"May your heart be filled with joy and peace. May your ways be guided by steadfast love. May you find strength in the songs of our hearts. And our words bring a gift of Hope."
Those are the first lines of song lyrics written during this year's coronavirus global pandemic in direct dedication to children and teachers, specifically to Ann Smith, the founder and artistic director of North Texas Metroplex Children's Choirs.
The song was written by Judith Herrington, a choral composer from Washington. She and Ann had met in January at a music conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The two became fast friends and comrades, and Ann commissioned her to write a piece for the 25th anniversary of NTCC in 2021.
"We spent a lot of time going back and forth on text, my thoughts, the Psalms and Bible stories I liked," recalls Ann. "Then there was silence for a couple of months."
When Ann received an email from Judith one day out of the blue, outlining this song, Ann says she got goosebumps. "As I listened more, I got tears. This treasure of music ended up being a gift to our choirs, a Gift of Hope," Ann says.
"COVID-19 has caused a lot of sorrow in families. Loved ones were lost because of the virus. Other people who were in the hospital for illnesses other than COVID could not see their family members unless death was near. I look at how so many people and businesses have reached out to help. Our government has reached out to aid those in need. Our American Spirit came through even in a very dark time in our history," Ann reflects.
But, as Ann concludes, Americans were designed to be hopeful because "it's a gift."
"In this time, and in times to come, hope, trust and faith are the paths we must follow," she adds.
The vision of the North Texas Children’s Choir is to provide elementary- aged children of North Texas with a choral musical experience that exceeds the daily classroom setting. This is achieved by selecting challenging repertoire and performing in a venue of professional quality with a professional guest conductor.
The North Texas Children's Choir, formerly the Metroplex Children's Choir, began in 1995 as a simple dream. The dream was for elementary-aged children to have an enriching experience outside the traditional choral music classroom. Seeds of beauty, culture and joy are sown in the hearts of children as the choir sang music from around the world. With 20 different schools and 200-plus children singing annually at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the dream came alive.
Throughout the years, more than 4,500 children have taken part in the audition process and festival concert. It provides children with a challenge and a chance to grow musically, socially as they meet new friends, and emotionally as hearing older choirs/ensembles helps to visualize their future in music.
The vision of the choir is achieved by selecting challenging repertoire and performing in a venue of professional quality with a professional guest conductor.