Local and area adult and high school persons who love to sing are invited to participate in the Chillicothe Area Community Choir which is being reorganized to perform "The Music of Christmas" in a December choral concert scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16 at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. The program is part of the Chillicothe Area Arts Council's 2012-13 arts season.

According to Julie Ashbrook, administrator for the arts council, singers will be working with an outstanding choral director, Frank Thomas, who is the retired director of Missouri Western State University's concert chorale and who is the long-time artistic director of the St. Joseph Community Chorus and the St. Joseph Chamber Choir.

An organizational meeting and practice will be held from 7 until 9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the sanctuary of the Chillicothe United Methodist Church, 1414 Walnut. (Use the south entrance.) Practices will continue at the church each Tuesday from 7 until 9 p.m. through Dec. 11, with no practice being held the week of Thanksgiving.

"We know that not everyone will be able to attend every practice," Ashbrook said, "but, we hope the majority of singers can be at a majority of the practices."

Those unable to attend the Oct. 2 practice, but would like to be part of the choir, are asked to contact the arts office at 660-646-1173 or email arts@chillicothemo.com and leave their names.

"It has been almost 15 years since we have hosted a community choir," Ashbrook said, "and we are thrilled to have one in the works again."

"Chillicothe musicians Betty Preston-Steel and Mary Willis took this idea and ran with it, selecting beautiful arrangements of traditional Christmas music, developing the program sequence, and suggesting a great director," Ashbrook said. "Both Mary and Betty have emphasized the outstanding ability of director Frank Thomas. They believe the community choir will give high school vocalists a wonderful opportunity to perform with a college choral director, and that adults will thoroughly enjoy the talent he brings to directing."

"He has worked for a long time with just regular folks who love to sing, and he knows how to put those voices together and make wonderful music," Ashbrook said.