Special to The Hays Daily News

The North Central Kansas Christian Choir will celebrate its 25th anniversary with concerts Feb. 8 in Smith Center and Feb. 15 in Phillipsburg. This unique choir comprises approximately 150 adults and children who come from numerous communities across Kansas and Nebraska.

Inspired by the theme of "25 Years of Thankfulness," the choir will perform many cherished gospel hymns that small-town and rural churches often sing with much more abandon and really sing out," said the choir's long-time director, Betty Jo Banks, Downs. "We also chose several of the favorite old-time hymns for last year's concerts and the choir performed these so well, we decided to make most of this year's songs the old-time favorites."

The performance will begin at 3 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Smith Center Junior-Senior High School auditorium, and Feb. 15 at Huck Boyd Center, Phillipsburg. Admission money taken at each concert will be donated to local charities and also be used for college scholarships for young members of the choir.

Choir practices are Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at Nazarene Church, Smith Center. An open invitation is extended to anyone who enjoys singing with a choir.

"Just come and sing with us" Banks said.

This year, the choir member range in age from 7 to 97, Banks said. She has directed the choir since its inception. This year's accompanist is Helen VanKooten, Phillipsburg. The concerts will also include extra performance by local individuals and small groups. One song will feature a member signing the lyrics, Bank said.

Each year, the choir also performs a patriotic medley as a salute to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces. A local veterans' group's color guard also participates in this portion of the program.