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Civil War remembered in song by Manassas Chorale

For those who enjoy Civil War music and stories, the Manassas Chorale presented a special treat with “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The Oct. 7 and 8 shows offered a blend of music and oral history based on the diaries and letters of regular soldiers and loved ones, slaves and former slaves and President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.

The lobby became crowded with people looking forward to seeing the performance, which started at 7:30 p.m. Some of them have been devoted followers of the chorale or patrons of Hylton and some were first-time attendees.

Manassas resident Milton Riley, for example, is on the board of the chorale and his wife, Jane, works for the Manassas Museum. “This facility is great. We were here for Christmas music last year. The sound is excellent. We really enjoyed it,” he said.

It was Paula House’s first time at Hylton. She said she sang with the Manassas Chorale four years ago as an alto. She said she’d heard that the Hylton Center was one of the 10 best places in the world to hold a concert. “I’m looking forward to seeing this. They are [in a great] place to sing and a fun group to be part of. I miss it.”

Dan Sobrio of Manassas said he and his wife, Kathy, come to Hylton and other venues as often as possible. “This one is so convenient,” he said. “We’ve sat in different places and never had a bad seat. For the gala opening, we sat way up and back and we could hear everything. It was perfect. I was told that no matter where you sit, you’re no more than 80 feet away, so that’s very intimate in design. I also hear that it’s one of the 10 best in the country. I don’t know if that’s true but it’s awfully nice.”

During the intermission, Robert and Denise Florinda of Bristow said they were enjoying the show. “We just moved here from New Jersey and heard about the center and met someone in the chorale. This is a very professional level of singing. The way they’ve woven the music with the stories is unique. This is marvelous,” Denise Florinda said.

According to the program book, the Manassas Chorale, directed by Rebecca D. Verner and accompanied by Jonathan Laird, includes more than a hundred voices.

Read the full story on page 19 of the Oct. 28 issue of the Bull Run Observer.

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