Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 28, 1999
Choral group offers opportunities for children
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Calling all kids who can carry a tune.
A new scholarship program providing voice lessons and the opportunity to sing with a renowned singer is auditioning children who can sing anything.
And anything could mean weekly performances with the church choir or just singing along to the Brittany Spears CD in your basement.
"It's not crucial they have a lot of singing experience," said Warren Mack, who will oversee the auditions. "I'm looking for that innate ability."
All Mack asks is that children interested in auditioning for one of the 30 scholarships can carry a tune and exert alertness, motivation and eagerness.
Mack is one of the conductors of the Futura Community Choir, which is offering the scholarships. The choir, formerly known as the Willan Chorale, specializes in traditional liturgical music such as Gregorian and Anglican chant.
The program includes an adult choir and separate boys and girls choirs. The scholarship is targeted towards girls aged 12 to 16 and boys aged eight to 13.
"This is going to be a world class choir," said Henry Williams, founder and director of the program.
Scholarship recipients will practise once a week from September until April. Music will include modern and traditional choir music and chants.
Each scholarship offers the recipient $1,000 worth of voice lessons and "a whole life," said Williams.
"These kids will get a sense of camaraderie and team spirit from this," he said. "The English choir schools have always turned out great human beings, excellent contributors to society."
Mack is more scientific in his explanation of the benefits. "Singing uses both sides of the brain. Kids develop better math skills, better problem-solving skills. Musicians go less senile because they're using both sides of their brain."
The Futura Choir was formed in 1997 to bring choir music out of churches and into the secular public, said Williams.
"It's a very spiritually hungry public we have these days," he said. "The music needs to be presented to them."
The group now has 22 adults and seven boys in its choirs. It is staffed by experienced and respected musicians. Williams is best known as the former long-time organist and choir master at the Anglo-Catholic Parish of St. Stephen the Martyr.
Mack is conductor of the Knox Metropolitan Choir and also led the award-winning Alberta Redwater boy's choir.
Ann Parry, conductor of the girls' choir, sings with the Edmonton Opera Chorus.
For more information contact Williams at 488-9462.