Choir brings children together in harmony
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 08:53 am
Fond memories of standing shoulder-to-shoulder while singing in harmony with others prompted an idea one woman couldn’t resist.
Christina Taylor is bringing traditional choir to Okotoks youngsters.
The Okotokian started a choral group called the Okotoks Children’s Choir consisting of eight junior students in Kindergarten to Grade 2 and eight senior students in Grades 3 to 6.
“I love the traditional children’s choir music and the classical songs,” said Taylor.
“It’s based on the Kodály method of teaching music using folk songs, singing games and really just teaching them the right way to use their voices.”
Taylor said she felt the community could use a choir geared toward younger singers.
“A lot of parents want to put their children in private lessons,” she said. “Especially when they are so young it’s not as effective and it’s better to be in an environment where they are learning the right techniques in a choral group session. They’re learning to work together and they are still getting the training and technique that they need.”
When Taylor held auditions for her choirs, she couldn’t help but notice how shy some of the students were to sing on their own.
“You can tell that they want to,” she said. “When they are in a group situation it’s easier for them to let go when they know other kids are singing, too, and it won’t just be their little voice that’s heard.”
Although many area schools have choirs, Taylor said she wanted to bring young voices together after school. Her classes are held on Thursdays at Foothills Composite High School.
“I think if it’s something that interests them it’s something they can do in an evening and be a part of something that’s separate from school,” she said. “There is lots of stuff in Calgary, but I wanted something right here.”
Angela Goertzen was ecstatic when she learned about the Okotoks Children’s Choir and registered her six-year-old daughter because of her own experience singing in choirs.
“I just feel like it’s good for them to learn how to sing in a group and it’s good for them to learn to work in a group dynamic,” she said. “I just thought it would be a great way for her to do something in an organized environment just to teach her the basics and fundamentals of vocal performance, how to sing properly and how to develop her voice properly.”
For as long as Goertzen can remember, her daughter loved singing and she is confident this will be a great experience for her.
“My daughter is really excited about it,” she said. “She loves to sing and I thought it would be good for her.”
Teaching choir is something Taylor wanted to do for years. She taught choir for a year maternity leave position in the Foothills School Division, but is excited to have her own group of students.
Taylor, who has a bachelor of music and education degree from the University of Alberta and continues her music education through regular workshops at the Music Conference Alberta, began singing lessons in Grade 4 and fondly remembers her experience in choir.
In addition, she said the best time to learn choral music is at a young age.
“It’s so important for kids at such a young age to learn the right way to sing,” she said. “They can copy these singers on the radio and use their sort of yelly voices but it we can teach them when they’re young to use their voices properly they can sing what they want and do it the right way.”
Taylor said she hopes to expand the program to include older students in the future.
To get the word out about her new choir Taylor began a Facebook page and blog and is still welcoming youngsters to join the program with hopes of more than doubling her numbers. The program runs from September to May.
“They’re going to be learning so much different music, different languages of music, different styles of music, the music alone will keep things exciting,” she said. “A lot of it is singing games and incorporating play into it.”
For more information about the Okotoks Children’s Choir go to www.okotokschildrenschior.blogspot.ca