Handel’s Chorus begins rehearsals.

Under the direction of Hartford E. Bess, Handel’s Chorus club presented holiday season concerts for several decades.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 October 1940.

Handel’s Chorus officers:

  • Louise Spivey, president
  • Aaron Purdie, vice-president
  • Arthur Brodie, treasurer
  • Ernestine Floyd, secretary


Regret for the death of Russell Owings.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 October 1938.

I missed the cues, and at first could find no record of an African-American Russell Owings¬†living in Wilson. But that was because Owings was not Black. He was instead a “faithful and courageous friend of [their] interest.” Owings, freshly graduated from Atlantic Christian [now Barton] College, was a white man who — much in the spirit of Rev. R.A.G. Foster’s outreach — crossed the color line to teach voice lessons and direct a choral group at Saint John A.M.E. Zion. He died in a car accident in late October 1938.

Handel chorus and a cappella choir to perform.


Wilson Daily Times, 20 December 1940.