York County Choral Society was formed in the 1981-82 season by David Lowry and Shirley Fishburne with the purpose of having a choral group that performed choral masterworks with the composers’ intended accompaniments. The group’s founders expected about two dozen people to attend the organizational meeting and were overjoyed at the 140 who showed up! From the outset, the chorus numbered over 50 voices and it has continued to date with consistent strength. The first performance was Handel’s Messiah, Parts II & III on April 4, 1982, in Winthrop’s Byrnes Auditorium.
Dr. David M. Lowry, HonRSCM
David Lowry is the co-founder of the YCCS and was its first Music Director and Conductor. He holds degrees from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music in New York, and the University of North Texas in Denton. Summer studies include the Haarlem Academy for Organists in the Netherlands and New College, Oxford University.
After his 1965 appointment at Winthrop University, where he is now Professor Emeritus, he became active as a concert organist, conductor, consultant, composer, church musician, and leader in professional organizations. He is a past dean of the Charlotte Chapter, American Guild of Organists, and a past president of the Association of Anglican Musicians. In 2002 he was awarded the HonRSCM by the Royal School of Church Music in a celebration at St. Asaph Cathedral in north Wales for his work of 21 years with the Royal School of Church Music in America. He is currently the Parish Musician of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Columbia. With trumpeter Michael Miller he appears on the ProOrgano label CD, Breaking Ground.
Dr. Shirley Fishburne
Shirley Fishburne is the co-founder of the York County Choral Society. She is a graduate of Winthrop University and has graduate degrees from Winthrop and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Fishburne lives in Rock Hill and is an organist and music educator. She was the organist for the first YCCS tour of England and often accompanies the Choral Society in concerts.
1984 – York County Choral Society performs Poulenc’s “Gloria” with the Charlotte Symphony as part of the symphony’s season with Leo Driehuys, conductor.
1985 – The Chorus performs Albright’s “A Song to David” for the American Guild of Organists Region IV Convention.
1989 – YCCS performs Mozart’s Solemn Vespers at Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston for Piccolo Spoleto.
1991 – With the Raleigh Oratorio Singers, YCCS performs Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor in both Raleigh and Rock Hill.
1991 – YCCS travels again to Charleston to perform a Choral Evensong at Trinity Methodist for the National Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians.
2000 – As part of their first United Kingdom Tour, YCCS enjoys a Residency at St. David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and performs concerts in St. Mary’s Prestbury, Durham, and Lincoln cathedrals
2000 – Upon their return to the U.S., YCCS performed the American Premiere of Requiem by Ian Higginson.
2002 – YCCS presents a complete performance of Messiah, the first complete performance since the Robert Shaw Chorale performed in 1967.
2003 – YCCS tours the United Kingdom with concerts and Evensongs in Northumberland, Edinburgh, Bangor and Dublin.
2005 – The 25th Anniversary season included Orff’s Carmina Burana.
2006 – Rounding out the 25th Anniversary season, YCCS was in residence at the Washington National Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul for three Evensongs and one Eucharist, all music sung was by American composers.
2007 – A run-out concert of the Fall 2007 repertory was performed in Dillon, SC.