2011-2012 Children’s Choirs at Ave Maria Oratory

June 22, 2011

Thanks to the support of Fr. Robert Tatman and the wonderful participation in the Children’s Choirs at Ave Maria’s Oratory last year, a second season of the choirs will begin during the 2011-2012 school year.

These choirs are a wonderful opportunity for children to receive a foundational educational experience in music, rooted in the heart of the Church and her treasury of sacred music.  The choirs employ the Ward method, a method developed in the 1920’s by Catholic convert, Mrs. Justine Ward.  The method utilizes development of vocal technique, sight-reading, ear-training, improvisation, and movement to help children discover their singing voices and grow in musicianship.

The classes are fun and an excellent way to provide a curricularized approach to learning music, or to supplement or prepare for private music study.  Also, these classes are very inexpensive when considering the amount of instructional time each student receives, especially when compared to private music study.  More about the method can be found here: http://musicasacra.com/ward-method-instruction/ More information about the instructor, Dr. Jennifer Donelson, is available here: http://www.fcas.nova.edu/arts/pva_staff/index.cfm

The deadline for pre-registration with a $15 discount is July 15th.  The standard registration deadline is August 24th.

In response to suggestions by parents and in an effort to continue the growth of the program, a few changes to the logistical features of the choirs for this upcoming year.

There will be three choirs this year, and students will be placed in them according to the character of each group:

St. Joseph Singers– Ages 5-8 – This choir is for those students who are new to the Ward methodclasses, or who have studied for one year and would benefit from furtherreinforcement of concepts learned before moving on to the next level.

Choir of Our Lady of the Angels – Ages 5-8 – This choir is for those students who have studied theWard method for one year and are ready to advance in the curriculum.

Schola Cantorum of Christ the Good Shepherd – Ages 8-12 – This choir is for those children whoare new to Ward method classes but are older, or for those children who havestudied the Ward method for one year and are ready to advance in thecurriculum.

It is of the utmost importance that children attend the Ward class and rehearsal every Wednesday at Donahue Academy.  The schedule will be as follows:

5:00-5:30 – St. Joseph Singers

5:35-6:05 – Choir of Our Lady of the Angels

6:15-7:15 – Schola Cantorum of Christ the Good Shepherd

There is an audition for placement into the choir in which each child is best suited for his or her developmental level. This audition is not for admittance to the choir, but simply placement into the correct choir. All students who audition will be placed in one of the choirs.

Auditions will be held on Wednesday, August 24th from 5:00 to 6:15. Students planning to sing in the choirs must attend the audition. The audition will be preceded by a brief introduction to the Ward method.  The first class will be on August 31st.

As with last year’s choirs, a minimum number of children enrolled for success of the program.  If there is not a minimum number of children in each age range by the end of the pre-registration period, the classes will be cancelled for the year.

More detailed information about the classes and the tentative Mass schedule can be obtained by contacting the director, Dr. Jennifer Donelson, at jdonelso2000 (at) gmail (dot) com.