Singing in a group nurtures the type of enrichment that teaches lifelong lessons through the value of music messages, group dynamics, harmonizing and leadership training. North Texas Metroplex Children's Choir members receive those gratifying benefits and much more.
Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit by director Ann Smith, the choir operates in a manner so various age levels of youths get a plethora of experience that assists with their decision-making in music as well as other parts of their lives. "The impact of music is through the connections it prompts," says Ann. "God gave everyone the gift of music; it's how we take and develop it either as singers, listeners, musicians or supporters. The commonality created by music is immediate, which is how we all share the deep sense of messages flowing from heart to heart."
As a lifelong educator of high school choral music, Ann stepped out in faith to launch the Metroplex Choir program.
"My original mission was to keep choral music alive, because it has such an impact on our lives as a collaborative and creative outlet. We'd all go mad without the sounds and rhythms of music in our lives. There would be no birds chirping, humming or singing, even the tires of our vehicles make different pitches as they move," she says.
However, Ann says she also realized how much choral participation helped students' overall brain and social development, especially during middle school years. "At that point, students are progressing but it doesn't feel like it. Choral singing gives them a safe and supportive place to build their confidence and communication skills, and to find their voices, both literally and figuratively."
Because choral singers need to actively concentrate on music and techniques throughout the singing process, it's harder to worry about friend issues, grades, work, money or family problems. So, many mental health researchers believe choral singers have a built-in "stress-free zone." Deep breathing for singing is a good, all-around healthy step, too. Additionally, learning new melodies, tempos and harmonies keeps brains engaged and elevates depression.
By blending many of the same strategies used in sports, Ann wove together a thorough choral program that develops new relationships, teamwork, individual skills, leadership through empowerment, as well as critical and analytic skills that transfer to students' academic and athletic endeavors. "Music and sports have a lot in common when it comes to rhythm, muscle memory, teamwork and achieving successful balance," she says, adding that her directorship role often feels like coaching.
Ann also teaches youths to applaud the success of others, as well as how to handle their own successes and doubts. "When students are wondering about their performances, I always ask them: 'Did you give your best?' Because if they did, they walk off the stage as winners. If they didn't, they may have to put it in the loss column and then we discuss how they will have a 'new best' in the next three to six months," she adds.
"As the cornerstone of civilization, music is like an incredible cake with lots of ingredients. After taking the time to bake it properly, it tastes so good," Ann concludes.
“Music is something we all share as humankind. We were all given this gift to sing, play, listen and support. We did not just order it on Amazon! Music expresses the deep joy in our souls and the desire to share this joy. Music belongs to all of us, and our mission is to bring together singers from all over the North Texas Metroplex and the world, to make new friends through the power of making music," she adds.
This choir is supported by private donors and ticket sales. Catch the choir in action on Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas for the 24th Annual North Texas Children’s Choir concert. On Feb. 29, open auditions will be held for the Texas Youth Chorale, grades 6, 7 and 8 and on April 4, auditions for the Texas Children's Chorale, grades 4 and 5.
Visit NTChoirs.com for tickets and program details, or call 469.301.1718.
Participating in choirs yields a mind, body, soul and heart experience that's long-lasting in both emotional and physical advantages.
SELF-DISCOVERY: Choral members realize or hone personal skills, such as discipline and self-motivation, that make them well-rounded people.
SELF-ESTEEM: By being in a choir and volunteering to take on leadership, sectional or conducting roles, members strengthen their confidence through management and performance.
RELATIONSHIPS: Singers build relationships based on trust and commitment, and befriend others they may not have had a chance to meet otherwise, and practice how to get along as a team.
HAPPINESS: Finding one's voice, along with the physical release of feel-good brain endorphins while singing, is uplifting and prompts singers to think about matters other than themselves, giving them breaks from the stresses of life.