June 16, 2005

Summer Youth Choir Being Formed at Dancing Rabbit

After spending more than a decade of his own youth singing in the Chicago Childrens Choir which toured across Europe, Japan and Mexico, Jeffrey Harris is attempting to bring his experience to work in this community.

Harris, a resident of Dancing Rabbit near Rutledge, is looking for singers between the ages of eight and 13 who would be interested in forming a summer youth choir to perform locally.

Singing is an excellent opportunity for children to feel good about themselves, Harris said. I envision this choir being an outlet for kids and a chance for those interested in music to demonstrate their skills.

The choir will begin practicing in July. The initial meeting, scheduled for June, will include basic auditions, to allow the choir leader to choose appropriate music based on the individuals skill level.

Rehearsals will be held every Monday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning on Thursday, July 7. The sessions will be held in the community building at Dancing Rabbit. Harris indicated that carpools will be organized for participants. The nearly month-long effort will culminate with a public performance scheduled for Saturday, July 30.

Harris said that starting a local choir has been a long-time goal of his. He sang with the Chicago Childrens Choir beginning at age eight. The musical group took him to Japan, Russia, Poland, France and Mexico all before his 18th birthday.

Ive always enjoyed childrens ensembles and the music they create, Harris said. My time with the choir was one of the most powerful experiences of my youth. It definitely was my personal pursuit that I was most committed to as I grew up.

The choir could include up to 30 singers but Harris said he would be happy to get 10 or 12 performers to commit to the program the first year.

Its difficult to anticipate how many children will want to participate, Harris said. Obviously there are lots of things for the kids to do over the summer, but hopefully we can make this work. Id love to turn this into an annual program.

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