David McCoy, the director and accompanist for the York County Gospel Choir, works with the group at the Church of the Open Door in West Manchester
David McCoy, the director and accompanist for the York County Gospel Choir, works with the group at the Church of the Open Door in West Manchester Township.
MORE PHOTOS (Randy Flaum)

The York County Gospel Choir has given concerts inside and outside the United States.

They not only sing, but they go into the audience and pray for people, said David McCoy, the choir's founder and director.

"It's been a learning experience for them," he said. "A lot of them weren't used to being asked to pray for people."

The choir -- which has 25 members from churches throughout York County -- has also learned how to sing together in a studio to record a CD, said McCoy, who started the choir in November 2008.

The choir released its first CD last March. Titled "York County Gospel Choir," the CD has three songs: "Prepare Me Lord," "Oh Lord, How Excellent" and "Worship the Lord."

McCoy said he wrote "Worship the Lord." The song's music and words came to him in February 2006 while he was caring for his late wife, who was ill, he said.

"One (day), the thought came to me that no matter what I am going through, I should still worship the Lord," said McCoy of Thomasville. "There's a saying that when the praises go up, the blessings come down."

The proceeds: Funds raised through CD sales are used to help fund the choir's mission trips and its regular choir expenses and to provide food and clothing to individuals and families.

Last year, the choir held a free "Thanksgiving in August" dinner event in Red Lion for people in need.

The choir will use CD sales money this year for a May mission trip to Jamaica.

In the U.S., the choir has sung in California, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and South Carolina, said Cheryl Tyler, the choir's spokeswoman and McCoy's daughter.

The choir also has sung in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and in St. Martin Island in the Caribbean, McCoy added.

McCoy said he is working on song material so the choir can make a second CD.

'Amazing': Eric Smith, a tenor in the choir, said he was encouraged by the first CD experience and looks forward to being part of the project again.

"It was scary at first making the CD because we've never been in a studio before as a choir," said Smith, 48. "But then we got

relaxed and we liked it. It's just amazing to me. I have a CD at home with my voice on it."

Choir member Holly Heltebridle, 59, said she hopes the CD will give people hope and help them understand how much God loves them.

"We want to let them know that we are not alone," the soprano said. "The Lord is there and we can always ask for help from the Lord."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.

Bring the music home

To purchase the York County Gospel Choir's CD, visit the choir's website at www.yorkcountygospel

choir.org.

The CDs cost $10 each. For information, call Cheryl Tyler at 659-7288.

For payment by mail, checks should be made out to the York County Gospel Choir with "Choir CD" written in the memo line. Payments can be mailed to the choir at P.O. Box 454, Thomasville 17364.