Five of the 20 vocalists from the Big Chicken Chorus, which is the Marietta Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, were from Bartow: Bill Devine, Don Jackson, Dave Elvers, Mac McKenzie and Jake Simpson.
“The group from Cartersville were just talking about things that we could get involved in in the community and the idea came up that it would be wonderful if we could sing for the care facilities here,” said Devine, a Cartersville resident who joined the Big Chicken Chorus about four years ago. “I would say ... that the folks that live in these facilities are probably some of our most appreciative audiences. ... Obviously, their lives are difficult to say the least and to be able to bring a smile to their face and see their enjoyment is pretty rewarding.”
The singing group’s mini-concert at Advocates for Children was a precursor to a larger event this winter. While the subgroup on Friday were planning to sing seven songs at each location, the entire Big Chicken Chorus will perform a Christmas concert that will benefit Advocates Dec. 8, 3 p.m., at Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in Cartersville. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Jax Supply, 19 S. Gilmer St. in Cartersville, starting Monday.
“Other than the Big Chicken Chorus, which of course is out of Marietta, we do not have anything like barbershop quartet singing in northwest Georgia that I know of,” Advocates Executive Director Patty Eagar said. “We are really touched that they all want to honor their few members that they have who are from Bartow by coming here and putting on a performance for the benefit of all the children that Advocates serves.”
Since about 50 percent of Advocates’ annual budget is raised by the local community, events like the Big Chicken Chorus’ Christmas concert are integral to the nonprofit’s success. Each year, Advocates serves about 2,600 area youth through the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
“We wish events were not quite such a big part of our organization’s needs but they are,” Eagar said. “We need to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $700,000 every year from a combination of special events and outright gifts and corporate partnerships and that sort of income stream. Therefore, we have to have a lot of events and we make sure that every single one of them is not only a fundraiser but also a fun raiser and an awareness machine, so that we can have more people know how exactly we serve over 2,600 kids every single year right here.
“The need for our services is not going away. The poverty level in Bartow County is off the charts in terms of the other counties that surround us and poverty rate is one of the ... leading indicators for the likelihood of child abuse and therefore we know that unfortunately there’s still enough child abuse that we need to keep doing all these programs that we’re doing.”
For more information about the Big Chicken Chorus, visit www.bigchickenchorus.org. Further details about Advocates can be obtained by calling 770-387-1143 or visiting www.AdvoChild.org.