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Colorado Springs Children's Chorale teaches leadership, service, through song

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Hitting a high note both with song and with community service. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS CHILDREN'S CHORALE
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Children's Chorale
  • Hitting a high note both with song and with community service.

Colorado Springs Children's Chorale singers proudly sport T-shirts that read "music=life."

To busy participants, the phrase is not an overstatement. CSCC, now in its 40th year, hosts more than 100 local events annually. For the Summit Ensemble, the chorale's high school group, performances are squeezed in with weekly two-hour practices and an intense six-hour rehearsal one Saturday a month. While some students might shudder at the thought of giving up a Saturday afternoon, Summit Ensemble members don't seem to mind.

"Chorale is where our heart is, and chorale is our commitment," says Abri Boyd, an 11th grader who's grown up in the program. Children from second grade to high school seniors make up CSCC's four choirs: Summit Ensemble, Pikes Peak Singers, Springs Singers and the Chorale Academy.

The chorale travels internationally to spread the power of music to those around them, with some members venturing as far as Italy, and, most recently, Australia, where the group performed with aboriginal choirs.

"We often serve in orphanages, nursing homes and in underserved communities in the countries we visit," says Marcia Hendricks, CSCC's executive director. "While the music is the vehicle, the most important thing we do in Children's Chorale is to create confident young leaders who are committed to being of service to their community and even the world."

Locally, the chorale performs at fundraisers for other nonprofits such as CASA of the Pikes Peak Region, March of Dimes and the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission. The group also perform at Colorado Springs' nursing homes and schools.

"We'll spend an entire day teaching kids and showing them music and choreography and things like that," says Summit Ensemble member Maija Pieper. "We get to help people along in their journey and lives through music, which a lot of people don't get to do."

And the chorale's work doesn't end at community concerts. The organization also takes on an annual service project. This year, it will collect items for homeless children, teens and adults. "We also will be creating gifts for the Springs Rescue Mission to give to each of their guests throughout the season," Hendricks says.

As they seek to change the lives of others locally and abroad, members of the chorale say their lives have been transformed as well. "Not only does it prepare us musically, but it prepares our generation and many generations before us to be good people and go out into the community and share our love of music, share our love of life," Boyd says.

"I don't think I would be who I am today without chorale. It's just changed my life completely," says Victoria Aguilar, a ninth grader in the Summit Ensemble.

Hendricks has high hopes for the future, with help from Give! donations. Currently, singers practice at the Thomas MacLaren School, but the organization is searching for a more permanent location. Plus, CSCC wants to provide tuition assistance to alumni of the program. Visit kidssing.org for more info.

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