A world-famous choir will visit Lebanon on Saturday to help with a local project.
Mary Harris, president of the Wilson County Black History Committee, said the Wiley College Concert Choir from Marshall, Texas, has shown an avid desire to help the Roy Bailey African American Museum and History Center's Restoration Project.
They will be putting that desire into action Saturday at 4 p.m. when they visit First United Methodist Church at 415 West Main Street in Lebanon for a concert. Stephen Hayes directs the choir.
A personal connection between Harris and people at the school made the concert possible. She said getting such a famous group to come to Lebanon is considered a real feather in the cap of the committee.
"They've never toured here; they've come to Knoxville and Memphis in the past, but just sort of passed by us," she said. "The choir director heard about our restoration project when a local TV station had a story about it."
The A Cappella Choir of Wiley College performed for President Barack and Michelle Obama at a private White House Christmas Concert. This same group of talented musicians will be performing in concert in Lebanon.
Wiley College, founded in 1873, is a historically black, baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school will be familiar to some because a portion of the Denzel Washington film, "The Great Debaters," was filmed on the campus.
"It's one of the oldest Methodist black colleges," Harris said. "We're going to host a meet and greet with a light lunch at Picket Rucker UMC at 633 Glover St. in Lebanon, for an hour between 1 and 2 p.m., after that it's back to First UMC for the concert. Afterwards, they'll come back to Pickett Rucker, and we'll give them a box lunch, something for the road."
Everyone is invited to attend the meet and greet, the concert and/or the lunch afterwards.
"If they would like to help or come and meet them if they can't get to the concert," Harris said. "They can come and meet the choir and the director."
There will be no admission charge for the concert, but an offering for the restoration of the historic Pickett Chapel will be taken.
For more information, contact Harris at 615-444-9487.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.