Cantate Children's and Youth Choir

FAQ - Frequent Questions from Parents

What skills should my child have acquired to join Cantate?

New singers must be able to read words fluently and carry a tune.  It is not necessary to read music; our children quickly learn the basics of sight-singing.

Are there any basics about children and singing to be aware of?

Most children have the ability to sing - and participating in a good children's choir is the best way to acquire that skill. Singing in a choir is like being on a sports team.  Everyone's voice contributes to the sound of the group.

How do children of such widely varying ages rehearse together?

Cantate rehearsals are held on Monday afternoons between September and May:  from 4:00 until 5:30 for younger singers, and from 4:00 until 6:00 for older singers, in addition to occasional extra scheduled rehearsals.  Boys with changed voices rehearse from 5:00 until 6:00.

When does Cantate rehearse?

The choir rehearses on Monday afternoons during the school year, beginning the Monday after Labor Day and finishing early in May.  Children may join the choir in either the fall or spring semester.

What if my child is usually hungry after a day at school?

Rehearsals contain a break of about ten minutes for snack-time.  Ensuring a snack and liquid refreshment are available for each child is an important detail in organizing rehearsals; there is opportunity for parents and others to be supporters in this area.

How much does Cantate cost?

There is a tuition fee of $150 per semester.

What if I cannot afford to pay to have my child participate in Cantate?

No one has ever been turned away from Cantate because they could not afford to pay.  A generous grant from the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust provides half-tuition scholarships.  A simple confidential application form is filed with our Scholarship Committee.

What do singers wear for concerts?

A blue Cantate polo shirt is provided for each child.  The cost of the shirt is borne by tuition fees.  Black and white choir vestments are used for some concerts.  Singers do need to provide their own black pants, black shoes, and black socks.  Sometimes singers wear their own white shirts.

How many adults are present for rehearsals?

The director and the assistant director are always present.  Frequently there is also a parent or grandparent present as well.  We always welcome parents or guests at rehearsals.  Nothing we do is secret, and parents often express amazement when they hear how quickly the children learn the often-complicated music we sing!

Does Cantate sing in other languages?

We frequently sing music in the original language.  This past year alone, we sang in English, Latin, French, German, and Hebrew.  In the past we have sung in such unusual languages as Serbo-Croatian and Scottish Gaelic.

Are there other community children's choirs in the area?

There are several community children's choirs in Virginia.  Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Hampton Roads are other areas that support fine children's choirs.

What if a child is shy?

We have had great success with some "shy" children.  Since our singing is done in a group, a child is not in the spotlight.  Not infrequently, parents are particularly struck by how shy children grow and blossom into self-confident adolescents as a consequence of singing in our group.

How old are the children in Cantate? and how large is the group?

Cantate singers range in age from 8 to 18:  broadly speaking, we say from third through twelfth grade.  All education choices are represented in the choir:  some of our children attend private and public schools in Central Virginia, and others are home-schooled.  Third grade is a good age to start singing in Cantate.  Occasionally we accept a mature second grader.  This past season, we had over thirty singers, of whom about half were in the younger group (elementary), and half were in the older group (middle school and high school).

Doesn't Cantate duplicate what my child already gets at school?

One of the great advantages of a community children's choir is the wide age range of the children in the group.  The singers are at different stages of their musical development, but each age range has a valuable contribution to make to the overall sound of the choir.  Plus, once a child is familiar with the choir, it can become a "constant" factor as he or she experiences various milestones of transition through the school-age years.

Apart from the tuition fee, is there any paperwork required for my child to be in Cantate?

Yes, there is some...

As with most educational organizations where a child's physical presence is involved, a parent or legal guardian is required to complete confidential forms covering emergency contact information and consent for emergency medical treatment.

In order for a child to be considered for a scholarship, a parent or legal guardian is required to complete a confidential form for the Scholarship Committee.

Further information is available - please see "further information" topic lower on this page.

What can I tell my child about having an audition?

Auditions are low-key:  for example, singers do not need to bring a prepared piece to sing, although they are welcome to do so.  The audition will include well-known songs like "Happy Birthday" and "Row, row, row your boat", as well as introducing the singer to a new piece.

How do I go about scheduling an audition for my child?

There are various ways to get in touch.  Use the response form on the Contact Us page, or call the director, Peggy Howell, at (434) 528-1138, ext. 20, to schedule an audition.  The response form has a checkbox you can use to have a copy of your message emailed to you from the website.  (Once your message is sent that way, it evaporates from the website!  The information in the email can only be retrieved at the recipient's inbox.)  Or, you can write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What's the best way to get further information?

There are various ways to get in touch.  Use the response form on the Contact Us page, or call the director, Peggy Howell, at (434) 528-1138, ext. 20, for further information.  The response form has a checkbox you can use to have a copy of your message emailed to you from the website.  (Once your message is sent that way, it evaporates from the website!  The information in the email can only be retrieved at the recipient's inbox.)  Or, you can write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..