As the air cools and the nights lengthen, thoughts turn to the beloved holidays of the coming weeks. Moore County Choral Society has been thinking about holidays since early September when it began preparations for its holiday concert “Merry and Bright.”

The concert will be presented Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., in the Owens Auditorium at Bradshaw Performing Arts Center, on the campus of Sandhills Community College.

The Choral Society will be accompanied by Moore Brass, percussion, and collaborative pianist and organist Stephen Gourley.

Gourley, a native of Goldsboro, holds degrees from the University of North Texas and the North Carolina School of the Arts. Since March of 2014, he has served as director of music at The Village Chapel in Pinehurst, where his duties include serving as organist for all worship services, conducting and accompanying the Chapel Choir, conducting the Handchime Choir, overseeing the children’s music program, and administering and executing the Chapel’s concert series.

Locally, he serves on the executive boards of the Fayetteville-Sandhills chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Moore County Choral Society. He is also a member of the Royal School of Church Music in America. Moore County Choral Society is under the direction of Anne Dorsey who has served as artistic director and conductor since 2002.

Among the highlights of the concert is the rousing showstopper “Rise Up!” arranged by Michael McElroy and Joseph Joubert. This exciting gospel arrangement of the traditional spiritual “Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow” has a Broadway flair and will be accompanied by piano, organ, brass and percussion.

Also included are arrangements of “Patapan” and “Deck the Hall” for choir and four hand piano accompaniment. Peter Dierkes, currently serving in the U.S. Army, will serve as the second accompanist. He is the organist at Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Southern Pines.

The Moore County Choral Society is supported by sponsorships from Lowe’s Foods, The Arc of Moore County and Wes Smith Realty, as well as many other generous business and individual donors.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students, and are available at the Campbell House, Kirk Tours of Pinehurst, online at TicketMeSandhills, from Society members and at the door.

For more information about Moore County Choral Society, visit

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