The Eastern Shore Choral Society has been a part of Baldwin County for 32 years. Since 1992, the ESCS has been committed to bringing amazing choral music to the Eastern Shore. The Choral Society is a non-auditioned community chorus comprised of members who love to sing, high school age to the young at heart, with a wide variety of musical skills. The only requirements to be part of the ESCS family is the ability to match pitch, a commitment to attend rehearsals, and have an absolute love of singing. In 2011, the ESCS was composed of 45 singers. In just 8 years, we grew to over 100.
Here at the ESCS, we strive every concert season to bring our audiences an entertaining and enriching choral program of the highest quality and amazing variety. In recent years, we have performed such large classical works as Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Rutter’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Handel’s Messiah, along with lighter programs that include spirituals, Patriotic and American Folk numbers, and Sacred Harp music. Past seasons have included standard greats of choral literature by Morten Lauridson, Rachmaninoff, Aaron Copland, Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Forrest, popular Broadway hits and the music of the early 1900s. The music we present each season provides something for everyone.
Community plays a very important role in the success of the ESCS. We are very thankful for all of the community support and we look to the community for ways to return that generosity. In past years, the ESCS has performed a Veteran’s Day Concert and participated in a community Gospel Fest that help raise funds for the local Rotary Youth Club. We’ve also performed with the Baldwin Pops, a local community band, at the July 4th and Memorial Day concerts in Fairhope. In the Spring of 2018, the ESCS was honored to sing with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and later that same year, we were the feature chorus for the MSO’s Holiday Concert. In June 2018, twenty-seven members of the ESCS had the honor of traveling to New York City to perform Dan Forrest’s amazing Jubilate Deo at Carnegie Hall with choral groups from across the country. In June 2023, twenty-one ladies from ESCS toured in Italy and sang at the Duomo in Orvieto, St. Ignatius in Rome, and for mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
While one of the main goals of the ESCS is the entertainment of our audience, an even bigger mission is to provide financial support to local choral programs in Baldwin County middle and high schools. We understand the importance that the study of music has and its lifelong impact on the lives of young people. We continue to encourage, foster, and nurture future musicians and music educators. If you believe as we do, please consider becoming a supporter of the ESCS and join in our quest to make music a part of every student’s life.
Dr. Laura Moore is the Chair of the Music Department at the University of South Alabama, where she also serves as the Director of Choral Activities. She directs the Concert Choir and Chorale, and teaches conducting and music history at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She received her doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Other earned degrees include the BA from Davidson College, a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from UNC Greensboro. Dr. Moore has served as the President of Alabama ACDA and Registrar for the Alabama chapter of NATS.
Dr. Moore is active as a collaborative pianist, having served as staff accompanist at regional Metropolitan Opera and NATS auditions, and performing in faculty and student recitals at the University of South Alabama. She has served as clinician and adjudicator in North Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama. As part of the Alabama Ambassadors of Music tour to Europe in June 2009 and June 2011, Dr. Moore conducted choral concerts in England, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. In the summer of 2017 she traveled to China to conduct a three-week residency with the Shaoxing Children’s Choir. Dr. Moore currently serves as the chorus master of Mobile Opera and the Mobile Symphony Orchestra and has served as Music Director at St. Mark United Methodist Church.
ESCS’s gifted Accompanist, Joe Rambo, is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. While living there, he received his BA in Chemistry, with minors in Biology and Church Music, from Huntingdon College, where he also met his wife Elisa. From there, they both attended graduate school at Indiana University, where Joe received a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry. Following a year of post-doctoral studies in Paris, Elisa and Joe moved to Fairhope where they have lived since 1994. After working for many years in education, both as a teacher and administrator, Joe returned to the classroom to pursue a degree in pharmacy. Graduating in May 2016, Joe currently works as a pharmacist at Mobile Infirmary. Musically, Joe serves as Organist for Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope.
Mary Katherine Kilgore was the Artistic Director of the Choral Society from 2011 - 2023. After 12 seasons, she decided to step into the role of Executive Director.
Mary Katherine is a native of Forsyth, Georgia and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Valdosta State University. Her post graduate studies in voice, opera and choral conducting were at Clayton College and State University in Morrow, GA and at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
A talented and accomplished musician, Mary Katherine taught piano and voice privately for over 20 years and has judged numerous piano, vocal and choral competitions. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association between 2014 and 2019.
Mary Katherine is no stranger to Fairhope having served as Director of Music for both Fairhope United Methodist and Trinity Presbyterian churches. She taught chorus full time at St. Michael Catholic High School during the 2019 - 2021 school years and has been the music director for the Eastern Shore Repertory Theater for two seasons.
Currently Mary Katherine is the Director of Music at St. James Episcoal Church and is the Music Director for the St. James Episcopal School where she teaches music classes for PK2 - Grade 3. Mary Katherine and her family have lived in Fairhope since 2005.
President - Ellen Jones
Vice-President - Jan Zuercher
Treasurer - Earl Jackson
Secretary - Linda Crowell
Soprano Section Leader - Vicki Dale-Knopf
Alto Section Leader - Allyson Jordan
Tenor Section Leader - Elaine Osborn
Bass Section Leader - Ron Burkett
Members At Large - Jim DiSebastian, Patti Lewis, Sally DeMott, and Katherine Young
Music Librarian - Patti Lewis
"I've not been this excited in a very long time, musically. Last night's concert was beautiful and so up-lifting."
"It was wonderful. Nice variety of selections. So glad I was able to attend!"
"The concert Sunday night was truly thrilling. You guys rock!"
"The Nelson Mass last evening was a Divine performance. My husband and I marveled at the phenomenal talent and dedication of all. Thank you all for the diligent hours! The Eastern Shore is fortunate to have you all here. The Serenade to Music was equally superb. We thought we had spent an evening in New York. Dinner al fresco afterwards. A perfect date night. "
"Thank you for the musical program April 29. I grew up listening to this beautiful music. How I would love to hear this program over and over. Please, please decide now to have the Choral Society perform it again next Spring 2019."
"It was an outstanding showing of fabulous talent. From the opening remarks to the last note Joe hit on the piano and Mary Katherine conducted, was wonderful. I appreciate all the members of the Eastern Shore Choral Society. The dedication to hours of practice, time away from families, and the sharing of one's God given talents for others to enjoy. Looking forward to the next concert."
Joe Rambo, Mary Katherine Kilgore, Monika Cosson, and Patrick Jacobs