas concerts in December, first in Swansboro, then in Newport. (Contributed photo)

CARTERET COUNTY — The Crystal Coast Choral Society, or CCCS, under the direction of Finley Woolston, will celebrate its 35th anniversary by performing two Christmas concerts entitled “A Gift for the Season.”  

The first concert will be held at 3 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 12 at Swansboro United Methodist Church. A second concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19 at All Saints Anglican Church in Newport.  

The concerts will feature many favorite arrangements, including “Runnin’ Down to Bethlehem,” “Christmas Hallelujah,” “Judah’s Land,” and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”  As a gift to its loyal and devoted audience, the CCCS will not charge admission, although donations are always gratefully received.  Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, audience members will be required to wear a face mask for the duration of the performance.  Face masks will be available at the door.  

The CCCS is especially excited to present its 2021 Christmas concerts as the entire 2020 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.  To safely resume its concert season, the chorus has been rehearsing since early September by strictly following COVID protocols, including wearing face masks, restricting the length of rehearsal times, sanitizing surfaces and practicing social distancing.  

The CCCS has been performing professional, inspirational and uplifting musical concerts for 35 years, thus fulfilling its mission of affording residents of eastern North Carolina an opportunity to perform choral music for the benefit of the community and to foster future musicians in the communities it serves.  

In October 1986, local citizens of Onslow and Carteret counties saw the need for a community-based chorus that could present high-quality musical concerts to the local populace.  Under the guidance of the late Delbert Bowles, the 40-member Swansboro Community Chorus was born.  In December 1987, the name was changed to the Crystal Coast Choral Society Inc., and it became a nonprofit organization.  Upon Mr. Bowles retirement in 1992, Finley Woolston assumed the position of music conductor, joined by Teresa Boykin as accompanist in 1993.  

For 25 years, Mr. Woolston, a Nebraska native, served as the Richlands United Methodist Church music director.  He also spent 25 years as the weekday morning classical music announcer for Public Radio East (PRE), WTEB, 89.3 FM in New Bern.  He continues to produce and host “The Choral Tradition” every Sunday afternoon on PRE Classical 91.5 and 90.3.

Ms. Boykin, a Kansas native, served for many years as organist for Richlands United Methodist Church.  In addition to her position as CCCS accompanist, Ms. Boykin currently serves as organist and accompanist for Swansboro United Methodist Church.   

Under Mr. Woolston’s guidance and Ms. Boykin’s assistance, the CCCS has grown to over 70 members, and continues to excel in the performance of sacred and secular music, with occasional pop, folk, gospel, and 15th to 21st Century classical pieces.

The CCCS is a non-audition chorus with ages ranging from teenagers to retirees and is always looking for new members.  The chorus hopes to continue fulfilling its vision of educating, inspiring and encouraging a love and appreciation for choral singing in the present and for future generations.  

Further information about the CCCS can be found at www.crystalcoastchoral.wixsite.com, its Facebook page, or contacting Mr. Woolston by phone at at 910-358-2997 or email at finley@ec.rr.com.

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