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franklin county times

Singing Saints to present patriotic dinner theater at Briarwood BC

By Staff
GROUP PRACTICE Buddy McElroy, minister of music at Briarwood Baptist Church, leads The Singing Saints in a song. The 50-member group performs year-round in the Meridian area as well as other locales. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Ida Brown / religion editor
June 26, 2004
Shortly after assuming minister of music duties at Briarwood Baptist Church, Buddy McElroy began organizing a senior community choir.
Eight years later, the community choir, The Singing Saints, is 50 members strong and performs year-round in the Meridian area as well as other locales.
While the group usually performs Southern gospel music, on Monday and Tuesday they will present a program of patriotic songs through the dinner theater, "I Hear America Singing, Again."
Various American
musical styles
Scheduled at 6:30 p.m. each evening, the dinner theater is described by McElroy as gospel music performed in several American musical styles.
The first half of the performance is 45 minutes, then the choir will break to serve a dinner prepared by members.
After the meal, the program will resume for a 30-minute performance featuring patriotic songs, including a medley of armed forces theme songs and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance with flag bearers.
The program will conclude with performances of "God Bless America" and "God Bless the U.S.A.," accompanied by video and slide presentations.
Tickets are $10 and proceeds from the dinner theater will go toward transportation for the choir's away appearances.
More than singing
In just a few years, The Singing Saints has developed a strong reputation through local performances.
Each year, the group attends national conferences. In March, they performed at the Chautauqua Annual Conference in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., and in October will attend the Senior Adult Conference in Ridgecrest, N.C. And in the fall, the choir will record its fourth compact disc.
But according to members, The Singing Saints is more than performing before audiences.
Cooke, who is minister of music and assistant pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, said members receive as much as they give to the singing group.