FAIRMONT — The B.B. Thompson Young People’s Concert Choir will hit its 40th anniversary on a high note during its annual concert Sunday.
Since its first concert in April 1976, the B.B. Thompson Young People’s Concert Choir has brought Robeson County children from all backgrounds together for one common goal — praising God through song.
“It is important that we offer any youths and young adults who want it an opportunity to fellowship and sing the songs of Zion,” said A. Louise Lassiter, the choir’s director’
This year’s concert has a theme — “Through the Decades.” It will begin at at 4 p.m. at First Baptist Church on North Main Street in Fairmont.
“For our 40th anniversary, it was important that we return to the place where it all started,” Lassiter said. “Over the years, we have been blessed with a small army of talented singers, musicians and advisors who have volunteered their time, talent and treasure. We want to come together to celebrate and love each other.”
The concert Sunday will be Lassiter’s last as the choir’s main director. She will be succeeded by Ashley Herring, a 27-year-old who currently serves as an assistant director and sang in the choir since the age of 6, and David Ford Jr.
Herring said Sunday’s performance would include a variety of hymns, traditional music and spirituals that teh choir sang in the 70s as well as some more modern music by gospel artists like Kirk Franklin.
Herring remembered her time as a member of the choir, traveling to the Washington, D.C., area, to several churches throughout Virginia and finally to New York City, where the group waited in the cold for airtime on Good Morning America.
“I really want this choir to just be as much of a legacy as Mrs. Lassiter has left it,” Herring said. “I want it to have an impact and continue to make the choir exciting and fun. I want it to make just as much of an impact on the community as it did before, and I want to invest in these children. I don’t know that if she didn’t invest so much in us if I would be so invested now.”
Herring said she will miss Lassiter’s presence at rehearsals, and the way she took command of the room. Lassiter is known for her tough love, according to Herring, who loved Lassister’s impromptu Biblical lessons during rehearsals.
Herring and her co-director, Ford, will take turns directing the 200-strong choir during the concert, but Herring knows Lassiter will be there beyond the concert to guide her successors.
The choir’s directors and volunteers invite anyone who has participated in the choir to join its current members for the performance. In addition, Herring said anyone 3 to 30 years old interested in performing in the choir can join current and past members at rehearsal tonight at 6 at First Baptist Church in Fairmont.
On Saturday, the choir will have its third annual workshop beginning at 11 a.m. that will feature discussions on conflict resolution, health education and college preparation with a few rehearsals sprinkled between sessions.