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Bach Society honors Crestwood woman

Gaylene and Richard LaBore
The Bach Society of St. Louis is honoring a Crestwood resident by naming its 2003-2004 season "The Gaylene LaBore 50th Anniversary Season.''

LaBore is being recognized for her longtime association with the Bach Society, both as a singer in the chorus and volunteer extraordinaire.

The Bach Society will open its 63rd concert season at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, at the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood with the concert "Soli Deo Gloria!''

LaBore joined the Bach Society Chorus in 1953 shortly after moving to St. Louis from her home near Twin Falls, Idaho, to work at Lutheran Hour Ministries, where she still serves as executive assistant to Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, the former "Lutheran Hour'' speaker. She has been his "right hand'' for 30 years, according to a Bach So-ciety news release.

A co-worker who sang with the Bach Society encouraged LaBore to attend a few concerts.

"I had sung in my church choir, but had never been part of a group of his caliber,'' LaBore stated in the release. "I was excited to get into an organization that sang the kind of music they did. I knew I would really enjoy it.''

And enjoy it she did. And she still loves it. That's what keeps her coming back — year after year. She admits that there have been years when the thought crossed her mind to drop out of the chorus — especially during her children's younger years, when schedules became hectic and it seemed like something just had to give.

But, she stated, "I've always come to the realization that this is something I just can't give up. I know I'd miss it terribly if I ever left.''

Not only can she boast the longest standing membership in the chorus, but she's also the only person to have sung under all six conductors, each of whom, according to LaBore, has added his own unique style and flavor to the chorus.

She truly has made her Bach Society experience a family affair over the years.

Her husband, the Rev. Dr. Richard LaBore, head of the Theology Department at Lutheran High School South, used to take care of the children twice a week while she attended rehearsals.

"I also used to volunteer in the Bach office filling ticket orders,'' she recalled. "I would bring the playpen and my daughters would play there in the office while I worked.''

Daughters Tricia LaBore and Laurie (Tim) Senkbeil, and their children Nathan, Andrew and Allison all live in St. Louis.

Richard LaBore, a longtime Crestwood alderman, also has become a valuable commodity to the Bach Society during the years. For many years, he has volunteered his time heading up the usher teams during concerts. Moreover, in 1990, he wrote a history of the Bach Society of St. Louis to commemorate the chorus' 50th anniversary season and remains the society's "unofficial historian.''

Besides singing alto in the chorus, Gay-lene LaBore served on the Board of Di-rectors for 25 years. During her time on the board, she served as secretary for many years and also was vice president at one time. She also served as the chorus secretary and attendance taker.

The Bach Society's October 2003 concert marks Gaylene's 204th concert with the chorus, according to Richard LaBore's calculations. Tickets for the Oct. 19 concert can be purchased by calling 652-2224.

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