FAIRMONT – Fairmont native Craig Walker didn’t find much time to keep up his passion for music after he graduated high school.
“I did a lot of singing and performance all throughout school and high school, it was a big part of my life,” Walker said. “I got away from it after I graduated and haven’t really done anything since and really missed it.”
Chris Yost also had his passion for music somewhat put on hold once he was out of school and had a kid.
“After my wife and I had our son, I didn’t have a lot of time for music anymore even though it was a big part of my life,” Yost said. “I had Greg DeVito as a teacher in high school, he suggested I join the choir and I thought, ‘Why not?’”
On Sunday, Yost, Walker and about 25 other singers gathered together to perform once again for an audience, as part of the community choir Vocal Tapestry. The choir hasn’t performed a regular concert since last year, other than putting on a Christmas concert.
“Our concert is going to feature a wide variety of music from traditional folk songs to patriotic anthems and some gospel,” said Betty Lee, a soprano in Vocal Tapestry. “Allow our music to speak to you, to uplift you, and to hopefully touch your heart.”
While the concert was not framed around any particular holiday, the theme for the program was “An American Tapestry.” The performance focused on the sound of Americana music, and the group performing songs such as “Shenandoah,” “American Anthem” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Under the direction of DeVito, the singers moved the audience with harmonies. They also encouraged participation from the veterans in the audience during renditions of songs of the different military branches.
With these songs meant to be the content of the performance, the background did not escape the performers, who took a moment during the show to remember the founder of the group, Doug Bunner.
“Doug Bunner started Vocal Tapestry in 2006,” Lee said. “Although he has passed away – last September – we are carrying on his legacy.”
Vocal Tapestry held a memorial concert for Bunner last year,
“We are doing our best to carry on the tradition that he started,” said Shawn Dunn, a former music teacher at Fairmont Senior High School and bass in Vocal Tapestry. “Everything we do, we are trying to honor and live up to the legacy that he started.”
A longtime member of the group, Dunn also said being able to participate and spread the joy of music is a pleasure he had missed in his time away from being a music teacher
“It’s a really good way to stay active in music because it was my vocation,” Dunn said. “Music is a big part of my life so this is a great way to keep active and involved in music and keep it a part of my life.”
The other singers talked about their time in rehearsals, where the individuals got to get in the groove with one another through practice of the songs. As announced during the concert, the group is always open to audition new members, and the current members couldn’t express their pleasure of being in the group.
“Vocal Tapestry is a great group,” said Yost, a tenor in Vocal Tapestry. “I’m really excited to be in it. Quite honored.”
United by a love of music, the members of Vocal Tapestry perform for no other reason than that, and — as Walker can attest to— the feeling of getting back into the art is fulfilling.
“It’s been nice to be back in it,” said Walker, who is a tenor in Vocal Tapestry. “It’s filling a void that I’ve had recently. It’s just a good outlet.”