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  • Elaine Berberich

A Noteworthy Friendship: Linda and Inge

At the 39th annual Christmas Concert by the Fairfield Harbour Chorus, residents may want to

take note of two singers in the back row of the second soprano section. They have been

singing together for 31 years, making this duo the longest in chorus history.

Inge and Linda getting ready for the 2023 Christmas concert

Linda Lelli and Inge Parker have been members of the chorus since 1992 and have never

been separated from each other in their singing positions. Linda joined in time for the spring

concert in 1992 and Inge joined the chorus for the Christmas concert that year. The two

singers established a friendship that has endured over the years and through many changes

in the chorus and the Harbour.

Both Linda and Inge were original members of the Harbour Belles, which was a small

women's choral group (7-9 members) started by Jan Gronosky over 25 years ago at the

request of Pat Rivett. The intent was to have this group provide entertainment during the

intermission of the chorus’s concerts and a smaller group to perform at places and events

outside the Harbour. Over the years they performed at nursing/assisted living facilities and

organization luncheons and dinners with programs of show tunes and other audience

favorites. The group disbanded in 2017 after the leader and other singers moved away.

An enduring friendship--Inge and Linda early 90s

The close friendship between these two women is a true treasure that Inge and Linda have

enjoyed and cherished. When describing their friendship over the years, both say that they

have always been there for one another through different life changes. Inge said that during

the loss of her husband, Linda was “her rock,” and she also helped her when her home was

flooded during Hurricane Florence. When they both moved here 32 years ago, they were

eager to become part of a group and the chorus became a common bond and other interests.

Like many friendships, they are alike but different in so many ways. Inge is an avid birder,

and Linda laughs, “I’m not even sure what some birds are!”

Through the Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club and along with their husbands, Linda and Inge

enjoyed cruising with their trawlers to many places. The two couples were good friends, but it

was the friendship of the two women that cemented the relationship. When they went on two-

week cruise trips together, they recalled, “This was when we really got to know each other.”

When reflecting on the years, Linda and Inge have so many memories of what they have

been through, including New Neighbors, Investment Club, singing, bike riding, boat cruising

together, and cultivating this enduring friendship.

Linda and her husband moved here from Northern Virginia in 1992 and Inge and her husband

moved here from Long Island. Inge is originally from Germany and became a US citizen on

February 17, 2012. Both women are active community members, with Linda being active in

golf, the Christmas Angel Program, Relay for Life Team, and her alter ego, Foxxy the Clown.

Inge helped organize the much-loved program Caroling for the Home-bound in the early 90s,

volunteered with the Hospital Auxiliary, was involved with the Garden Club, and especially

enjoys birding.

During their tenure in the chorus, Linda and Inge have worked with Pat Rivett and Terry

Knickerbocker as directors. Terry pointed out that Inge and Linda are talented singers and

rarely miss a practice and he commented, “It’s people like Linda and Inge that make directing

the best thing I have ever done.”

The Harbour Belles at Christmas 2000

The 50-member Fairfield Harbour Chorus will present its 39th annual Christmas Concert on

Friday, December 8, and Monday, December 11, at 7:00 pm in the Fairfield Harbour

Community Center and Sunday, December 10, at 3:00 pm at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in

New Bern. They will also sing for the residents of Homeplace on December 6th. The concerts

will consist of the always-favorite audience sing-along and some other favorites that the

chorus has not performed, including “It’s the Holiday Season” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep

Me Warm.” Chorus members contribute a huge commitment of time and talent with at least

40 practices, and, for this concert, some will provide props to entertain the audience.

Fairfield Harbour residents have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy music and get into the

holiday spirit when they hear this wonderful chorus one time or more. Don’t miss it!!

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