Decatur Choral Society’s 2015 Scholarships

For several years the Decatur Choral Society has offered music scholarships to Macon County high school students. We currently provide four awards to talented singers who wish to develop their vocal skills. Students receive voice lessons for one semester at Millikin University’s School of Music Preparatory Department.

After the scholarship recipients audition, they will be assigned to a voice teacher by Andrea Pope, a member of the Decatur Choral Society’s Board of Directors, and teacher on Millikin’s voice faculty. The students are taught technical skills, ear training, music theory, phonation, and performance techniques. Many scholarship recipients are asked to perform a piece at an Opus 24 concert.

Following their auditions, a panel of judges selected four students for the 2015 scholarships. The judges were Cheryl Frye, Kelsie Gallegos, Elizabeth Merrill, Andrew Gallegos, and Milt Scott. Lynn Mallard volunteered to accompany each singer, a much appreciated serendipity. The winners are Lindsay Basil, Michael Maddox, and Isaac Cothern, who are all students at MacArthur High School, and Hannah Lightner who will be a senior at Argenta-Oreana High School.

The Decatur Choral Society will offer scholarships again next year. If you know a Macon County student who enjoys vocal music activities and will be a high school student next year, please suggest to them that they watch for a announcement on the web site.

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society


I really do understand how difficult it is to choose a favorite piece which Opus 24 performed at our 2015 spring concert. There have been times when people’s choices have surprised me, but not for this concert. I enjoyed singing each song, and each one had its special moments. At one time or another, parts of all of them would swirl around in my brain during the semester.

The concert’s theme piece, My Song in the Night has such a beautiful melodic flow, and brings up our feelings of contentment. Several singers remember singing this in the past for beloved choir directors, such as in my case, Millikin’s Richard Hoffland and Milt Scott. The British choral pieces were a challenge and delight to sing, with their folk imagery and, of course, the gift from the accompanying wind quartet. “Sicut Servus” brought some of the very best of our early choral heritage. So it will be safe to say that I always looked forward to starting our next piece, and felt joy at each piece’s last note.

But my favorite? It was Gjeilo’s Evening Prayer. The incredible talent of Claire Taylor, who accompanied Opus on the saxophone, always left me wishing that we could sing it again. At each Opus concert I frequently feel this way. How fortunate we are for such marvelous choral creations. Thank, you, our patrons and audience, for being there to hear and support our performances!

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society


When I was first asked to serve on the Decatur Choral Society (DCS) Board of Directors by Kathi, I just could not see myself doing that, and probably very bluntly told her NO. I was a singer in Opus, but was teaching full time, had a growing family, and was very involved in madrigals. All good excuses, yes?

Years later someone bravely asked me again. This time I said yes. I am glad I did! I am so sorry, Kathi, that I turned you down then, but I think I redeemed myself. I have learned so much, and worked hard on the board for the past six years. I didn’t start out with any preconceived ideas about what to do on the board. I just did whatever needed to be done, which grew into fundraising, keeping a data base, and collecting the mail.

I can honestly say that this is the best board on which I have ever worked. Everybody does their part and works to make it possible for Opus 24, our community chorus, to function. Thank you for that opportunity to support and work for quality choral music in the Decatur area.

If you are asked to be one the DCS Board of Directors, don’t hesitate, don’t say no, just jump in with both feet. You will not be sorry that you did. I have learned a lot through this process, with the help of Ron, a former treasurer of the society. I could not have done this job without the help of all of the other members of the board serving with me. It has been a team effort and a wonderful group which supports each other.

I hope that you will consider me a consultant for the board, and a lifetime supporter of Opus 24. Thanks!

Carol Drayton
Chair of Fundraising
Decatur Choral Society