published Friday, June 1st, 2012

Saturday concert remembers Chattanooga Choral Society's founder

The Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song will present its annual Lee Norris Mackey Memorial Concert at 5 p.m. Saturday in Second Presbyterian Church, 700 Pine St.

The performance is free, but a $10 donation is encouraged to help fund the choral society's educational projects. According to Choral Society member Fred McCray, those projects have included scholarships to collegians and a children's concert at Memorial Auditorium.

The late Dr. Mackey was a co-founder and former director of the Choral Society, according to information provided by Sylvia Dance.

In addition to being an educator for more than 30 years, he undertook a research project to investigate the programming, performance and recordings of African-American spirituals by choirs of historically black colleges and universities. His research found there was a significant decline in the performance of spirituals, verifying his belief in the need for a choral society.

According to McCray, a former classmate of Mackey's, the late educator sought a grant with which he helped found the local choral society.

The choral society will be joined by guest artists The InSpirit Men's Chorus and the Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy Choir for Saturday's program.

"InSpirit has been here before," said McCray. "It's a group of about 30 men from Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia who are professionals and enjoy singing. They travel extensively. They do a broad variety of music, but basically sacred music."

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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