When the BACS opens the 2017-2018 season of the Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts in December the chorus will be under the direction of new but experienced choral directors

When the BACS opens the 2017-2018 season of the Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts in December the chorus will be under the direction of new but experienced choral directors. This season we will find conductors, Dana Langford, and Nancy Totman planning and conducting the concerts presented by the choral society.

These ladies will be replacing the retiring maestro, Merel Young. Young, who began conducting the chorus in 2004 with a performance of Handel's “Messiah,” ended his tenure at the helm with another “Messiah” offering for the 2016-1017 seasons. In 2004 the chorus was a made up of 31 voices. Last season the number had swollen to 42.

After BACS founder, Eugenia Watkins, retired, Young literally picked up the baton to continue bringing good quality choral performances to the Apalachicola community. During his tenure of the past dozen years the chorus has done Stainer's “Crucifixion,” Faure's “Requiem,’ Rutter’s “Magnificat,” Handel's “Messiah,” and Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” plus the music of Lerner and Lowe. Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin and Edward Grieg.

The chorus has been fortunate to have had the outstanding accompanying provided by Bedford Watkins and Janis Ramos plus Karl Lester and Caroline Barclift. Young attributes much of the success of the chorus to the excellent contributions of these pianists.

Young has enjoyed his tenure with BACS. There have been so many dedicated singers who have made this community chorus the enjoyable group it has been to conduct. He thanked them and hoped they will continue to support the chorus with their time and talent and keep giving the community the fine example of choral singing it has enjoyed for so long.

The Bay Area Choral Society in practicing weekly for their winter concerts, Thursday, Dec. 7, beginning at 6 p.m. ET at the Port St. Joe First United Methodist Church, and on Saturday, Dec. 10, beginning at 4 p.m. ET at Trinity Episcopal Church in Apalachicola. This year the Chorus is presenting Camille Saint-Saen’s “Christmas Oratorio” with Nancy Totman conducting, and a variety of Christmas Choral selections featuring works by John Rutter and many others; Dana Langford will conduct these selections, and Janis Ramos will accompany the chorus on the piano. Admission is a suggested donation of $5.