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Faith Community Chorus continues concert tradition during Fourth of July celebration

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

FAITH — The Faith Community Chorus continued its tradition of delivering a series of patriotic hymns to a packed congregation at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church Sunday during Faith’s Fourth of July celebration.

In addition to the national anthem, the concert began with “America,” “In God We Still Trust,” and “God Bless America” before a solemn flag-folding ceremony. Each of the 13 folds honors principles foundational to America, included veterans, armed service members, their mothers and fathers and the nation’s rights and freedoms granted by God.

Tom Duncan of the U.S. Army and Samantha Hardesty of the U.S. Navy performed the flag-folding ceremony, which was followed by “Lord, Have Mercy.” Narrator Karl Hales said “it is from God alone that countries and individuals have mercy.”

Hales also took a moment to honor and call for a round of applause for three World War II veterans in the crowd, including 95-year-old Luther Fry, 100-year-old Mark Lingle and 96-year-old Vernon Lingle.

Choir members Diane Freeman, Jill Fisher, Morgan Brown and Diane Goodnight led a series of songs intended to honor America’s past conflicts, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “I Will Follow Him” and “From a Distance.” After a performance of “Let Freedom Ring,” all of the nation’s armed forces were honored with a tribute featuring Ken Bradley and Grady Moore of the Air Force, Duncan of the Army, Linn Gardner of the Coast Guard, Hardesty of the Navy and Bill Retallick and Graham Reynolds of the U.S. Marines.

Toward the end of the program, choir member Jayne Lingle honored Daisy Bostian with a decorative plaque depicting the words, “What a Wonderful World.” Bostian was credited for helping arrange the program year after year despite not having her name recognized. Bostian told the crowd that receiving the plaque and participating in Faith’s Fourth of July celebration was “the highlight of her year.”

Prior to the performance of “What a Wonderful World,” Hales said the song was fitting, noting the hardships and lives lost to COVID-19 and the nation’s emergence out of the pandemic at this time.

“By the grace of God we have come out of the dark and back into the light,” he said.

To conclude the program, the audience joined the choir in a performance of the chorus of “Let There Be Peace.”

Though the program is dedicated to the nation’s active and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces each year, this year’s also honored Ron Turbyfill, the former leader of The Rowan Big Band All-Stars, who normally perform before each year’s Fourth of July concert. Hales said Turbyfill has been diagnosed with stage four brain cancer and will no longer lead the group. Turbyfill is also the former executive director of Communities In Schools of Rowan County.

“We’ll miss him and his music,” Hales said.

Hales thanked Novant Health for sponsoring the concert this year and 15 churches across Rowan County for participating and helping.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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