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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a tuition fee of $150 per semester.
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.
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.
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!
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.
There are several community children's choirs in Virginia. Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Hampton Roads are other areas that support fine children's choirs.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.