History & Mission

Wiregrass Youth Choral Society, Incorporated

History and Mission


“The only thing that stands between a person and the accomplishment of his life’s goals are the failure to try and a lack of faith to believe that it is possible”


The Wiregrass Youth Choral Society (WYCS), formerly known as the Wiregrass Youth Choir, was formed in the spring of 2000 by visionary individuals who saw the need to bring together young energetic youth to perform and sing various genres of music.  After much planning and preparation, the Wiregrass Youth Choir of eighty strong voices made their first debut performance on Sunday May 14, 2000, on Mother’s Day at the First Missionary Baptist Church under the direction of Derrick Duncan, Founder  and Darlene Clark, Co-Director, Theodore Whiting, Co- Director, Ann Rich and Catherine Rogers, Youth Advisors.  The musical staff at the initial stage of the Wiregrass Youth Choir was the late Richard Lasiter, Organist; Keshia Stanford, Pianist; Abraham Smith, Bass Guitarist; Brian Baker, Percussionist; and Martin McKay, Saxophonist.


The success of the first performance and the support from the Wiregrass ignited the organizers to continue to build and develop the choir toward a community organization.   Realizing that the arts foster an environment designed to encourage creativity and self-expression, the goals of the organization expanded to include voice collaboration, team building, and the techniques of expression.


The Wiregrass Youth Choir continued to demonstrate excellence with each performance and a strong desire to reach greater heights.  The choir grew tremendously during the next six years and attracted youth from the surrounding counties of Houston, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, and Henry.   With the growth and excitement of its members, the choral society began the tradition of presenting an Annual Mother’s Day Tribute Concert.   Due to the overwhelming success of the concerts and other performances, the organization restructured to meet its goals and accommodate its membership.


The Wiregrass Youth Choir realized the need to organize leaders from among the area communities to serve as advisors, consultants, and mentors.   It was the responsibility of these leaders to establish the by-laws and expand the organization into a non-profit community entity.  To this end, the Wiregrass Youth Choral Society Board of Directors was officially formed on Monday, April 3, 2006, at the George Washington Carver Museum.   The Board Members elected were: Rick Smith, Larry Calloway, Vincent Jackson, Tracie Melvin, Esq, Jimmie McKay, Jerome Bellamy, Calvin Binion, Ann Rich, Curtis Harvey, Ted Thompson, Dr. LaToya Walton-Torrence, Katrina Faulk, Mike Williams, and Oveta Pearce.


After the board was organized, the name was changed from the Wiregrass Youth Choir to the Wiregrass Youth Choral Society.  The Board of Directors immediately recognized the need for the youth to develop an appreciation for music and to learn the fundamentals of choral singing.  Additionally, academic, artistic, oratorical, and social skills were targeted as areas for growth and development.  These areas of concentration prompted the board to develop the organization’s mission statement, motto, and creed.   The Wiregrass Youth Choral Society’s mission statement is to inspire youth to develop their unique abilities while enriching their lives through music and cultural activities.   The motto is an old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” The creed is “Believe, Achieve, and Succeed!”


The Wiregrass Youth Choral Society, Incorporated, operates as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit community organization.  Since the thirteen years of inception, the Wiregrass Youth Choral Society, Inc. has impacted more than 700 young lives ages 8-20 within the Wiregrass area.  Members have participated in a spectrum of programs, performances, and activities that include but are not limited to-


• Annual Mother’s Day Tribute Concert

• Applebees and  O’Charley’s Pancake Breakfast

• Interfaith Invitational Musical Concert along with Guest Gospel Artist Babbie Mason

• Special Guest - Daleville Christian Church International Conference - Musical Concert

• Christmas Candlelight Vigil Concert

• Christmas Concert - Wiregrass Common Mall

• Special Guest-John’s Chapel AME Church, Martin Luther King Youth Expo Enterprise, AL

• Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - Founder’s Day

• McDonald’s Choir Showcase Finalists -Riverfront Coliseum, Columbus, GA

• Special Guest - City of Dothan 10th Year Commemoration Service

• Special Guest - Greater Beulah Baptist Church -Christmas Cantata


The Wiregrass Youth Choral Society has four main concert performances during the year along with various cultural enrichment programs.


• Annual Mother’s Day Tribute Concert

• Back to School Concert

• Christmas Candlelight Vigil Concert

• Inductee and Pinning Consecration Service

• Positive Image Workshop “What’s inside Me”

• Cultural Enrichment Program “ Pursuit of HappYness”

• The Stardom Show


Throughout the years, the Wiregrass Youth Choral Society has had 80% of its choristers to finish high school, 40% to attend college, 20% to participate in music classes and band, and 10% to volunteer with the organization after graduation.

Through membership in the WYCS…choristers “Believe, Achieve, and Succeed!”