Baptist chorale brings musical gift to White House
December 21 2001 by Ken Camp , Associated Baptist Press

Baptist chorale brings musical gift to White House | Friday, Dec. 21, 2001

Friday, Dec. 21, 2001

Baptist chorale brings musical gift to White House

By Ken Camp Associated Baptist Press DALLAS, Texas - Members of a Baptist church chorale expected singing at the White House to be the thrill of a lifetime, but even they were surprised at how their gift of Christmas music would be so deeply appreciated and needed by the White House staff.

The 22-voice chorale, auditioned from the sanctuary choir at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, sang carols in the East Room of the White House on Dec. 7.

Terry Goolsby, minister of worship and music at the church, first contacted the White House in mid-summer to explore the possibility of the group performing a Christmas concert. Goolsby had taken a choir to the White House in 1996 when he worked at another church, so he was familiar with the procedure for requesting an invitation.

"Then Sept. 11 came along, and we didn't know what that would mean," Goolsby said. "By October, I was telling the chorale that the White House concert was looking iffy."

But about that time, he received word that the invitation had been granted.

The White House currently is closed to the public, but Goolsby learned that it would be decorated for the holiday season, and the concert would be open to volunteers, staff, their families and elected officials.

The chorale, along with accompanist Christina Harmon, arrived at the White House two-and-a-half hours prior to their scheduled performance to receive security clearance. The group passed through four security checkpoints before finally arriving in the East Room.

Neither the President nor the First Lady attended the concert. President Bush was in Norfolk, Va., at a memorial service marking the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

But several hundred members of the White House staff and others passed through the East Room during the two-hour performance.

After the concert, when the group received a private tour of the White House, members learned just how meaningful their presence had been to the staff and their families. Even usually reserved Secret Service agents were "outgoing" in expressing their gratitude, Goolsby said.

"An administration representative who greeted us broke down and cried as she talked about the strain the staff has felt," Goolsby said. "She told me, 'It just didn't seem like Christmas around here this year. What a difference it made to have you sing for us.'"

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12/21/2001 12:00:00 AM by Ken Camp , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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