When I lived in Illinois and was a radio host for the local National Public Radio station (WIUM-FM), many evenings were spent hosting classical music programs from faraway places. Occasionally there were performances associated with Duke Chapel in Durham.
When I moved here to work for WTVD in 1999, I had the opportunity to become a second soprano for the most amazing symphonic choral organization: the Choral Society of Durham. This group is not a professional singing organization however, they are far from amateur in their singing.
Since I am posting here about classical music, I should mention that while much of my life until maybe 5 years ago or so was spent practicing and performing music - either as a member of a choral group or as a violinist - I am far from having the ability to speak in a sophisticated manner about music. My professional writing style is more journalistic and folksy. Many souls I've encountered in classical music seem far better equipped to speak of nuances, composition, performance technicality, history, etc. What you'll read here is more the 'life from my shoes' point of view.
Under the direction of Dr. Rodney Wynkoop, this group of dedicated musicians practices as an ensemble weekly, but their music is never far out of reach the other hours of the week. Their concert calendar consists of very demanding repertoire and not one member wants to get 'the look' from Rodney for missing something. All are rewarded when concert week arrives and those sounds merge together to form an unforgettable experience.
I left the group years ago as far as a performing member, but remained a friend. Now I'm have the unique privilege of being a business partner and most recently, the latest to join their fellowship of concert photographers.
If you're in North Carolina and have not heard this group, you really need to. Its a rare joy.