(Keene, NH) The Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs (GMYC) began in 1997 as the Peterborough Children’s Choir, founded by Maria Belva. Recently Belva taped a show on Cheshire Television with Artistic Director, Esther Rhoades, hired in 2014 and promoted in 2017 to replace Belva as she stepped down from the helm of the nonprofit.
Belva shared the chronology of how the organization began, an idea that sprung from a Raylynmor Opera production of “Hansel and Gretel.” As more students found their way to the Choir, they were grouped by ages until there were three children’s choirs. One of these choirs, the Cecilia Ensemble, is comprised of young women in high school who have had the opportunity to travel internationally every two years, singing for audiences in auditoriums, churches and even spontaneously on the street.
This year they are traveling to the Czech Republic in April, performing for six days in various locations ending in Prague, where they will visit the Terezin Concentration Camp. This tour is very special because they will be performing a choral piece that was composed in Terezin by amateur musician, Karel Vrba, called Nezapomen, who was transported to Auschwitz shortly after the piece was completed.
In 2005 the Cecilia Ensemble premiered Nezapomen in Peterborough while touring in Germany and the Czech Republic. This year they will return to perform the piece inside the walls of Terezin, 74 years after it was written. Their send-off concert will be held on April 15, 4:00pm at the Dublin Community Church in Dublin, NH.
In 2017, under the leadership of Artistic Director, Esther R. H. Rhoades, GMYC expanded into Keene with two additional choirs while continuing to direct the two existing Peterborough choirs. Through these four choirs, GMYC provides performance-based choral music education to young singers in the Monadnock Region, grades 2-12, who gain proficiency in music literacy. Guidance provided by Rhoades allows young participants to appropriately adapt their unique, developing strengths. Youth learn how to work as a disciplined team, build personal confidence, strengthen listening skills and enjoy the accomplishments of their hard work. Audiences are delighted with their outstanding choral performances twice annually, spring and fall, in both Keene and Peterborough.
Rhoades is thrilled with the outlook for 2018. “I am one of the lucky few who get to do what I love every day - make music with these young singers by creating a safe environment for children to learn and express themselves. GMYC offers a unique opportunity for youth in the Monadnock Region. We are excited to deepen and expand that experience through the joy of collaboration in our communities.”
GMYC is the performance-based Choral music education program for young singers (Grades 2-12) in the Monadnock Region. We value choral music as essential to growing peace in our community and do not discriminate. Visit the website at www.grandmonadnockyouthchoirs.org, or call 603-313-0052 for more information. Check the Cheshire TV website for broadcast dates and times. http://cheshiretv.org/