Like many people who move the Lowcountry, Tim Reynolds was first a visitor. And, like many newcomers, he’s from Ohio.
But it was friends from his time in Illinois who drew him to Hilton Head Island. Reynolds worked with the late Charles Farley at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and became good friends with him and his wife, Beverly.
The three became involved with community theatre there, among other artistic pursuits.
“There were some occasions when Charles was in the pit, I was conducting, and Beverly was on the stage,” Reynolds said.
Charles retired with his wife, Beverly, to Hilton Head, and in his retirement took a job as organist for First Presbyterian Church. He also was the accompanist for the Hilton Head Choral Society.
“So when I’d come to visit them, I’d sit in on Choral Society rehearsals,” Reynolds said.
He first visited in 1997, and by August 1999, he had moved here. It was only natural that he would join the group.
Liz Henry, a member of the Choral Society for the past 35 years, said, “When Tim sang with us, the men never sounded better.”
Reynolds said he sang only one concert with the group, as he had other things booked, but still came to rehearsals to help out. Then, in spring of 2000, “I ended up taking some of the rehearsals, and the job (as director) grew out of that experience.”
When his contract started in September 2000, there were only two concerts a year on the Choral Society calendar. His first concert was the annual Christmas event. (Though the calendar indicates that was 22 years ago, Reynolds said “two years of COVID doesn’t count.”)
Reynolds soon started pops concerts and a series called Hilton Head Choral Society Presents, which brought in world-renowned groups such as The King’s Singers and the Boys Choir of Harlem.
Another new offering was the Community Festival Chorus, which he said was “an opportunity for people who sing in a 13-voice church choir to sing with 100 people.”
In his first decade with the Choral Society, Reynolds added more concerts to the schedule, including the still popular Memorial Day concert. A Youth Choir was begun, and the Chamber Singers.
“Some years, there would be six concerts a year,” he said.
Eventually, Reynolds, who at one time worked for a travel agency, took Choral Society members on international trips for concerts in other countries – including Switzerland and Italy.
All these events were an extension of Reynolds’ very being, it seems. He said he grew up in a time when churches and public schools had good music programs, and he had some solid mentors along the way. He is still friends with his high school chorus teacher, Gene Foiles, who still lives in Ohio. “He was a great teacher and a wonderful human being,” Reynolds said. “He gave me a lot of opportunities.”
Now, nearing the end of his career with the Choral Society, Reynolds has his sights set on travel. “That was always part of my plan,” Reynolds said. “Work to 65, then retire and travel like crazy for five years – while I still can!”
The Choral Society’s April 1 concert, “For We Wish You Music,” will be a “walk down memory lane” to honor Reynolds’ career. He will retire at the end of the season. His last concert will be the Memorial Day program scheduled for May 29.
“Hilton Head is the longest I’ve lived anywhere,” Reynolds said. And for that, many choral singers and an entire community are grateful.