CLARKS SUMMIT — The beauty of choral music speaks to one’s soul. The blending of voices, harmonies and individual parts come together in one unifying sound; stronger and more impactful together than they would
Thirty-five years ago, Wallace C. Gordon started a community choir in the borough. Although he died not long after it began, the Wally Gordon Community Singers have continued his legacy, reaching communities throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.
“When The Singers first started doing this, it was to serve the community,” shared Don Anderson, a member. “That’s the creed of the thing.”
Today, the Wally Gordon Community Singers continue to enrich the lives of those who join and serve the community through music. The group is open to all singers, 14 and older, regardless of skill level or experience. It does not require auditions or the ability to read music.
Loriann Kerber has been the group’s director for more than 15 years. She oversees four additional choirs as the choir director at Clarks Summit United Methodist church.
“Loriann is fantastic,” Mary Lou Riviello said. “I was here long before she was and it has been a pleasure having her. We were lucky to get Loriann. It’s a really great group, we are a family and we miss them when someone’s not here.”
Riviello is the longest standing member of The Wally Gordon Community Singers. She joined in 1988.
Dale Thomas, who everyone lovingly calls, ‘Uncle Dale,’ has been with the group since 1989. “It is fun to sing,” he shared. “I enjoy the friendships that develop and the community service we’re involved in.”
The Wally Gordon singers perform at nursing homes, malls, and Abington-area community events such as the tree lighting in Clarks Green. They also tour, performing in other communities in Northeast Pennsylvania and hold a concert twice a year at the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church.
Don Anderson, a retired minister, enjoys being a part of the community singing group as well as a men’s quartet.
“We get to sing and enjoy each other,” he said. “Our holiday concert is always free. We have nights where we go out into the community to sing. We are like a little family. We’re not a lot of professionals. We are all amateurs but we’re also learning and growing.
“Loriann is wonderful and teaches us well.”
As Jim Arscott, who sings in the bass section, introduced himself to a new member, he explained, “singing in the bass section is kind of like working the fryer at McDonald’s.”
This comment drew some laughter, which is no rarity within this group.
More than music can be heard coming from the choir room at Clarks Summit United Methodist Church on Tuesday nights. There are greetings and laughter, hugs and handshakes aplenty. Friendly chatter fills the room as established members reconnect and new members are welcomed in.
For more information on the group, visit wallygordoncommunitysingers.com.
People long ago met for Cymanfa Ganu, an old Welsh tradition of gathering together as a community to sing. Wallace (Wally) C. Gordon saw a need to revive this practice.
Gordon directed choirs for the Methodist Church and The University of Scranton Singers. He was founder and director of Key-Notes, a mixed chorus group, and was the musical director of two productions for the Abington Players. He was also director and soloist for the Regimental Glee Club on Armed Forces Radio and a well-known soloist on local radio during the 40’s and 50’s.
Gordon left his mark on choirs in the region and was respected by those who knew him. He was the recipient of the William J. Connell, Jr. award in 1977 for “significant contribution and dedicated service to the cultural enrichment of the community.”
He founded The Wally Gordon Community Singers in September 1983. He was serving as choir director for the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church and wanted to do something that was community-based. According to the group’s website, he formed the choral group “as a way to give local people a forum to pursue their love of choral music, regardless of their training or ability.”
Join the singers
The Wally Gordon Community Singers meet for rehearsals Tuesday nights from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Clarks Summit United Methodist Church on the Morgan Highway. They ask for $20 dues to cover the cost of the music.
For more info, visit