Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing
things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire
other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Amazing Kids! of the Month for December, 2007:
Amazing Los Angeles Children’s Chorus; Los Angeles, California
Quotes of the Month
“To sing, to act, or perform, you have to
love what you are doing if you want to do it well.”
“If you want to be good at singing and performing, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more.”
“For kids who want to perform, I say they
should follow their dreams and do something they enjoy doing."
December's Amazing Kid! Of the Month:
In today’s entertainment-focused culture, the "glamour" of being a pop star seems to be emphasized almost everywhere we look. Whether it's entertainment magazine television shows, or kids' TV shows and teen magazines, the emphasis seems to be on popular singers who wear designer clothes and often have over-the-top lifestyles. As a result of this kind of constant bombardment and over-exposure to the marketing hype of pop culture, some children’s first desire to be involved in music is fueled in large part by the hype, as they believe that they too will become "stars" someday through their musical talents.
But behind all the advertising dollars spent to market the teen pop star du jour, what we don't often get to see are the countless stories of children who love music and singing for the art itself, and for their own personal growth and enjoyment; not because they see it as a vehicle for becoming a "star." They love all kinds of music, not just "pop" music, and appreciate classical as well as contemporary works.
In Los Angeles, there is a special group of children singers who fit into this latter category: the members of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. The chorus, known as LACC, was founded in 1986 and is noted throughout the United States for both its artistry and exceptional technical ability. Six children audition at a time; judges look for healthy voices, the ability to hear and sing pitches correctly, as well as an inquisitive attitude in the children, some of whom are then admitted into the choir after the audition process. Currently, there are 260 choristers from 60 communities across Los Angeles.
Read their story below, and who knows? Maybe you too will fall in love with music and singing, and become inspired to join a children's chorus near you, so you can explore the beauty, artistry and sheer enjoyment of choral music and performance for the sake of art itself.
Don't forget: If you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month award online nomination form, visit our AKOM nomination information page (http://www.amazing-kids.org/nomination.htm#nomination) or email us!
Table of Contents
About the Los Angeles Children's Chorus
Los Angeles Children Choir in performance
About the Los Angeles Children's Choir
Under the artistic direction of Anne Tomlinson, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) has emerged as one of the nation’s leading children’s choruses with an outstanding reputation. Founded in 1986, LACC performs regularly with Southern California’s most prominent performing arts organizations, at its own self-produced concerts, with other children’s choruses, at choir festivals, and for appreciative community groups and organizations throughout the region and abroad.
Despite an extensive rehearsal schedule, the talented and dedicated young members of LACC have no complaints about their workload, due to their true passion for singing and performing. Eleven-year-old Madeleine Lew, who is a fifth grader at the Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, California, says she joined the choir because of her “love of singing” and says she has been singing her “entire life”. Similarly, twelve-year-old Stephen Cruz, who is home-schooled, joined because not only did he enjoy singing, but also performing for an audience on stage. Twelve-year-old Peter Riemers, a sixth grader at High Point Academy, decided to audition because he loves listening to music and after hearing a CD produced by the LACC, he decided that it was a choir he was interested to be a part of.
Members of the LACC take a break from rehearsals
Although the children themselves have incredible talents, they acknowledge that they have many people to thank for helping them reach their full potential, their mentors. Madeleine considers Mrs. Brigham, her first teacher at LACC, to be one of her mentors. Another LACC teacher, Suzanna Guzman is also a mentor of Madeleine because of the "passion and heart" she puts into her music.
Madeleine says: "Mrs. Brigham was my first teacher at LACC, she taught me many things, and amazes still, with her patience and serenity. Mrs. Brigham is the teacher for Intermediate, Preparatory, and now Apprentice choir, and is fabulous at what she does. Another mentor of mine is Suzanna Guzman. In Keepers of the Night, I performed with her, and got to hear one of her lectures. When she sang Carmen for us, anyone could tell, she sang with all of her heart and soul. Lastly, during Keepers, I did a lot of work with Mrs. Tomlinson. She inspires me with her passion for teaching chorus, while encouraging care for our voices. "
Stephen says his parents and older brother CJ are his life mentors, and at LACC, Ms. Tomlinson, Ms. Brigham, Ms. Smurthwaite, and his theory teachers have helped him tremendously. He says: "LACC teaches me how to value not only my time but also those who spend time teaching me."
Peter emphasizes the importance of support from his family, who provided encouragement during rehearsals as well as concerts. He also says: "LACC has taught me so much and I can't thank everyone enough for what they have done."
Together, the children at LACC and their teachers represent a group of dedicated and highly talented singers who have had extraordinary accomplishments. Not only do children learn how to express themselves through the beauty of music, they have also made many friends in Los Angeles as well as elsewhere in the world through LACC’s international tours. This past summer, they were fortunate to be able to perform in a world-premiere of a children's opera "Keepers of the Night," which was commissioned just for the Los Angeles Children's Choir! It was composed by Peter Ash and the libretto was written by Donald Sturrock. (Read our review of "Keepers" in the Amazing Kids! eZine, Issue #22: www.amazing-kids.org/ezine_22/ez.html)
LACC in the opera "Keepers of the Night." In this scene, choir members
perform as creatures of the forest, sing about the coming of dawn.
The LACC has also been invited frequently to perform with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Hollywood Bowl. For their current concert schedule, visit their website at: www.lachildrenschorus.org/concert0708.shtml
Through her experiences with LACC, Madeleine Lew has realized that to sing well, one must take care of his or her voice and sing and feel the music with emotion and heart. Stephen, who wishes to become a patent lawyer in addition to an opera singer, appreciates singing in a diverse range of genres and languages and as well as learning to manage his time effectively and productively. Other children, including Peter, have learned proper breathing techniques as well as other essential skills such as sight reading. For children who would like to pursue singing, the choristers encourage them to work towards their goals, but also find peace, serenity, and enjoyment through the beauty and harmony of music.
It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered. (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!)
If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it! Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are! We are always looking for new stories. And don't be shy! We'd love to hear from you!
If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them? Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talent.Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors. If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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