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May 12, 2011

Five families make up more than 25 percent of Terre Haute Children’s Choir (See Video)

TERRE HAUTE — Brenda Chubb lives near Hillsdale and teaches in Terre Haute, but each Wednesday after school, she returns north to Clinton, picks up her three daughters and comes back south to Terre Haute for choir practice.

The family has followed that routine since September, when the girls auditioned for and became part of the Terre Haute Children’s Choir.

“It’s a huge commitment, especially for us because of the travel,” Chubb said. Hillsdale, in Vermillion County, is about 23 miles from Terre Haute.

But the drive, even with today’s gas prices, is worth it, Chubb said. “It’s been an awesome experience,” she said.

Her daughter, Halea, a fifth-grader, is in a more advanced group, while twin daughters and third-graders Rachel and Ashlea are in a beginning, “sing-up” group.

Halea, 11, has made the Indiana elementary all-state honor choir twice. “I like to sing,” the Ernie Pyle Elementary student said before practice Wednesday.

Halea has had several opportunities to perform. In addition to traditional concerts, the choir sang for the Sisters of Providence at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, it performed the national anthem at an Indiana State University basketball game, and members participated in “Miracle on Seventh Street” in December.

While costs can add up for tuition, uniforms and travel, it’s not unusual for several siblings in a family to participate in the choir, said Cheryl Schopmeyer, the choir’s administrator and board president.

This year, five families each have three children who participate. That’s about 26 percent of the 57-member choir, which has its spring concert at 7 p.m. Friday in Central Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Seventh St. There is no charge to attend.Children attend practice from 4:30 to 6 p.m. each Wednesday, September through May, although some participate for only half of the season. The choir does fundraising to help defray costs, and tuition is discounted if more than one sibling is involved.

Some of the children who participate are home-schooled, including the children of Tammy May.

“We think that the Children’s Choir is an excellent opportunity for some quality vocal training,” said Tammy May, who has three children in the choir, Lydia, 14; Elijah, 11; and Eleanor, 9.

She’s had other children participate as well.

Lydia May has sung with the choir since she was 9. “I love to sing and it’s lots of fun,” she said. “I’ve made several new friends.” Being in the choir has helped her become a better singer, she said.

This year, the choir has a new director, Dan Tryon, who also is choir teacher at Honey Creek Middle School. The assistant director is Chad Roscoe, choir director at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. “It’s great to be around kids who love singing,” Tryon said.

Participants come from Terre Haute and other Wabash Valley communities. Everyone must audition, but everyone makes it, Schopmeyer said. “If they want to participate, we make a place for them.”

They will be placed in one of three groups, depending on their skill level. Tuition is $150 for the nine-month season, with a discount for additional siblings.

“We have scholarships for those who can’t afford it,” Schopmeyer said. The next auditions will be at the end of August.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

 

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