The Arts

Financial concerns could make this final season for North Fork Chorale

discuss the future of North Fork Chorale with Lois Ross, right, last week.
Gene and Mary Yourch  discuss the future of North Fork Chorale with Lois Ross, right, last week. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

To help raise money and continue putting on its twice yearly concert series, the group has been working on community outreach by advertising its need for new members. However, the ads have received limited results, Mr. Yourch said.

“It turned up a few interests,” he said. “But their lives diverge from ours.”

Not ready for the final curtain call yet, members are continuing to rally around their love of singing, rehearsing weekly for the upcoming winter concert series on Dec. 5-7.

“This group has such a rich history,” Ms. Ross said. “It is the future that has us worried.”

The group began small as the Southold Town Choral Society in 1936. Members would meet at a Southold home for light dinners, followed by practice sessions in the town clerk’s office.

The only local singing group at the time, the chorale quickly grew to more than 40 members, then 60 and as many as 80 people from Orient to Wading River joining. The group was later incorporated under the name North Fork Chorale and became a mainstay in the community for its spring and holiday concerts. The group eventually became so large it moved its rehearsals to First Presbyterian Church of Southold, where it still practices every Monday.

In fact, since its establishment the only time the group did not practice or perform was during World War II, when gas rationing limited driving and made it difficult for members to attend rehearsals, Ms. Ross said. It’s a tradition Ms. Ross fears losing.

“It would be wonderful to say that even if we couldn’t afford to put on concerts or if no one came to listen we would still get together to sing,” Ms. Ross said. “I don’t know if we would, though.”

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