Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches celebrates 25 years in the community

Posted at 7:08 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 04:38:39-05

It's a joyful noise that you've probably never heard.

For the last 25 years, the Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches has been belting out tunes in all genres.

Their primary focus is bringing light to a dark, yet hopeful chapter, of American history.

“Our mission is the performance and preservation of the Negro spiritual, the song that grew out the slavery experience,” says Dr. Orville Lawton, founder of the Chorale.

“It gives a strong sense of our heritage, and understanding from whence we've come, and we're trying to get to,” Chorale president Lee Hooks added.

Lawton says there was interest in the idea from the very beginning.

“I got 25 singers that I knew and asked them to bring someone, and by the time we did the dedication, I actually had 100 singers,” Lawton said.

In those 25 years, their travels have taken the Chorale around the world, from performing in West Africa, to right here in our area, where the group performed with the Palm Beach Opera earlier this month.

Claudine Cotton has been with the Chorale since the beginning.

“It wraps you, it warms you, and when you're finished, you're tired, but you feel great,” said Cotton. “It’s a good group to be with. In here, everybody gets along.”

Leslie Powell, on the other hand, just joined last August.

“It is amazing,” said Powell. “And to say that I have a voice in the group, I feel like that's truly a blessing.”

It's a group made up of men and women, old and young, from different backgrounds.

They all want to send a united message they say is still relevant today, of a past that shouldn't be forgotten, and a brighter future they hope to embrace.

All of it done in a language we can all understand.

“Music actually transforms people's ideas, makes them look at things a different way when they can hear it, and feel it, and be a part of it.”

The Ebony Chorale will be having their 25th anniversary celebration on May 28 at 5 p.m., at Palm Beach Lakes High School.

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