Children’s Choir Starts School Program On High Note - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Children’s Choir Starts School Program On High Note

October 8th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Children’s Choir Starts School Program On High Note

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Children at Hartford Elementary School have a new artistic outlet, thanks to a local youth choir.

The Chandler Children’s Choir is teaming up with local schools to offer after-school choir clubs. The new program kicked off Sept. 12 at Hartford with the Hartford Choir Club for students in grades second through sixth.

The club has 15 children, who learn vocal technique and music theory and learn to sing songs.

Chandler Children’s Choir artist director and founder Aimee Stewart teaches students, while Ashley Arp, choir executive director, helps with teaching and administrative functions.

A Corona del Sol High School student also assists with the club, and Jill Khaleghi is the accompanist.

The purpose of the choir is to give students who otherwise don’t have a chance to take part in a tuition-based, auditioned choir like Chandler Children’s Choir the opportunity to sing in a youth choir conveniently held at their school.

“Really it’s to introduce them, to show them that they don’t think that they’re great singers, but they are,” Arp said. “Their faces just light up when Aimee starts playing for them.”

She said she hopes students will have a chance to sing the song “A Million Dreams,” from the movie “The Greatest Showman,” at a school assembly.

The Hartford Choir Club is also invited to sing with the Chandler Children’s Choir at its two big concerts in December at First United Methodist Church in Mesa and in May at Chandler Center for the Arts.

The children in the after-school choir have also been asked to perform at a Chandler Unified School District choral festival in February.

At the first practice, some students seemed a little uncomfortable with the idea of singing, Arp said.

“It was very much out of their comfort zone,” she said. “These singers came in, boys and girls and they were like, ‘We’re here and we’re ready to sing and we’re excited about it.’ Nobody scoffed. They followed all of our instructions. I think they had a really great time.”

Nathalia Santos, a student in the Hartford choir, expressed her enthusiasm for the club.

“It’s been so fun,” Santos said. “I’m learning a lot. I’m learning about singing vowels.”

Diana Niles, who is also in the Hartford after-school choir, also enjoys the club.

“It has been a great start,” Niles said. “I remember the five vowels of the Os and Es; all of the notes that you get to play on your instrument and your voice.”

Arp said the Chandler Children’s Choir had been looking for a way to provide a program in a school district for many years, and she has a friend who teaches at Hartford.

“Our teachers are just overburdened by all of the things they have to do,” she said. “We were just hoping to come into a program and partner with a teacher that was already there and just strengthen their program.

“Personally, I have a connection to Hartford; that’s where I went to elementary school,” Arp added. “When I started at Hartford, I was in third grade. I had just moved from Oklahoma. Our music teacher at the time, he had an after-school choir.

“My mom said, ‘This might be a good way for you to make some friends.’ I became friends with a lot of people I’m still in touch with. I went on to sing in high school…studied music in college. Now I’m working for a children’s choir. My exposure to the choir program there has literally helped shape my life.”

Her four children also sing in the Chandler Children’s Choir.

The Chandler Children’s Choir is committed to serving the city and surrounding community with excellent music education.

The CCC Neighborhood Choir Program’s goals are to boost a local school’s existing fine arts program, to offer an opportunity for choral expression to children that are underserved, to create a low-stress, low-cost, less intimidating introduction to choral participation and to provide a “test run” for singers who are new to choirs.