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Social and Civic Whirl

Social and Civic Whirl: Norfolk State’s Concert Choir Performed At Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church

To a very appreciative audience, the Norfolk State University’s Concert Choir gave an outstanding performance on Friday, November 13, 2015. The women dressed in Black gowns and men in their tuxedos, under the direction of Dr. Carl W. Haywood, conductor, and Terry W. Butler accompanist, these young extremely talented people were very professional in their demeanor.

The Norfolk State Concert Choir, as well as Norfolk State, has had a long rich history with Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church. The first director of Norfolk State was a Bank Streeter, Samuel F. Scott; and the first president, another Bank Street Church member, was Dr. Lyman B. Brooks. Many faculty and staff members of Norfolk State were members and some are still members of Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church. Following the choir’s inception in 1945 under Harry Savage, Noah Francis Ryder was hired, in 1947, to conduct the choir. Ryder was also the choir director at Bank Street Baptist Church (now Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church). In later years, Dr. Carl Harris conducted the NSU Concert Choir and the choirs at Bank Street.

Dr. Carl W. Haywood, the present conductor, in addition to conducting the Norfolk State Concert Choir is known throughout Hampton Roads and beyond as a outstanding church musician and has served as the organist/director of the choir at Grace Episcopal Church and as the conductor of the I. Sherman Greene Chorale. The choir’s accompanist, Terry Butler, is the organist/choir director at Grace Episcopal Church and is co-owner of a dance and performing arts academy in Norfolk – Dance Dimensions.

The choir began this wonderful concert with “O Be Joyful.” Part 1 also included “Hymn To The Eternal Flame” featuring the melodious soprano voices Diamond Reid and Terri Douglas; and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” with the wonderful voices of soloists Johnnie Watkins/tenor and Cavon Mills/bass. Part II consisted of “Sing and Rejoice” and “This Day.” Following intermission, with bongos playing and the choir swaying, the great tenor voices of Lorenzo Mitchell and Rudolph Jones led the choir in singing “Sorida” – Greetings my brothers and sisters, love one another. With the wonderful tenor voice of Javon Sledge featured, the choir sang “Russian Picnic.”

During Part IV, “Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass;” “There Is A Balm” arranged by Dr. Carl Haywood and beautifully sung in a lovely alto voice by Nicole Houston; and “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel” with Loneill Swinton and his sensational tenor voice. The last song, a gospel piece, “He’s Been Just That Good” was conducted by a talented student.

At a reception, in the John B. Henderson Fellowship Hall, Bank Street choir member and staunch supporter of excellent music, Margaret Davis, presented a money tree (funds donated by church members) to Dr. Haywood for the Norfolk State University Concert Choir.

On December 6, 2015, the choir will hold their Christmas concert. For more information, go to

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