WALKER -- When the Livingston Parish Children’s Choirs presents its annual Spring Concert, 17-year-old Benjamin Haley knows who people will actually be coming to see.
“We stole the show last time,” Haley said of the newly-formed Guys Only Chorus. “And we are the show this time.”
The Guys Only Chorus, which made its debut during the LPCC Christmas Concert last December, will return to the stage when it accompanies around 100 singers in grades K-12 during the 28th Annual Spring Concert on Friday, May 3.
The concert, slated to begin at 7 p.m., will take place inside the sanctuary at Live Oak United Methodist Church in Watson. Tickets for the show are $5 each and can be purchased at the door or by visiting www.lpccsing.org. There will also be a free nursery for young children and babies.
The showcase will feature a plethora of young singers who have earned All-District or All-State status in the Louisiana Music Educators and American Choral Directors associations. The singers come from three choirs: the Apprentice Choir, made up of children in grades K-2; the Chorus, made up of children in grades 3-9; and the Chorale, an auditioned choir made up of grades 4-12.
But like last December, the children singers won’t be the only ones singing on stage: They’ll be joined by a group of nearly 40 grown men who, as LPCC director Barbara Walker said, “just love singing.”
“The rest of my choirs are real educational programs, but this is different,” Walker said. “It’s a laid-back atmosphere, it’s free, and they come as much as they can. It’s kind of like a pickup basketball game — it’s just fun. We’re a hodgepodge of people who like to sing.”
For most of the men in the choir, it’s not their first time singing publicly. Many have sung in church choirs, school choirs or even LPCC in the past. Four of them — Craig Stafford, Stacey Jones, Bill Waldrep and Supreme Court Justice Jeff Hughes — sang together in the 1960s as part of the Denham Springs boys choir under LPCC co-founder Regina Walker.
“Some of us used to ride our bikes to practice,” Hughes said, drawing a laugh from the others.
In Friday’s concert, the Guys Only Chorus will perform three songs in four-part harmony, which Walker said is “really good.” The men will also join LPCC singers for performances of “God Bless America” and “This is America.”
They rehearsed their songs during a recent practice at Walker Baptist Church, their deep voices filling the small room they were in.
“I like the way that sounded,” Walker said after they concluded a song in “sforzando,” an Italian term for a note with sudden, strong emphasis.
Last December, the Guys Only Chorus performed “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Silent Night” before closing with “O Mary, Don’t You Weep.” It was a performance Walker fondly remembers — not to mention the looks on the men’s faces when they realized how good they sounded.
“You could see everybody sit up a little taller and it was like, ‘Wow, we sound good,’” she recalled. “They’re gonna sound fabulous again.”