The Tri State Youth Choir recently had their first performance of the season at Liberty Baptist Church. This year’s program is titled “Freedom Song,” and this is the 30th year of the choir’s existence.
To mark the 30 year milestone, Jean Cline has made a beautiful king size quilt with T-shirts taken from the last several years’ choir tours. The center of the quilt is embroidered with: 1982-2012 Tri State Youth Choir Singing God’s word for 30 years. It is a lovely work of art and history of the choir. The quilt will be raffled off at the annual Spaghetti Dinner and Auction on Friday, May 11. You can purchase tickets from any choir member or you can call Jean Cline at 869-4014. Proceeds from the raffle will go to help fund their mission trip to Florida.
The Tri State Youth Choir is a Christian choir based in Harrogate, Tenn., and open to all denominations of 7th - 12th grade students in the Tri-State area (Tenn., Ky., and Va.). They meet at Pump Springs Baptist Church on Sunday afternoons from 3-5 p.m. each week beginning in January. The choir performs locally in April and May and later travels on a weeklong mission trip to Florida in June where they perform at churches, rescue missions and rehab centers. This year there are 75 kids from the tri-state area in the choir. They are currently under the direction of Ben and Melissa Dishner.
The choir was formed from the Cumberland Gap Youth fellowship by Judy Robertson and Doyle Dunn. Mr. Dunn was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Harrogate at that time. Some past choir directors over the years have been Tammy Fox, Allan Atkins (Rodney’s father), Rick Byrd, Elizabeth Welch and Judy Robertson.
The first time the choir went on a weeklong mission tour they took 19 kids. Through the years they have gone to various locations to perform. For the first 10 years they went to Myrtle Beach campgrounds. They have tried to book other large cities but have found it difficult to book performances during the work week other than Sunday. So for the last 11 years they have toured the Jacksonville, Florida, and Orlando, Florida, area. They spend a week there performing daily at homeless shelters, rescue missions and rehab centers. A youth minister goes with them on tour and leads them in daily devotions. It is a time of spiritual growth for the students and all the others who go on the mission trip.
The cost for each student to go on the mission trip is about $350, but the kids do not pay. The choir does fundraisers from January through May to cover the entire cost of the trip for each child. They transport the kids on school buses. There are requirements for the kids to complete before they go on the trip. One is they have to participate in the annual trash pickup that pays organizations a dollar a bag for the trash they collect. Last month, the choir picked up over 1,680 bags of trash in the county! This teaches the kids the importance of community service. The second requirement is they have to complete a 10K walk or 5K run. This is to promote a healthy life style to the kids. The third requirement is they must work at the annual Spaghetti Dinner and Auction. This is the choir’s main and largest fundraising event.
This is a truly wonderful organization that has been around a long time thanks to a lot of dedicated volunteers that believe in the choir’s mission. The choir has had an extraordinary effect on a lot of young lives over the years. Some have gone on to be missionaries and ministers. Below is the local schedule for the choir’s remaining performances. They invite everyone in the community to come out and hear their message at one of the locations.
May 6 - New Salem at 6 p.m. (Speedwell); May 12 - Knox Area Rescue Ministries at 6 p.m. (Knoxville); May 20 - Shiloh at Middlesboro; May 27 – Southside at Middlesboro; June 3 - Pump Springs Baptist at 6 p.m. (Harrogate). From June 5-12 the choir will be on a Mission Trip to Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida.