Children's chorus rings in the holiday season

December 14, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

All decked out in their red vests and blue ties, nearly 100 boys and girls sang songs of the season last night at the Children's Chorus of Carroll County's Winter Celebration.

"I thought they were superb," said Kathy Quinn, whose two children -- Coralee, 8, and Thomas, 9, -- sang for the first time this year.

The 1 1/2 -hour concert featured traditional Christmas and Hanukkah tunes, as well as other winter tunes. Participants ranged in age from the second to the ninth grade.

"We take them until their voices change," said Holly Kugler, who directs the training chorus, or the Il Choro Della Bella Voce.

Not all the voices were tiny, however.

Glenn Patterson, supervisor for music and art in the Carroll County Public Schools, led the children in "Gloria Tibi" at the beginning of the concert and sang a selection from the "Messiah" at the middle.

The choir, now in its eighth season, was started by Idalea Rubin and Diane Jones as a high-quality music program for children.

"We felt there was a need in the county for a special program for children who are gifted musically," said Ms. Jones, who directs the older children, or the Cantare Bel Canto, with Ms. Rubin. "It was something we wanted for the county."

All three directors are Carroll County Public School music teachers. Ms. Jones teaches at William Winchester, Ms. Rubin at Spring Garden Elementary and Ms. Kugler at Freedom Elementary.

Students audition in June and begin their Tuesday night practices after Labor Day, Ms. Kugler said. The young singers also participate in two daylong Saturday practices called sing-ins.

About 120 children auditioned for both choirs last year. About 40 children are in the training choir and around 60 in the older group.

"They think [the practices] are fun, but we are actually working them to death," said Ms. Rubin of the daylong practices. "They are very demanding."

Once a member of the county children's chorus, children also have an opportunity to audition for other choirs. Six members have been chosen to sing in the national chorus, Ms. Rubin said.

In addition, eight members are auditioning for the International Children's Chorus, which will perform at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in August.

"We think we'll have a few accepted for that," Ms. Rubin said.

For performances, the directors said they choose pieces which are slightly more difficult to sing than those normally used in elementary school music programs, but that are interesting and will appeal to the youngsters.

However, instant appeal is not the most important consideration. Usually, pieces the children dislike in September are the ones they love by concert time, Ms. Rubin said.

"They are usually the more difficult ones, and the students feel they have met the challenge," she said.

Ms. Jones agreed.

"They feel they've accomplished something," she said. "We feel we're pretty good at building self-esteem."

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