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Upcoming Tour of Kitchens helps send Girlchoir to New York


Dr. Cherry Dunn directs the Columbus Girlchoir during a rehearsal for the group’s April 27 concert in Columbus and May performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The Girlchoir Tour of Kitchens April 20 will help raise funds for the choir and trip.

Dr. Cherry Dunn directs the Columbus Girlchoir during a rehearsal for the group’s April 27 concert in Columbus and May performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The Girlchoir Tour of Kitchens April 20 will help raise funds for the choir and trip. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff


George Hazard/Special to The Dispatch



"You've got to anticipate the note." 


The words are a tactical reminder from Director Cherry Dunn at a recent Columbus Girlchoir practice. But they are also a happy, long-range statement for the choir: They are anticipating plenty of high notes when they sing in New York's Carnegie Hall in May. 


The 31 Columbus singers will make up 20 percent of the New York chorus May 26 when MidAmerica Productions presents its 30th anniversary concert. They'll sing at the recommendation of Cheryl Dupont, director of the New Orleans Children's Chorus, who worked with the local group at the Crescent City Choral Festival in 2009 and 2011. 


Helping fund the trip will be the choir's fifth annual Tour of Kitchens on Saturday, April 20. This means floral arrangements and tasting tips at three Bent Tree homes: Patti Griffin at 60 Apple Valley Road; John and Linda Scarbrough at 301 Plantation Drive; and Roger and Donna Burlingame at 46 Boxwood Drive. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bent Tree Plantaion neighborhood just west of U.S. Highway 45 North, north of Spivey Road. A silent auction will also be hosted at the Griffin home. 


"The tour is a big part of our fundraising every year," Dunn said. "But community help is even more important with our decision this year to accept the Carnegie Hall invitation and yet keep the cost manageable for our singers. We are grateful every year for the loyal support of so many who take the tour." 




About the tour 


The tour homes are close together in Bent Tree. To keep things moving smoothly, tickets are keyed to different first houses, but sell for $20 at each home or in advance at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center, the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, Party and Paper, Pizazz or from Girlchoir members. 


"All the homeowners are happy to support the Girlchoir through the tour," said Griffin. "It's a wonderful local institution for young women, musically and personally. We invite everyone to come out and enjoy the flowers and refreshments for a very good cause." 


Each kitchen will feature floral and catering samples as well as its unique décor. For example, visitors to the Griffin kitchen will enjoy flowers by Joy's and tastings from Marty Wages of Table of Plenty. The presentation at the Scarbrough home includes arrangements by Bokay's and catering ideas from Sarah Labensky of East Mississippi Community College's Lion Hills Golf Club. On hand at the Burlingames' will be Ivy Cottage Florist and the Eat With Us Group. 


Fred Kinder is kitchen tour chairman this year. 


"The Girlchoir board appreciates the generosity of this year's homeowners. The tour always means some fine floral arrangements and samples of good local food. We're also anticipating some interesting offerings at this year's silent auction," Kinder said. 


Tour proceeds also go toward scholarships -- six are helping singers this spring -- and annual expenses.  


"Ticket sales help us with recurring expenses like sheet music, advertising and printing," said Mark Bean, president of the choir's board. 


"You can say the tour is an enjoyable way to reach a serious goal. And that is: keeping the Columbus Girlchoir open to all by auditions. Our weekly rehearsals prepare the choirs for big concerts like the one in New York. But they also stress technique, choral style, vocal health and music fundamentals. Dr. Dunn teaches some long-term values as well as serious music."  


This spring, 73 girls are in the junior and senior choirs. Through the years the Girlchoir has sung at festivals in Mississippi and North Carolina as well as in New Orleans. Now in its ninth year, the choir hopes to mark its 10th anniversary in 2014 with a special concert featuring a piece commissioned for the occasion. 


Meanwhile, works by Pergolesi, John Jenkins and Anton Armstrong will be on the Carnegie Hall program and join others for the choir's Spring Concert on April 27. That 7 p.m. performance will be at Mississippi University for Women's Poindexter Hall and include the Bel Canto Touring Choir of the Mississippi Girlchoir of Jackson. 




Columbus Girlchoir  


Tour of Kitchens 


What: Fundraiser featuring three kitchens in Bent Tree in Columbus, complete with floral arrangements, tastings. 


When: Saturday, April 20; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 


Where: Bent Tree community, off Highway 45 N., Columbus 


Tickets: $20 at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, Party and Paper, Pizazz, Girlchoir members or at the homes April 20. For more information, call 662-251-9272.



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