Chorale gears up for Christmas

The Montevallo Community Chorale will perform at two venues Dec. 2-3 in Montevallo to begin the Christmas season. (Contributed)


MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo Community Chorale will welcome the Christmas season with back-to-back concerts in Montevallo.

The first performance is a carol service at the American Village at 5 p.m. Dec. 2. The chorale is partnering with the choir of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Montevallo to sing carols between the service’s lessons. Director Maria Hanvy Wilson, who graduated from the University of Montevallo music department, said the chorale has been partnering with St. Andrew’s for the past five years.

The second concert will be Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at UM’s LaBaron recital hall. Admission is free, and while the concert will feature songs from the carol service at the American Village, the chorale will perform additional offerings.

Wilson took over directing two years ago when Dr. Gary Packwood, former head of music education at UM, moved to teach at Mississippi State University. Packwood founded the chorale when he arrived in Montevallo around 2003. Wilson was accompanying the chorale and working on her master’s at UM when Packwood left.

The 35-member chorale practices every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the university, though the time is subject to change next semester, Wilson said. Chorale membership is $25 per semester, or $50 per year, and it’s free for students.

“We invite anyone and everybody. Really, we have a high school student who sings with us. It’s not even an age limit,” Wilson said. “We have 15-year-olds to those in their 80s. We welcome everyone.”

The chorale, which performs mostly choral classics, has its busiest season in the spring.

“We try to partner with local churches and bring them in and do joint concerts with them,” Wilson said. “The Montevallo Chamber, in the past, always asked us to sing at their citizenship banquet every year. At the art walk, we’ve done performances, as well as in Orr Park. Spring is really our busiest time of year.”

The choir is made of UM music majors and other students, as well as community members from as far as Inverness and Chilton County.

“Music is for everyone, and we believe in sharing our music with the community. We’re giving people an outlet to share their love for singing,” Wilson said. “It’s really the only (community choir) organization outside Birmingham, so it would be quite a commute if you wanted to sing in a group. As far as I know, it’s one of the only community choirs in Shelby County.”

For more information about the Montevallo Community Chorale, email Wilson at