Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society 
  Vol. 49                                     ONLINE  ONLINE  ONLINE                                  July 2019
Providing financial support   since 1999 for
The Rockbridge Choral Society and The Rockbridge Youth Chorale   

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in Music 

Phillippe Gaubert 7/3/1879

Gustav Mahler 7/7/1860

Woody Guthrie 7/14/1912
Coming Soon...
    As the Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society becomes the Rockbridge Choral Society and July begins the fifth year of Alla-Breve On-Line, we are getting a new logo.  Our long-time graphic artist Jeanne Pedersen and our board marketing sub-committee have developed sample logos which the board is considering at its August meeting.  This new logo will be our masthead going forward and will be used on all our communications materials, programs, posters, the website, and social media accounts.  When you tune in for the August edition, we'll have a new look.  If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to your music-loving friends.  Have a great summer!

Volunteer Spotlight - David Sorrells, Poster Boy
         Before every concert the Rockbridge Choral Society has to get the word out. We rely heavily on our singers to distribute concert poster announcements throughout the community, and we have a coordinator for that. David Sorrells, baritone/tenor depending on who needs him, is our new volunteer in this department. David is a Lexington native who has been singing most of his life in church choirs, and a-capella groups and men's choruses and community choruses from Lauderdale Presbyterian Church to the White House. He and his musically gifted mother sang the Brahms Requiem with the Rockbridge Chorus in the 1970's. David 'sang around' in this community for most of his youth. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1980 with a degree in Drama - Acting and Directing. After college, he applied his skills as Director of Theatre Arts at Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, NC. There he and his students produced musical plays including West Side Story, Children of Eden, Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd, and Jesus Christ Superstar. David says it was a dream job, but after 12 years, he was ready to move on.
       Seven years ago David moved back to Lexington to support his mom as she transitioned through retirement. His return has found him singing again with his church choir roots at Lauderdale, as well as with other local church choirs and community choruses. In the fall of 2018 he returned to the Rockbridge Choral Society where he says he has been challenged musically by the repertoire of that chorus and that of the Rockbridge Chamber Singers. Clearly, David loves to sing, and we are glad and thankful that he is back and lending his voice to ours. And, last fall, he volunteered to be the new poster coordinator when John Rafferty, also a singing volunteer, retired after many years at that post.
       We are supremely grateful to all our volunteers. Some are singers and some are not, and they are all among our most ardent supporters. If you are interested in knowing more about how you can help the Rockbridge Choral Society, please send us an email. You can reach the publisher of this newsletter at or our Executive Director, Melanie Griffis Hooper, at

" A Reputable Youngster"
       Jazz journalist, James Karst, stumbled on an 8 second film clip on the Getty Images website and instantly knew the newsboy smiling at the camera in the footage could be Louis Armstrong. In 1915 Louis Armstrong was a newsboy in New Orleans. He would have been 13 or 14 years old, recently released from a boys' reformatory where he had been sent for shooting off a pistol in the air and where he learned to play trumpet, and in need of a job. Since he was just starting on his musical career, playing a few local gigs, he likely would not have considered himself a musician. His occupation was newsboy.
       In those days there weren't many black newsboys in New Orleans. This video was made 6 blocks from the corner of Poydras and Baronne streets where Armstrong was known to sell newspapers. In the short clip of a crowded sidewalk, a newsboy crosses the field, turns to smile and then moves on. That smile, the location and the date so convinced Karst that this was young Armstrong that he reached out to Dr. Kurt Luther, a professor at Virginia Tech known for his work identifying people in Civil War-era photographs. Luther compared the facial features of the boy in the video to those seen in the earliest known images of Armstrong. Karst accessed census records to verify the small number of black newsboys on the New Orleans records at the time the film was made and where they lived and sold newspapers. If Karst's theory is correct, the clip from 1915 shows Armstrong at a turning point in his early life, years before he became a jazz legend. There is that famous smile. You be the judge.

Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
Rockbridge Choral Society
P.O. Box 965
Lexington, VA 24450