A new chorus group for children is forming in Keene and looking for singers.
Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs is adding a section called the Keene Youth Chorus for children in grades 2 through 5, according to a news release from the nonprofit organization.
The organization was founded in 1997 to provide music education and bring together young people who like to sing, according to its website.
Maria Belva, founder and artistic director of Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs, said the chorus is a good opportunity for young musicians to build on the musical training they learn at school.
“It will augment the musical instruction they get in school and it’s really a place for children who absolutely love to sing,” she said.
Being in a chorus will also teach the children team skills, according to Belva.
“When you make music together, you learn about team building,” she said. “It’s like playing on a sports team, except you’re doing something artistic.”
The Keene Youth Chorus will rehearse in Keene and join the other four sections of Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs to perform in Keene and Peterborough throughout the year.
The group’s first performance is Dec. 5 at St. James Episcopal Church on West Street in Keene, at 3 p.m., according to Esther R.H. Rhoades, the director of the Keene Youth Chorus. Then on Dec. 6, the chorus will perform again at the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church, also at 3 p.m.
Rehearsals will be Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Monadnock Waldorf High School in Keene, Rhoades said.
Auditions for the Keene Youth Chorus will take place from Sept. 15 to 17. During the audition, Rhoades said she wants to see if the children can match a pitch and carry a tune. There will be between 25 and 30 spots in the chorus, according to Rhoades.
Once selected, the cost to join the chorus is $200 per semester, but scholarships are available, Rhoades said.
“No one is turned away because of finances,” she said.
If a family has more than one child in the group, the cost is reduced to $150 per semester for the second child, Rhoades said.
Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs’ other sections are the Skylarks, for children from 5 to 7 years old; the Trebles, for grades 2 through 4; the Choristers, for grades 5 through 8; and the Cecilia Ensemble, for girls in grades 9 through 12.
“What we do in the grand Monadnock Youth Choirs is we present the finest music that is written for young voices and that’s really the most important thing,” Belva said.
The experience of participating in a choir also “nurtures a lifelong commitment to artistic expression,” she said.
“And they’re learning a language that has no barriers,” Belva added. “Music is the universal language.”
To schedule an audition, those interested can contact Rhoades at Esther.firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 499-3505. To find more information about Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs and its other singing groups, visit its website at www.gmychoirs.org.
Those who would like to audition for any of the other sections can email Belva at email@example.com, or call her at 924-2055.
Monadnock Ledger Transcript -Benji Rosen
When the Cecilia Ensemble — a choir of high school-age girls from across the region — performed in the Czech Republic in 2005, one of the singers addressed the audience in Czech, to which the audience erupted in applause because a foreigner had learned their language.
In 2007, in the Catalonian region of Spain, another singer from the Cecilia Ensemble spoke Catalan to the audience, after which they also whistled and cheered.
“We become ambassadors of our town, our state and our country — that’s how I see us, as ambassadors,” says Artistic Director Maria Belva. “I like doing things like that. The girls get a sense of what it means to the people there to be a part of their country.”