Designed to provide a welcoming place for all, the Athens County Community Singers, or ACCS, is a music-performing group for singers of all abilities.
ACCS was founded in 2013 as a nonprofit organization and has maintained the same mission ever since: provide those interested in creating music with an opportunity to do so.
Having a love for making music is the only requirement necessary to be apart of ACCS. With virtual meetings currently being held, the only technology needed to participate is a computer with video and sound capabilities, as well as internet access and an email address.
“Typically, you need to be able to read music or you need to be able to read,” Stephanie Morris, founder and director of ACCS, said. “You need to have some kind of musical talent, you need to be able to play some kind of instrument or something — none of that is required to be in my group. You don't even have to be able to read.”
Katie Conner, a choir representative board member at ACCS, said she involved herself with the group in 2016.
“Where I came from, I had been a part of a choir and a church,” Katie Conner said. “The church we're part of now doesn't have a choir, so I was looking for a choir to sing in. When I found the Athens Community Choir, it ended up being a real blessing for me, and I enjoyed it.”
That’s a common theme with ACCS, which is not just to provide an outlet to make music, but to also provide its members with a place to feel connected.
Katie’s mother, Kathy Conner, who previously served as president on the board of ACCS, shared more about how the organization has had such a big impact on Katie’s life.
“She (Katie) being special needs (and) moving to a new place, it's really hard to find a niche to get connected,” Kathy Conner said. “Stephanie invited her to this, and it was Katie's first feeling that everything's going to be OK.”
Katie now feels she now has a connection in Athens, fulfilling her need for a niche.
ACCS offers two seasons, a fall season that runs from Sept. to Dec., and a spring season that runs from Feb. to June. The group recently finished up it’s fall membership drive and has 31 people enrolled. For this season, the group is offering two sessions per week.
The group decided to have morning rehearsal from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
“We wanted to have an afternoon option in case people had morning work hours or the morning was just not a good time for them,” Morris said. “The Thursday afternoon rehearsal is from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.”
In addition to being a non-profit organization, ACCS is also grant-based. The grant programs the organization is involved with provides a bulk of the funds needed for ACCS to function.
ACCS also has a student-based group, as a part of what the organization supports. Morris created a transitional choir for Beacon School, which is a school for students with special disabilities.
“We get grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the Athens Foundation, which is a local organization, as well as the ATCO Legacy Fund,” Morris said. “We do fundraisers, get sponsorships and other kinds of things like that.”
Through bringing Athens County residents together through their love of music, ACCS continues to build their platform and create a safe space for people to share their talents and enjoy the company of others.