The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir and Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra – both of which fall under the Eastern Mennonite University umbrella – have started a tradition of typically convening once annually, just before Thanksgiving.
The goal is educational in two parts: It’s not only for the two groups to learn from each other, but for both to learn from a new audience. An added bonus, of course, is that the audience has an opportunity to experience both groups for the price of … well, nothing.
The Fall Concert to be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 24, is free and open to the public; donations will be collected benefiting scholarships for students in the programs.
Last year, SVCC did not participate in the Fall Concert due to a busy performance schedule.
The show will feature the local singing ensemble’s concert and treble choirs, which will take stage following a performance by the entire 50-person youth orchestra at EMU’s Lehman Auditorium.
“Our kids … get to hear the orchestra, and the orchestra gets to hear the choir,” said Joy Anderson, assistant director of the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, explaining the benefits of the group’s joint concert with the symphony.
“Even though I think there’s a lot of overlap in the audience, it’s a different audience.”
The children’s choir consists of three choirs and two classes – only the eldest two perform during the Fall Concert. The treble choir has about 33 students, typically ages 9 to 14, while the concert choir rounds out to roughly 60 participants, usually 11- to 18-year-olds.
Public, private and home schoolers come from as far as Staunton, West Virginia and Lexington to participate in the group, according to Anderson.
“Most big cities have a civic children’s choir program, but it’s not as typical to have it in more of a small city,” she explained, adding that the SVCC has travelled as far as Italy and Hawaii, and performed at Carnegie Hall and the White House.
“We’re really happy to be performing with the orchestra,” she said. “It’s a nice way to kind of kick off the holiday season.”
The youth orchestra consists of students from 7th to 12th grades, typically, although one particularly gifted 7-year-old is currently involved, according to Sharon Miller, administrative director for EMU’s preparatory music program and manager of the youth symphony.
This year’s orchestra soloist – a position set aside for a high schooler on his or her way out of the program – will be Caleb Schrock-Hurst, a senior at Eastern Mennonite High School. The symphony includes students from many local high schools, as well as home-schoolers, the occasional middle-schooler and local college students who fill in the blanks.
For some parts, especially the brass positions, high school students at the level necessary to join the group don’t audition, Miller explained.
Courtesy Daily News Record, Nov. 16, 2013