History of the Hartsville Community Chorus
The Hartsville Comunity Chorus (formerly Hartsville Civic Chorale) was formed in 1981 by two Coker College professors, John Stewart, Professor of English and Dr. Joseph Jackson, Music Professor, as a successor to the Hartsville Choral Society, which was founded in the 1960’s by Stennis Walden, also of Coker. The Choral Society generally performed sacred anthems and carols and included membership primarily from local churches. The first program by a combination of local churches, essentially the initial performance of a community chorus, was in April of 1961. Thus the Community Chorus, in one form or another has been in existence for nearly 50 years. In its early years the Hartsville Community Chorus annually performed Handel’s Messiah at Christmas and other major choral works in the spring, often with a small orchestra.
Upon Dr. Jackson’s departure in 1990, our current director, Dr. James Beaumier, assumed his post. The HCC began to perform its annual Messiah concert and spring performance with the accompaniment of regional orchestras, including the Florence Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and in recent seasons, the Long Bay Symphony. Our concerts have often been broadcast statewide on South Carolina Public Radio on “Carolina Concerts” featuring “The Best of South Carolina Music and Musicians.” The Chorus performs at least twice a year and has in the past offered additional performances.
In the summer of 1994, the Chorus toured Europe along with Coker students and alumni. They performed a variety of music including selections from Haydn’s Creation and sang in England, Wales, Holland, Belgium and France.
Under the direction of Anna White Hill, we expanded our mission in 1995 by establishing a Children’s Chorale, which performs twice a year either with the Chorale or independently. Musical professionals in the community recommend children in fourth through eighth grades for this excellent Children’s Chorale with over thirty children participating each year.
The Chorus has also collaborated with the Coker Singers, the “In the Wings” Theater company, the Hartsville Middle School Magnet Choir, and Hartsville High School Choirs. In the future we hope to expand our collaboration with yet other choral ensembles.
The HCC is known to perform challenging repertoire, including both traditional and new music and the ensemble has become one of the best community choruses in the state as well as a leading non-profit arts organization in the region. The HCC is supported financially by numerous individuals and donors and has received foundation support from the Black Creek Arts Council, The Coker Foundation and the Byerly Foundation.