The III Century Singers Christmas concert will be filled with holiday favorites and much more this year.

The 45th annual concert, which wasn’t held last year due to COVID, will take place Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church at 125 S. John St., Goldsboro, and Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church at 300 N. Chestnut St., Mount Olive.

Admission is free.

Artistic director Carl Ashley, who’s been with the group about five years, said the first part of the concert will be 15 to 20 minutes and will include some well-know carols such as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Silver Bells” and “White Christmas.”

The second 15 minutes will be the Festival of Carolis by Joseph M. Martin. It’s a retelling of the Christmas story and contains a lot of traditional carols, like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Away in a Manger.”

The entire concert will be about an hour and 15 minutes, including a short intermission.

“There’s quite a bit of audience participation,” Ashley said. “We’ll have them sing along with us on a number of the carols.”

The singers will be accompanied by Tom Casey on piano and some other instrumentalists, some of which will be local.

“It’s especially a good thing now because we couldn’t do it last year,” Ashley said. “So we’re very excited to be able to do this again.”

Ashley said the group does concerts like this because its members enjoy singing.

“And it’s kind of our Christmas gift to the community,” he said.

“III Century Singers was originally formed as the Bicentennial Singers in 1976,” said member George Strunk. “It’s a group that wanted to celebrate the Nations Bicentennial with song and quality vocal performances.”

Strunk said the members had such a good time that they came up with a new name and continued singing in the community. That name will last until 2076, when they will consider a new name.

“The group, composed of individuals representing a broad cross section of the community, decided that Christmas music should not be performed in the spring, along with patriotic, theater, folk and other styles, so Christmas concerts became a tradition,” he said.

Strunk said that 24 singers, accompanied by Casey and directed by Ashley, have been working since September to prepare to perform the Christmas concerts.

Singers will include Alice Adams, Vincent Ambrosio, Marie Ashley, Jane Beaman, Ruth Batchelor, Ann Burns, LaDonna Clary, Donna Countryman, Sarah Edmundston, Thurman Futch, Tommy Gibson and Sharon Jones.

Also, Dan Kilgore, Joyce Langston, Barbara Lee, Sandra Merritt, Hope Meyerhoeffer, Lisa Morgan, John Potter, Karen Prosser, Randy Prosser, Pier Protz, Candy Smith, Mary Emma Stevens and Strunk.

III Century Singers is a nonprofit organization and a program partner of the Arts Council of Wayne County.

For more information about the Christmas concerts, call 919-735-2516.

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