by Loren Pratt
Big Honor for the Avondale Children’s Choir
Carnegie Hall, Here We Come!
“EXCELLENCE, ARTISTRY AND MUSICIANSHIP” are the words Music Director R. Mark Green uses to describe the Avondale Children’s Choir, a community choir. And he should know. Since 2009, Green has directed the choir, helping its membership grow from 27 to 145 singers in three performing choirs.
This year, those three descriptors ring especially true as the choir will perform by invitation at Carnegie Hall in New York with Grammy-winning composer and con- ductor, Eric Whitacre. The Distinguished Concerts International New York extended the prestigious invitation after reviewing several concert pieces previously performed by the choir.
Seventy-three singers will travel to New York to perform on Nov. 24 as the only treble choir (Soprano and Alto voicing)
“In order to prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime experience on a national stage, the choir will put in many hours over the next few months,” explains Green. Once in New York, the singers will undoubtedly be energized by the city’s rhythmic hum, as they devote at least 9 to 10 hours of practice during their five-day residency.
The choir’s practice schedule underlies an undeniable talent, a talent further showcased in its alumni.
“Most of our alumni have gone on to sing in their college and university choirs,” explains Green. “One alum, Kalonjee Gallimore, was selected as 1 of 20 students (out of 2,000) to study Musical Theatre at New York University.”
Green’s enthusiasm for the choir goes beyond pitch and rhythm. He sees it as an opportunity for its members to cultivate “confidence, camaraderie and lasting friendship.” He goes on to say that by working together, they “learn to appreciate diverse cultures,” a lesson also reflected in the choir’s varied repertoire.
The Choir performs a variety of styles: classical, sacred, folk, spirituals, pop and even Broadway show tunes.
That variety doesn’t stop with the performance pieces. The choir is supported by a plethora of people and resources, what Green labels a “rich community environment for the performing arts.”
Green is assisted by accompanist Sheila Hendricks and assistant director Tama McGee, both accomplished musicians with teaching backgrounds. The choir is fortunate to be supported by local schools in Decatur and Avondale Estates, their directors, and the First Baptist Church Avondale Estate, where it holds its weekly rehearsals and bi-annual concerts.
You can experience the excellence, artistry and musicianship locally that will be on display in New York by attending one or both of the choir’s major concerts held in December and April. The choir also regularly participates in community choral events with the Dekalb Choral Guild, Dekalb School of the Arts, the Mercer University Singers and Decatur High School.
Find more information at avondalechildrenschoir.com