If music is the soundtrack of your life, one group in Birmingham makes those tunes much more beautiful—the Junior League of Birmingham (JLB) choral group. This year, the special group group is celebrating its 60th anniversary, so we’re diving into who these ladies are to find out what makes the group so special.
100 years of the JLB + 60 years of the JLB choral group
Even if you’re not a member of the JLB, you’ve probably seen their impact in Birmingham. With over 2,000 members who volunteer for more than 55,000 hours annually, the League has a positive influence on The Magic City.
From supporting survivors of domestic violence with a $1.25 million gift to One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center to raising much-needed awareness about human trafficking in Birmingham, the JLB steps in where it matters most and gives support.
Want another example of the League’s dedication to improving Birmingham? Meet the JLB choral group, a group of volunteers who have been performing throughout Birmingham for over 60 years.
“In nursing homes, we sing for all different levels of care: independent, assisted, nursing and memory-care. Those audiences can range from spry to asleep. More often than you might imagine, someone completely nonresponsive and reclined in a wheelchair might pop up for a few short minutes with bright eyes to join us in Silent Night. Music can help awaken souls who are otherwise quiet. It’s a beautiful thing.”Jeannette Watford, member, JLB choral group
Bringing beautiful music to Birmingham
One of the League’s community projects, the JLB choral group is a dedicated group of volunteers who perform everywhere from retirement homes to the zoo. Through their performances, they bring joy and lighthearted fun to people who need a bright spot in their day.
“We go to the Lovelady Center, and women are there with their little tiny children and we always have a big crowd there. We get their children to sing with us and dance, and it’s just a happy time.”Dana Davis, member, JLB choral group
Just like the League itself, the choral group ranges in age with members from 25 to 90. Amy Murphy, of The Amy Murphy Studio, leads the group of more than 50 women in their rehearsals and performances. Whether they’re performing in Birmingham or in well-known spots like Florence, the Carnegie Hall and the Vatican, these women are an essential part of the League’s community impact.
“One resident at a local nursing home who was profoundly deaf asked if she could hug one of our members while we were singing Christmas carols so that she could feel the vibrations. We all sang through tears that day.”Jeannette Watford, member, JLB choral group
Plus, the JLB choral group has a standing invitation to perform at the League’s December membership meeting. The talented women sing for members of the JLB and their children, and—no surprise—it’s always the most well-attended meeting. Since the COVID outbreak, the JLB choral group hasn’t performed at a membership meeting, but hopefully, they’ll be singing for the League in December 2022!
“The choral group is the heart and soul of my musical life. These friendships and our musical missionwork mean the world to me!”Amy Murphy, President, JLB choral group
A sisterhood of strong + talented women
In 2022, the League celebrates 100 years and the JLB choral group celebrates 60 years. How does it feel? Jeannette sums it up beautifully:
“Of course, it feels amazing to be part of a sisterhood of strong, talented, bright women with a 60-year history. It’s a powerful reminder that music never stops. Even after retiring from the group, past singers feel a part of it all. I’ve often said, ‘JLB choral group is the best sorority you’ll ever belong to.'”Jeannette Watford, member, JLB choral group