The NIU Community School of the Arts Children’s Choir begins rehearsals on January 29. Children ages 7 to 15 are welcome to join the group, which meets for weekly rehearsals from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. in the Music Building at Northern Illinois University.
Founded in 1988, the Community School of the Arts brings many of the most talented teachers in the region together with children, teens, and adults at all levels of ability. Approximately 500 people from more than 50 different cities and towns in the region come to NIU each semester to pursue their study of the arts.
Singers have fun singing and learning together. Break time is a part of every rehearsal, allowing for singers to get to know each other. In addition to concerts at the end of each semester, the choir offers special performances and events.
The choir sings a wide variety of music from all over the world. Director Mary Lynn Doherty works on helping the singers develop their voices by working on breath support, healthy vocal production, and increased stage performance skills at each rehearsal. Music literacy is a high priority.
In April, the singers have the chance to work with renowned choir director and composer Nick Page, who will be at NIU for a residency funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The residency concludes with a community sing on April 5 in the Concert Hall.
Doherty is a children’s choral conductor with 20 years of experience working with community and school choral groups. She is active as a clinician and guest conductor for elementary, middle, and high school choral festivals throughout the region. She is an associate professor and coordinator of music education for the School of Music at NIU.
“Singing gives kids the chance to communicate in positive ways. We are lucky to have excellent music programs in our schools. However, this choir gives the children wonderful musical opportunities that they will not get anywhere else,” Doherty said.
The CSA Children’s Choir is one of seven ensembles offered this spring by the NIU Community School of the Arts. Other opportunities include a full orchestra, two string orchestras for young players, a steelband, a guitar ensemble, and a ukulele ensemble. Lessons and classes in music and art are also available. The program is sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Teachers are faculty and students in the NIU School of Music and Art.
For more information, call (815) 753-1450 or go online to csa.niu.edu.