NORMAN — When the Norman Children’s Chorus formed in 1992 Becky Clinton wasn’t focused too much on the future.
Now 20 years later, Clinton, a co-founder of the choir with Angela Broeker, is preparing to celebrate the choir’s 20 years educating children on choral music during a special alumni concert.
“I think it’s really an honor to have worked with all of these children all of these years and to be able to provide for them something that will be with them the rest of their lives — to instill in them the love of good choral music,” Clinton, executive director, said.
A product of Clinton’s vision, the choir is a non-profit coed choral program for children in grades 3rd through 8th, and includes two choirs within the program.
Though the Descant Choir is a training choir for children 3rd grade and up with unchanged voices, and Chamber Choir is an auditioned choir for 5th to 8th grades, both focus on developing a unison sound and developing music theory knowledge.
Choir members rehearse once a week, Clinton said, and receive training in sightseeing, ear training, as well as gain mastery with rhythms, harmony and musical terms. And of course, foster a love for music.
“It teaches them discipline and the ability be part of the group, to know what it means to be a part of a group and have other people depend on you to do your part,” she said on how being part of a chorus can be an educational experience for children. “Choral singing is a team effort and when one person is missing the whole group suffers so you learn responsibility to others.”
Sandy Knudson, artistic director, said the students make quite the transformation over the years as they rehearse and perform in various community performances.
“When they first come in the choir we’re teaching them how to hold music and find measure numbers. By the time they leave the chamber they’re singing in three or four parts and they know what all the terms means, and we talk about the text and language and they become articulate and artistic musicians.”
Emma Youngblood, junior at Norman North High School, was a member of the choir for six years and said it has inspired her to study vocal performance in the future.
“I’ve missed the experience since high school because it’s only elementary and middle school. It’s cool to get together and sing songs because that’s what we love to do,” Youngblood said on why she is excited to sing as an alumna at Saturday’s performance.
Many students have gone on to study music, Knudson said. In fact, many are unable to return for the alumni concert because they have their own concerts on the same night.
With both current students and past students collaborating on this concert, Knudson said it’s not to be missed.
“It’s just going to be a great experience. We always have a fabulous concert. It’s only an hour long and it’s pretty and the children are amazing,” she said. “It’s one of those treasures in Norman that a lot of people don’t know about it but it’s a wonderful way to spend an hour. My friends that come are always amazed at what our children can do.
Clinton said their are approximately 80 children in the program right now, but she would love to see both choirs to continue to expand.
“We never turn a child away because of inability to pay,” she said, on available scholarships.
Auditions for next year’s choir are being held during April and May, Knudson said. For more information contact Choir Manager Tracy Day Kemper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the choir visit www.artworksok.org/ncc_overview/ncc_overview.cfm.