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From the Mouth of Babes

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Courtesy Daily News Record, Mar. 15, 2012

Choir lovers can expect a little deja vu at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir this weekend.

The group will celebrate the milestone with a performance at Eastern Mennonite University’s Lehman Auditorium.

The organization’s three children’s choirs — the Preparatory, Treble and Concert choirs — will perform Saturday and Sunday, with about 35 former choir members for a special presentation Saturday, Director Julia White said.

“It’s special because we’ve survived 20 years,” said White. “We’re a nonprofit organization that has all-volunteer fundraising. That we’ve survived 20 years is our biggest accomplishment.”

The performance is expected to last about an hour and 30 minutes, and will include a variety of pieces, including classical works and folk songs from around the globe, as well as sacred and secular music, White said.

Three musicians — Bill Wellington on banjo, Natalya Kirilyuk on violin and Rick Deloney on percussion — will also perform with the choir, said White.

“That’s kind of unusual that we’d have parents and professional musicians playing with the choir,” she said.

The program will include much of the same music the group performed for an American Choral Directors Association meeting in Winston-Salem, N.C., earlier this month, which was a big success, White said.

“We were selected as one of 18 choirs out of 100 applicants to sing at that,” said White. “And then, when we did sing, the audience leapt to their feet. So, to have the encouragement and affirmation from choral directors in 11 states in the South was very exciting. So, we’re going to be singing that same set that we sang in North Carolina on Saturday.”

The performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 for children, $10 for seniors, $12 for adults and $15 for the special reserve section, and can be obtained by calling the EMU box office at 432-4582.

‘Just A Great Group’

Fishersville resident Ben Elliott, 14, a member of the Treble Choir, began singing in the SVCC when he was in third grade, after a change was made to his usual choir in Waynesboro. He had heard of the SVCC before and decided, along with his parents, that it was as good a time as any to try performing with the group.

“It might be one of the best groups I [will] ever sing in,” said Elliott, who has had almost a decade of piano lessons. “It’s just a great group to sing in.”

The weekend concerts will be the last local performances by the children’s choir this season, he said, “so, we want to make sure that we perform well.”

Of the songs the group will perform, Elliott said a paraphrased version of Psalm 100 is his favorite.

“It uses a lot of direct quotations from Psalm 100 and it uses a lot of harmonies, a lot of interesting chord developments,” said Elliott. “It’s very fun.”

In May, the choir will perform at Carnegie Hall. Tickets for that event can be purchased by calling 432-4650 or by visiting www.emu.edu/box-office. An April 23 concert is set for 8 p.m. with the James Madison University Choirs. Tickets for that event can be obtained through www.jmu.edu/jmuarts or by calling 568-7000.

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