The Red Deer Children’s Choir is back.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020 the Red Deer Children’s Choir, as well as other musical groups in the city, were temporarily stopped.
But this year, children will be able to sing together once again thanks to choir organizer Denise Gagne, choir director Lisa Ward and accompanist Morgan McKee.
“I decided I wanted the children’s choir up and running again. Right now, we have 100 kids signed up,” Gagne said, adding they have so many young singers that they cannot accept anymore for the time being.
There are two groups: the prep choir for children in kindergarten and Grade 1, which has about 30 singers, and the children’s choir for children from Grade 2-6, which has 70.
“The children’s choir has been run by a variety of organizations in the past 20 years,” said Gagne, who ran the choir from about 2006-09.
“We hope this time, because we’re fully subsidizing it, that it will remain a viable organization for kids. There are no barriers. New Canadians, families will low incomes – everybody can come to this choir, as long as we have space.”
There are many reasons people should sing in choirs, Gagne said.
“Singing is good for you. There’s a lot of research that says singing and making music in ensembles are good for your mental health,” said Gagne.
“It makes you feel like you’re part of a community. It’s teaching kids musical skills that they may not be able to access via private lessons because of the costs of those lessons.
“We’ve got worksheets made up for our kids so they actually learn some music theory, they learn how to read rhythm, they learn how to read simple melodies. They’re getting some of the benefits of private lessons without it being unaffordable for a lot of families.”
Gagne said there aren’t many activities that activate the entire brain – but music is one of them.
“In music, we’re thinking about it, we’re moving to it and we’re excited about it. It affects our emotions because our we express the meaning of the song with our emotions,” she said.
“Kids do get some of this in sport activities, but not everybody can participate. (Singing) is an activate that everyone can participate in.”