The Greenville Choral Society is proud to honor long-time GCS Board Member, Beatrice (Bea) Chauncey with an endowment in her name. Bea played an integral part in the formation of the Greenville Choral Society in 1969, then the Greenville Community Chorus, as a “town and gown” organization that would bring together the choral ensembles from East Carolina University as well as the talented church choirs in the community.
A member of the faculty at East Carolina University's School of Music for 41 years, Bea came to ECU in 1949 after earning degrees from the University of Akron and Columbia University and after teaching in Montana, California, and Florida. At that time, East Carolina was still East Carolina Teachers College and she was hesitant to move to Greenville, after having lived in New York City, because she knew first-hand what it was like to live on a tobacco farm. Bea decided to take the job as flute professor and educator at the School of Music anyway and found where she belonged. "The main thing that I realized is that here, people cared for people," she said. "They cared for each other. It was people loving people.”
Bea taught music at the clinical training school on campus (Wahl-Coates Elementary), at two other schools in Greenville, as well as college courses and applied lessons at ECTC. "My days were a potpourri," Bea said. "It was a different way of doing things. I was paid half by the city and half by the college.” At the university, she taught undergraduate and graduate flute students, performed in numerous chamber music ensembles, and served as Director of the ECU Women's Glee Club for fifteen years. In addition, Professor Chauncey was the recipient of awards for outstanding participation in professional organizations such as the North Carolina Music Educators Association, Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Outside of her life as a music educator, Bea designed and built a house on the Pamlico River and became an accomplished sailor who won a number of awards, and she still found time to help a number of woman's causes in Greenville in addition to serving on the Greenville Choral Society Board of Directors for a number of years.
Bea retired from ECU in 1990 and established an endowment for the School of Music in 1992. She entered Cypress Glen in 2005 and was quoted as saying, “my music career was very rewarding and I value my teaching experiences and the friendship with my students and faculty, but I also treasure my days of sailing on the Pamlico. I am grateful for a very happy and interesting life.”
After her passing in 2017, the Greenville Choral Society was given an endowment from Bea’s estate that will go to support the mission of GCS and we are thrilled to be able to honor her incredible legacy of music and music education in Eastern NC! Thank you to Jane Smart for all of your help in securing these funds!