History of the Swanhurst Chorus
The Chorus was founded in 1928, when the Art Association of Newport (now the Newport Art Museum) was bequeathed funds as a memorial to Sarah Swan Whiting, as well as Mrs. Whiting's estate, called "Swanhurst". Some of the funds were used to establish the Swanhurst School of the Arts on the estate in the summer of 1928. A popular voice class, directed by Mme. Fely Clement, soon became known as the Swanhurst Choral Club.
In 1930 Carroll W. J. Ball began her 39 years as Music Director. He was followed by Walter Keith, then by Winfred Johnson, each of whom added his own stamp of quality and direction to the group. In 1981, Constance Andrews took the reins, broadening the vision of what has become Newport County's most active community chorus.
The group became an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization in 1984. The Swanhurst Chorus provides several major performances per season, including choral concerts with professional orchestra, an annual Christmas Messiah Sing-Along, an annual Dinner Theatre series and a Spring Concert. The organization also includes a group of Chamber Singers who are drawn from the larger chorus and are available (on request) to perform at special events and occasions.