Choir teaches kids more than music

ChildrensChoirProgram helps
with self-esteem,
brain development

Maria Garza / Reporter

Drew Rodriguez may be new to the Master Choir, but he’s not new to singing at Del Mar College. The criminal justice major joined Del Mar College’s Children’s Choir at age 8. The program affected him a lot, he said, showing him that in the strive for perfection, help is always needed.

“The program helped me with singing, communication and self-esteem,” Rodriguez said.

The Del Mar College Children’s Chorus recently started its ninth season. Children ages 7-14 join the program after a short audition with Ouida Bliss Richardson, the artistic director of the program.

The program helps young people to develop their singing skills, creating musical artistry and choral music.

The current season stated Sept. 8 and will run though May 4.

“One of the important things to remember about this program is the connection between Del Mar College and the community,” said Dennis Richardson, director of choral activities at Del Mar College.

Singing, or any involvement in the arts, helps develop the growth and development of the brain, studies have shown. The Children’s Choir offers a creative outlet for children who may not have a choir program at their school. Such is the case for Narra and Dante Pucci, who attend Corpus Christi Montessori School, which has no a choir program.

_MG_9071”I want my children to learn how to sing, and to expose them to different styles of music,” said Jennifer Smith-Engle, Narra and Dante’s mother. Smith-Engle said her kids have loved being part of the Children’s Choir since they were first introduced to it.

The children meet once a week on Mondays for rehearsals and are expected to perform at least five times in the current season. Some of the benefits the program provides for the children are not only to enhance their singing abilities, but to learn to conquer fear and take positive risk. Choral music enhances qualities of teamwork, leadership and discipline. It also provides a means of self-expression and enhances self-esteem.

Rodriguez still remembers the time he traveled with the Children’s Choir to New York, and the difference it made in his life. He remembers singing in New York and the positive outcome from the crowd after the performance.

“After singing ‘Requiem’ in New York everyone kept on saying how amazing it was, we did a phenomenal job, and I will always remember that,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is still waiting for an opportunity to sing professionally but plans to continue participating in the college’s Master Choir. He said he knows he might not be where he is now had it not been for the Children’s Choir.

“I would say to the children to join the program; it’s fun and they will learn to love it,” he said. “Just do it, don’t be afraid.”

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