The History of the Community Chorus of Palm Coast
by Priscilla Cahill, Founding President
A successful new choral group in Palm Coast started with a dream shared by a few music lovers. Early in February 2010, two women Carolyn Frisbie and Priscilla Cahill approached Linda Hodges, the Music Director at Trinity Presbyterian Church, about starting a new chorus in Palm Coast. The idea had been talked about informally for awhile, but now the time seemed right. Linda had been chosen as the new Music Director at Trinity two years before, coming from Jacksonville where she attended college and worked for over 25 years as a music director, instrumentalist and piano and voice teacher. She had always wanted to direct a community chorus, where she would be able to choose beautiful music from all genres to sing.. Linda was hesitant to take on the challenge because she had a full-time job at Trinity and she was new to the community.
The intrepid music lovers assured her that all she would have to do is take care of the music: choose the selections; audition singers and direct and they would “take care of everything else.” Since they had never attempted anything like this before, obviously they had no idea how much work they had committed to or what was involved. Nevertheless, Linda agreed to try it and the group had their first meeting along with a few others who were asked to join them on February 1, 2010. It soon became apparent to the “interest group”, (made up of the above three, plus, Ellen Soave, Mimi and Jim Spencer, Judy Pope, Jeff and LaJuana McKay, Bob Cahill, Mary Bozza and Ted and Barbara Lesher, that there was a lot to accomplish to make this dream a reality. First the group had to become an official non-profit 501 © 3 organization. Officers were needed and seed money. Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation had to be drawn up. Priscilla agreed to be President, Ellen Soave, Vice President, Carolyn Frisbie, Secretary and Robert Cahill (a non-singer) agreed to get the ball rolling by serving as Treasurer. The group kicked in the agreed upon membership dues for seed money . Many meetings were held over the next six months and a lot was accomplished. A date was set to have the first rehearsal. Would anyone show up besides the small group of organizers?
On October 5, 2010, with accompanist Anne Atkins, who graciously agreed to fill the spot for the first concert, borrowed music from the Don Thompson Choral of Jacksonville, and fingers crossed, approximately 40 singers showed up. Many were from the former Flagler Music Society chorus which had recently been disbanded. Several from Trinity church decided to join and others who had heard through advertisements in the paper, flyers to churches and word-of-month came to check it out.
The first concert was held on January 30, 2011, bringing in an audience of over 400 people. A second concert was held in May and a third on September 11th commemorating the 10th anniversary of that tragic day. After the first concert, Linda Oertel, who had been singing soprano in the CCPC, swapped places with Anne Atkins, and became the new, very accomplished accompanist on piano. The chorus has continued to grow and now has over 50 members. This January two performances were presented because the audience had continued to grow and parking and seating space had become a problem.
Thanks to the vision and hard work of a few people and the continued work of those who are carrying on, the chorus is a rousing success and hopes to continue for a long time bringing outstanding choral music to Palm Coast and the surrounding community.
Anyone interested in more information about the Community Chorus of Palm Coast may contact the Director, Jens Oliva at 601-497-3959 or email him at