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Sunday afternoon delight

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Music study club hosts tea to benefit chamber choir

By Greg Summers

In 1942, Winston Churchill said that tea was more important than ammunition in strengthening the moral of British troops.

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Tea didn’t hurt Uncle Sam’s war efforts, either, said Betty Broome.

Broome, who was a youngster during World War II, still recalls how women in Van Wyck would hold afternoon teas to raise money.

“Oh goodness, yes,” Broome said. “The ladies enjoyed getting together and would show up in their hats and gloves to raise the funds for the yarn to make helmet liners for the boys overseas. That’s how I learned to knit.”

There’s nothing quite like an elegant cup of tea for a good cause.

That’s just what the members of the Lancaster Music Study Club did Sunday afternoon.

The club hosted Tea at the Springs House to benefit the Lancaster Chamber Choir.

The afternoon tea coincides with the chamber choir’s annual Christmas concert, which is 6 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church.

The study club’s objective is promoting a great a greater interest in the masters of music, both modern and ancient, and their compositions.

Its goal, Broome said, is cultivating a greater interest in classical music.

“The chamber choir offers a kind of music that no one else in Lancaster provides and we wanted to do something to support them,” Broome said. 

The setting was genteel, Southern holiday charm at its best, with white gloves, hats, lipstick imprints left on bone china, crystal, silver, fine linens and tray-balancing, lace apron-wearing servers.

“I can’t recall a party like this since my granddaughters were young,” said Martha Johnson, a member of chamber choir who helped with the serving.   

Guests sipped tea while enjoying conversation, cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad in the shell, sausage balls, vegetable sandwiches, scones with turkey and plum sauce and lemon tart pound cake.

Carolyn Taylor, who portrayed a gracious Lena Jones Springs, (the second wife of Col. Leroy Springs), served as hostess for the afternoon.

Taylor shared stories about the history of the Springs House and Lena Jones Springs’ role as the wife of a textile entrepreneur.

A Pulaski, Tenn., native Lena Jones Springs was the chairman of the English Department at Queens College before marrying widower Leroy Springs in 1913.

In 1922, Lena Jones Springs became a committeewoman for the Democratic Party and was nominated for the office of vice president in 1924.

Although she didn’t win the nomination, humorist Will Rogers was an ardent supporter, saying that Lena Jones Springs should be considered for “head of the ticket.” 

With Taylor serving as host, tea guests were entertained with music selections by Tom Eggleston, Angie Matthews, Feliste Ellis, Elaine Reese and Heather Blackmon.

Broome said the music study club was pleasantly surprised by the response to the tea.

“We set a goal of 40 guests and then extended it to 50 after the interest grew,” Broome said. “”We stopped at 64 and are very happy with how many came out in support of the choir.”    

Sunday’s concert

The program, “Sing, Angels, Kings, and Folk!” was inspired by the anthem of that name by Ben Allaway. The concert will feature well-loved Advent and Christmas carols and excerpts from masterworks such as Handel’s Messiah, along with an audience sing-a-long.

The choir has been working hard said member Becky Hamby, who was a server at the afternoon tea.

“We really have a new breath of fresh air,” Hamby said. “On Monday nights, we start practice at 6:30 and end at 8:30. And we’re singing the whole time.”

Proceeds from the tea will be used to defray sheet music costs for the chamber choir and hiring guest directors when needed.

A complete set of sheet music can cost up to $75 per selection, said chamber Margaret Walsh Monroe, director of the Lancaster Chamber Choir.

“This is a very nice way to get ladies together to showcase some local talent and to get ready for the concert,” Monroe said. “It’s a great idea.”

Sadly, Taylor (in character as Springs) said she won’t be able attend  Sunday’s chamber choir concert.

“I’m can’t,” she said. “I’m from another dimension. But I can wish everyone a merry Christmas.”

Want to go?

WHAT: The Lancaster Chamber Choir Christmas Concert

WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 700 N. Main St.

HOW MUCH: Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. A reception will follow.

INFORMATION: (803) 283-8927