Having held its first rehearsal in January, the Delaware Youth Chorale, comprised of 32 children from at least 11 schools in Kent County, will be ready to showcase the talents of its young members in just a few months.
The chorale will make its debut as one of the opening acts in the Delaware Choral Society's performance of Wolfgang Mozart's entire repertoire of "Requiem" at the Schwartz Center for the Arts on April 27.
The concert will also include the Delaware Choral Society Chamber Singers as an opening act. The Chamber Singers will perform works by composer Franz Joseph Haydn. The DCS will headline performing Mozart's "Requiem," accompanied by guest soloists and an orchestra of professional musicians from the Mid-Atlantic region.
The DYC ─ which operates under the auspice of the DCS, similar to the Chamber Singers ─ will perform a repertoire of introductory choral masterworks, including the traditional piece "Dona Nobis Pacem" and Michael Praetorius' "Jubilate Deo."
Stuart Knapp, who sits on the Board of Directors for Delaware Choral Society, says seeing the Youth Chorale perform in April will signify goal attainment for himself and his fellow board members, since the group was established to provide children in Kent County an opportunity to perform choral masterworks in a public setting that ventures beyond churches and schools.
"If you look around at Kent County, in particular, you'll find there is no competition for such a thing," Knapp said. "That's another way of saying there was a huge void of opportunity for school-aged youngsters to participate in singing the music of the masters. By that, I mean the three B's: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms."
One of the goals of the DYC is to give children the chance to sing harmonies, and "you don't always get that in your elementary school choirs," said James Wilson, artistic director for the DCS.
Divine Taniford, 8, is ready for his debut with the DYC.
"I get to show everybody what I can do," said Taniford.
Fellow singer 8-year-old Kimberly Seeney loves the Delaware Youth Chorale because she gets to be on stage with her friends.
"We all like to sing a lot," said Seeney, of Dover.
Many of the young performers also said they enjoy working with artistic director Heather Swartzentruber. Several of the kids are familiar with Swartzentruber because they're also her music students at the Holy Cross School, where she teaches pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.
Swartzentruber says she's able to keep her young singers interested at rehearsal, thanks to her natural desire for singing.
Page 2 of 2 - "You have to exude passion for what you're doing, because what you're passionate about is contagious, and they pick up on that," she said.
Swartzentruber also likes to create a balance between working hard with her students, while keeping things lite.
"Choral singing can be fun," she said. "If it's not presented that way, then why bother?"
The Delaware Youth Chorale is stationed at William Henry Middle School, where the group has been rehearsing at on Tuesdays, since Jan. 21.
The Delaware Choral Society is comprised of 70-plus singers, while the Chamber Singers features approximately 14. Both groups rehearse at Wesley United Methodist Church in Dover.
IF YOU GO
WHAT "Requiem," featuring the Delaware Choral Society, Delaware Youth Chorale and Delaware Choral Society Chamber Singers
WHEN 4:30 p.m., Sunday, April 27
WHERE Schwartz Center for the Arts, 226 S. State St., Dover
COST $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and $12 for children (younger than age 18)
INFO Visit schwartzcenter.com or call 678-5152