Belle Banks and her husband, a critic for The Charlotte Observer, decided to form the NMCC in 1971. Belle used to call herself “a strong Yankee woman from Philadelphia” who came to Huntersville during the Second World War, when she was still in her twenties. “There was nothing here…” she said.
As a Davidson newspaper and Meck Gazette reporter and columnist, Belle was well known as a very active local personality. Although she had no formal musical training, she always felt that ”The human voice is the greatest instrument of all !”.
Belle Banks started the chorus to give an alternative for people who want to sing something other than church music. She made more than 50 phone calls, but was able to recruit only 8 people at the beginning. It was not an easy project at that time, but with perseverance, commitment and Belle’s leadership NMCC grew to become an established and respected institution in the Lake Norman area.
The chorus is not just about singing, she said in an interview in 2009. It’s about brotherhood; it’s “soul food” because singing is emotional and brings people together. As a part of the learning process, Belle Banks would organize trips to NY with the chorus members so they could experience live stage performances at their best.
“The chorus was one of the greatest experiences of my life, it gave me an outlet for energy and participation…it was a very meaningful part of my life, and still is. I’ve never missed anything you’ve all done, ever since I left…. It’s so good seeing the chorus grow, flourish and prosper and become an institution of the area!” (Belle Banks)
Over the years, NMCC has been not just a great place to be and to sing. NMCC has brought immeasurable joy to the participants and to their audience.
NMCC is one of the best things to happen to our community.
Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying that true wealth is not measured by one’s possessions or lifestyle, but by what one gives back to the community.
By that standard, Belle was one of the wealthiest people we know.
Thanks, Belle, for all that you’ve done!
You'll remain forever in our hearts!
Article written by Daniela Sims after an interview with Belle Banks in August, 2009.