Parents of nine students in grade school and middle school are enthusiastic supporters of their children’s participation in Newton Community Children’s Choir.
They talk about the added benefits of participation, not the added commitments on their parts — commitments of time and money.
“Parental involvement is extremely important,” Jennifer Young said. “Car pooling to rehearsals at Bethel College every Monday, fundraising for trips, volunteering to assist at concerts or chili feeds, and accompanying groups of kids on trips means you keep one eye on the calendar. But the benefits of being involved in a high-quality supplemental music experience are a big plus for my kids.”
Three of Young’s four children have been involved in NCCC. Her daughter, Mackenzie — now in college, was involved from fourth to ninth grade.
“Bryant was in it for his fourth and fifth grade years, Philip was too shy, and Alex is in his second year as a fifth grader,” she said.
Young said that when Mackenzie was young, she and Nick Preheim participated in Wichita Children’s Theater for several summers. Through connections with that group, they learned of the Newton Children’s Choir and became involved.
The NCCC has been in existence for 26 years. Membership is by audition in the fall. Members pay tuition of $180 a year and are responsible for the purchase of a tuxedo shirt, black bow tie, black dress slacks or long skirt, and black shoes. Students perform in Newton and surrounding communities at churches, festivals, public events, and with other musical groups.
“The kids performed with the Wichita Chamber Chorale at Christmas,” Young said. “The venue and music were wonderful. It was a moving performance.”
Students from the Peabody area who participate this year are Josh Bergman, Lexi Davis, Jefferson Glover, Rozy Kealy, Hayli Newman, Jake Partridge, Lukas Spencer, Sarah Spencer, and Alex Young.
Students take trips during the year and compete with other children’s choirs. NCCC students have performed in competitions at World’s of Fun in Kansas City and at Branson, Missouri. Steve and Donna Glover’s son, Jefferson, is a fifth-grader in the group. Donna was excited about a trip coming up in June.
“It is in Charleston, South Carolina — the Appalachian Festival of Young Voices from June 24 to 27,” she said. “Last we heard there were about 15 or 20 children and adults signed up for the trip. At the festival our kids will meet others from children’s choirs all over the country. They will work with clinicians, directors, and composers and learn the music, history, and culture of the Appalachian Mountains. It is good for them to be exposed to learning and performing different kinds of music. Seven of our students are planning to go and are trying to earn money for the trip.”
Newton Community Children’s Choir has a long history of teaching children who enjoy singing. The mission of the organization is to ‘provide members with opportunity to experience excellence in the learning and performance of choral music.’ Parental support is a cornerstone of the program.
Jennifer Young said private lessons and groups like the children’s choir provide extra satisfaction for students who have a need for music.
“I definitely feel it is important to offer extra opportunities,” she said. “I really see that with my son. Twenty minutes of music a day in a class of 26 fifth graders doesn’t give Alex enough for his enjoyment. You have to give them opportunity to try it if they are going to find something in it they love.”