Children's and Youth - Church Based Programs
Date: June 4, 2010
Addressing the name change from “Children’s Choir” to “Children’s and Community Youth Choirs” – by Robyn Lana, National Chair
The Children’s Choir Repertoire and Standards Committee, including the Division Chairs and myself, are grateful to the ACDA membership for passing the change in our interest area title. We understand that it is now our call to demonstrate through action, answer questions that may arise and relieve concerns that inevitably come with change.
Many in ACDA membership have not experienced the misperception of who is served by the Children’s Choir R & S area and why the committee felt the need to propose such a change. Internationally, the term “children” includes young children through young adult. That has not been the case in the USA. The committee proposed the title change in an attempt to be inclusive and clearly indicate who is served by this R & S area. We are proud to include our youngest training choirs in community, church, and school programs. It is our responsibility to build the foundation for the future of choral music in the United States. We are also proud to serve community youth/children’s choirs that have developed from community, church, and school programs and are not part of regular school curriculum/course offerings. To those of us active in the field, it has always been clear that "children's choir" involves older youth and while including "elementary” programs. As Karen Bruno eloquently pointed out in her October 2009 article in the Choral Journal, “Keep America’s Youth Singing,” much of the national misperception is due to the success of MENC and their service to school based curricula. Church and community programs have often been misunderstood to fit into such a mold.
The Children’s and Community Youth Choir Repertoire and Standards Committee is proud to serve a variety "community" programs outside of school which include sacred and secular organizations. As stated in the proposal, the repertoire considered for reading sessions, in order to NOT overlap with those already offered through vibrant R & S committees (High School, Middle School, Community Choirs, etc . . .), will remain beginning to advanced treble repertoire. This committee has included an occasional changing male voice part as well but treble repertoire will remain the focus.
We hope to see change in the listening expectations of those who hear advanced community treble choirs and believe they are not “children” because there are clearly older singers participating. Of those who hear a community mixed voice choir who will not perform the same as the adult community choirs or school programs but are offering a high standard of artistry to their community and should be recognized and served. Also in addressing all those who work with parents and various levels of administration challenges in an extra-curricular activity that are unlike school programs.
As the newly named interest area grows into its own, we look forward to welcoming ACDA members, and new ACDA members as we develop and work toward inclusivity. We are hear to serve you and work with you and look forward to the future of children and youth conductor/teachers in ACDA.