CLINTON — A Clinton choral group will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend.
RiverChor will celebrate the anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. A reception will be held in the church’s gathering place following the concert.
Ten years ago this past February, a group of local singers came together at Zion Lutheran Church to begin rehearsing for a concert. The impetus for this fledging choir forming: The last group on the church’s concert series had canceled its appearance, and Zion’s director of music, Thea Engelson, needed to find a replacement. So she and her husband, Rob, director of Zion’s Senior Choir and choral director at The Franciscan University (now Ashford University), discussed what could be done.
In addition to his duties at The Franciscan University and Zion, Rob Engelson had also directed the annual “Messiah” performances in Clinton since 1997.
“We began operations with 26 invited singers and the goal of putting together a full concert in nine rehearsals,” Rob Engelson said. “We managed to accomplish that goal, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Since that first concert, RiverChor’s membership has been stable at between 35 and 45 singers who range in age from high school students to retirees and hail from several towns in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The choir has presented concerts every fall and spring and has performed on numerous occasions with the Clinton Symphony Orchestra.
It has also performed for Fulton’s Dutch Days, and in February 2011, it participated in the world premiere of a piece for symphonic band and chorus entitled “Reagan of Illinois,” written for the centennial of the birth of former president Ronald Reagan. In addition, it continues to be the “core group” for the annual “Messiah” performances.