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Statesboro choirs bring songs and celebration
A member of the Statesboro Youth Chorale Monday looks at the music.
    Singing is in the air as the first day of spring approaches; however it’s not from the birds, but a group of local choirs making music at a church on Fair Road.
    The Statesboro Youth Chorale, founded by Georgia Southern music professor Michael Braz, meets every week at the First Presbyterian Church near East Georgia Regional Medical Center, but the name can be deceiving. There is opportunity to make music for anyone of any age.
     “The board voted to bring the community choir under our umbrella,” said Sarah Hancock, artistic director for SYC. “We are working towards becoming a more formal choral society, but it’s awful hard to lose the name of Statesboro Youth Chorale since it’s been around so long.”
     There are in fact four choirs operating under the banner of the SYC, three of which cater to youth and one to adults.
     The Resident Choir is for 8 — 10 year-olds and is lead by retired Bulloch County music educator Claudia Moller. This group’s goal is to expose the kids to singing and music basics — reading the notes, proper breathing technique and the like.
     The Concert Choir is the group most people are familiar with and is comprised of youth from 10-13 years of age, directed by Hancock. Vox Novum, directed by GSU associate professor of voice and director of choral activities Adam Con, is a more advanced choir designed for high school aged singers.
     Amy Kitching, owner of Kitching Chiropractic, has two children who’ve been with SYC for four years and are now in the Vox Novum group.
     “The kids love to sing with chorale. They’re teaching them so many good things — helping them with their breathing technique, how to read music, they’re learning quality classical music and how to sing in a vocal group — it’s been very good for them,” said Kitching, who also sings with the Community Choir.
     The Community Choir is just what it sounds — open to the entire community. Kyle Hancock, associate professor of voice, chair of the voice area and Sarah’s husband, directs the community group. It meets the same time as the Concert Choir — every Monday evening at First Presbyterian from 7 — 9 p.m. — allowing the parents of young singers to share an evening of singing (though not in the same group), while the Concert and Resident choirs meet Tuesday afternoons from 4 — 5:30 p.m.
     Loretta Brandon is an instructor of English at Georgia Southern. She explained why she joined the group just over a year ago.
     “All my life I’ve sung in choirs. This was a great opportunity to work with a director who is very talented and chooses great music,” Brandon said. “It’s also a chance to work with other good singers and with a group of local people who really make me feel like I’m part of the community.”
     “Singing is something you can do your whole life,” Kitching said. “(SYC) is a great experience and I’ve gotten to know a lot of other adults in the community who love to sing. It’s been really rewarding, I love it.”
     For those interested in seeing what SYC is all about, this week is the perfect opportunity with each group participating in a concert this week.
     Today, the Resident, Concert and Community choirs are giving a free concert at First Presbyterian starting at 4 p.m. Though the music will be primarily classical selections, it will be filled with pieces many people don’t even know they know.
     Monday night, also at First Presbyterian Church, the Vox Novum high school group will partner with the Georgia Southern Women’s Choir for another night of free music.
     This Friday, SYC is having an old-timey sing-along entitled “Triska-deka-phonia,” a play on words about the fear of Friday the 13th — the date of the sing-a-long. For the price of $25 per person or $40 per couple, visitors will be treated with heavy h’ors deovurs and a cash bar in the banquet hall of the Holiday Inn  (near Lowe’s on the bypass), while Braz plays the piano, Hancock leads the singing and song lyrics are projected on a screen.
    Hancock said the money raised will be used for SYC, specifically to send the Concert Choir the 10th Annual International Children’s Festival at Canterbury in London. When SYC went in 2006, they took 32 kids on the trip.
     So if you’re afraid of Friday the 13th, come sing your fears away at the sing-a-long, Hancock said.
     “It will be an opportunity to sing songs that are in our collective consciousness,” Hancock said. “I think it’ll be a blast.”
     For more information about any of the concerts, tickets to Friday’s sing-a-long or to find out how to become involved with SYC, call (912) 764-7464 or visit their Web site at
     Hancock encourages people to check out SYC, either for themselves or for their children.
     “Choral singing is so much fun and it makes you feels so good. When you’re in a big group and everybody knows what they doing and you take a big breath together and you make music out of thin air, it’s extraordinary,” Hancock said. “I know it sounds corny, but it changes lives. I think you can ask any kid who went to England and they would agree. It’s really is one of the most fun things your can do. Young or old.
     “If the economy is going to tank, what a better thing to do with your time than go sing?”

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