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Van der Vat-Chromy Named Interim Music Director of Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir


Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Education at James Madison University, will serve as interim music director of the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC) for the 2012-2013 season.

“’Dr. V.’ will be directing the Treble and Concert Choirs and has been hard at work already, choosing exciting new repertoire,” said Joy Anderson, assistant director of the SVCC. “The SVCC staff has worked closely with her so that the beginning of the choir year will run as smoothly as always. We can’t wait for the choristers to meet and work with Dr. V!”

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

Van der Vat-Chromy serves as director of choral activities at James Madison University (JMU), leading the Madison Singers, the JMU Chorale and the University Women’s Chorus. Her academic responsibilities include graduate thesis supervision, undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, high school choral methods, graduate choral literature and student teacher supervision.

“For over 20 years, the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir has exemplified a tradition of musical excellence in children’s choral singing here in the Shenandoah Valley,” said van der Vat-Chromy.  “I look forward to working in conjunction with the SVCC leadership team, as well as the Eastern Mennonite University arts faculty and administration, as this wonderful organization navigates its next cycles of development.”

Van der Vat-Chromy is succeeding Julia J. White, who founded the choir with 37 children in grades 4-8 in 1992 and nurtured it into dozens of children performing widely. Over the years, the SVCC under White produced 15 recordings, had White House and Carnegie Hall appearances, and was otherwise recognized nationally. White left her position as artistic director this summer.

Formerly on the music staff of The International School of Brussels, Belgium, Van der Vat-Chromy served as the vocal music director at the American School of The Hague (ASH), in the Netherlands. Her work at ASH included directing six choirs and co-directing two concert bands, teaching rock music history, musical theater and directing the ASH Community Choir.

In addition to her doctoral degree in music education and choral conducting from Florida State University, van der Vat-Chromy holds a MM in horn performance from Bowling Green State University, a BA in music from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a teaching certification from the University of Michigan.

Her research interests include the kinesthetic connections in conducting pedagogy, choral acoustic music measurement, curriculum/assessment strategies for middle and high school choirs, and the sociological impact of choral cultures on student learning.

In addition to Van der Vat-Chromy and Anderson, the SVCC staff includes Maurita Eberly, principal accompanist; Yvette Peake, manager; Ethan Zook, choir president; and Kris Shank Zehr, office assistant and Explorers manager.

Audition or Explore!

Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, interim director, and Joy Anderson, assistant director, will hold auditions for Preparatory (ages 7-11), Treble (ages 9-14) and Concert (ages 10-18) Choirs on August 15 and 22 between 4-6 p.m., at EMU. To schedule an audition, please call the SVCC office at 540-432-4650 or email Kris Shank Zehr, office assistant, at kris.shankzehr@emu.edu. For more information about the choir, visit our website at emu.edu/svcc/

The Explorers program offers an active, game-based program for children ages 5-8. New students are welcome.

Children will learn beginning music reading, aural skills, and music fundamentals in a fun, gentle, and developmentally appropriate environment. This program is based on the Kodály approach to music education, which has been associated with increased math and reading skills as well as musical ability. Instructor: Joy Anderson. For more information and for registration materials contact Kris Shank Zehr, Explorers manager, at 540-432-4667 or email kris.shankzehr@emu.edu.

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