CSU Announces New Children’s Choir

COLUMBUS, Ga.- A new community children’s choir program will launch this September in conjunction with Columbus State University Continuing Education and the CSU Music Conservatory at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in downtown Columbus.

The program, named Voices of the Valley, is a mixed voice ensemble for children ages 9-14. Age-appropriate vocal training and a variety of literature from ancient sacred to classical and modern popular styles will be taught and performed in the 10-week sessions.

The goal will be to present the highest quality of ensemble singing possible from the participating young voices, said CSU Music Conservatory Director Steve Clark.

Steve Pace is the founding director of the ensemble and president of Voices of the Valley. He holds a bachelor’s of music from Mercer University and a master’s of music from Southwestern Baptist Seminary with emphasis in voice and conducting.

“It is an exciting time for the arts community in our area,” said Pace. “In addition to the wonderful opportunities already available to children in greater Columbus-Phenix City, I believe that the time has come to establish a traditional older children’s choral ensemble, committed to being the best that they can be. We will learn to sing correctly and appropriately so as to equip these children for years of singing enjoyment as youth and adults. Given their basic talent and commitment to excellence, we will take each child and help him or her discover their best voice as a musical team.”

Pace also is minister of music at Summerville Baptist Church in Phenix City and a featured soloist with the Sons of Jubal and a new member of the Centurymen, both internationally touring ensembles. He recently refreshed his post-graduate training with studies in music education at CSU’s Schwob School of Music.

Like Pace, several community leaders from both sides of the river see the cultural need for such a program in greater Columbus and have voiced their support for this ensemble, Clark said.

Sam Rawls, Robert George, Rev. Myron Douglas, Tom Helton, Mark Culpepper, Phenix City Mayor Jeff Hardin, Mary Jane Riley and the former Miss Phenix City, Jamie Harper, are among those serving on an advisory council for the project.

Voices of the Valley will hold its first meeting on Sept. 10 at the Schwob School of Music in RiverCenter. Acceptance to the program requires an individual 10-minute audition. Auditions, with a parent or guardian present, will be held on Monday evenings, Aug. 6 and 20, and on Sunday, Aug. 12.

Call Suzanne Hamacher at 706-568-2023 to schedule an audition. A prepared solo is not necessary. All applicants will be informed of their acceptance before any payment or registration is required. Singers must be 9 years old by Sept. 1 and not older than their 14th birthday by Dec. 31, 2007.

Once accepted, students can register through CSU Continuing Education at $125 per semester. Basic musical aptitude including pitch matching and steady beat, appropriate and functional group behavior, commitment to the rehearsal and performance schedule and the ability to follow instruction are the only requirements. Weekly rehearsals will be Mondays from 7-8:30 p.m. A single performance will take place between Nov. 15 and 18.