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Strathmore Children’s Choir to perform at Choralfest South

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

Members of the Strathmore Children’s Choir perform during a workshop on March 3 at Gilbert Paterson Middle School in Lethbridge.

Members of the Strathmore Children’s Choir perform during a workshop on March 3 at Gilbert Paterson Middle School in Lethbridge.

The month of March heralds the beginning of springtime, but for the Strathmore Children’s Choir, the month also shepherds in with it a number of opportunities for young singers. This spring the choir members will perform before hundreds of young children, attend workshops and travel to Choralfest South 2017 in Calgary.

 

Last weekend, the finale choir composed of girls in Grades 7 to 12 travelled to Lethbridge and performed at Park Meadows Elementary School and Gilbert Patterson Middle School.

Loralee Laycock, director of the Strathmore Children’s Choir explained that the group is a community choir that rehearses outside of school hours. The finale choir performed for about half an hour during an assembly at Park Meadows Elementary School. During the assembly the school’s choir also sang two songs.

“The reason we went to that school is because the music teacher at that school is a former student of mine who used to live in Strathmore,” explained Laycock.

That afternoon the choir travelled to Gilbert Patterson Middle School where they worked their choir.

“That evening we did a performance at Gilbert Patterson Middle School with their select choir, the Park Meadows Elementary School choir and our choir,” she said. The performance was the highlight of the trip for many of the young singers.

“We certainty never performed in an elementary school like that before,” she said.

Laycock explained that the performance was very interactive for the elementary school children.

“We sang songs that they would be familiar with, or songs that had actions we could teach to them,” she said.

“That part was really unique for my choir kids because they could stand in the choir and look out and see 300 little elementary school kids doing the actions and they could see kids doing the actions back to them, and singing along with them,” she said.

The choir pulled kids out of the audience to join the choir, play instruments and become actively involved in the music.

“I could see the faces of the kids in my choir. They were very excited about the chance to sing for these little kids who were so appreciative,” said Laycock.

“Afterwards we had several girls who were approached by the younger children maybe six of seven years old who told them they were so glad that they had come and they were so thankful that they would come and sing for them,” she said.

“It was a really special thing for some of these older girls to do for the younger kids,” she said.

A choir composed of older girls attended a two-day tour at Lethbridge which included workshops and performances at two schools. The same choir will be attending Choralfest South 2017 in Calgary.

Choralfest will take place at Knox United Church March 15 to 16. This will be the third year the choir has attended Choralfest.

“It’s a great experience,” said Laycock. Choirs are paired with two other choirs who each listen to the others performances.

Each performs three pieces and then they are adjudicated.

“You get to work with a couple of the adjudicators that just heard you sing. It’s really hands-on. It’s different than the music festivals in that they do give you a mark and a grade, but it’s more the experience and about learning and being exposed to different people’s ideas about how you can sing the same song,” she said.

Members of the Strathmore Children’s Choir will also be holding a combined concert in April with the Calgary Youth Singers.

The Encore choir, a group of singers from Kindergarten to Grade 5 will be performing with the Calgary Youth Singers on April 8. The event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students that may serve as inspiration for the young singers.

“It’s nice to have them exposed to other kids who like to sing like they do and it’s exciting to perform,” said Laycock.

“It’s intimidating to go to a big place and sing, for example for Choralfest in a couple of weeks, we sing at Knox United Church, which is a beautiful facility, and much bigger than anything that we have in Strathmore to sing in,” she said.

“It’s a unique opportunity for them to see how they sound at one of those places too,” she said.