Children of all backgrounds find their musical home at Georgia Children’s Chorus (GCC), an Athens-based choral organization that teaches kids to grow musically while promoting lasting friendships.
Currently, GCC has 117 members from nine surrounding counties. GCC accepts children ages 8–18 who are placed through an audition process into two different choirs based on their skill level and maturity.
“Our desire is to help young children pursue choral excellence,” says GCC director Carol Reeves.
Every Tuesday, GCC meets at UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music to practice. During rehearsals, members are taught a variety of musical styles, which Reeves calls an “eclectic, multicultural” curriculum. “We do a lot of gospel and songs in Hebrew, Latin and German,” she says. “We love for them to learn all of the different cultures.”
Reeves believes music, like language, is a vital skill for children to learn at a young age. A foundation in music helps children to excel in other areas of their lives such as academics and social interactions, she says: “Music develops discipline, poise, self confidence and all of these side benefits, as well as the musical skills.”
Although teaching children to become better musicians is a huge component of GCC, Reeves says what happens behind the music is much more important. “I see kids bonding together that might not ever get together,” she says. “I see them connecting with other kids, and looking after other kids.”
Sarah Rawls, a GCC alumni and current student at UGA, recalls her experience in the chorus as a positive one. “[GCC] fosters a love of music, and it fosters a community that comes with that,” says Rawls. “I loved it.”
Following GCC’s spring concert on Tuesday, May 12, the chorus has big things on the horizon. GCC will sing with the UGA Opera in its performance of Hansel and Gretel this fall and will also perform in Washington, D.C. at the National Festival of the States this summer, an event which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
That theme of peace will shape GCC’s spring concert, as well. This year’s tagline, “Imagine the Music,” builds off a single, simple idea, according to Reeves. “A lot of the songs… are about peace,” she says. “Our theme has been to imagine the difference you can make through music.”
In an effort to raise money and build a larger audience, GCC is holding its second annual Athens dining raffle at the concert. The top prize includes 10 gift certificates of $100 each to a variety of local Athens restaurants, including Five & Ten and Last Resort Grill; the second prize includes five gift certificates of $50 each to restaurants including Viva! Argentine Cuisine and The Pine.
There are other youth-focused music events in Athens’ near future. Listeners with more instrumental taste can attend the Athens Youth Symphony’s (AYS) concert on May 17. The AYS is comprised of high school students from in and around Athens-Clarke County.
“Athens Youth Symphony concerts are great events for family outings,” says AYS publicity chair Kathy Lewis. “Young people can see and hear what is possible [through] hard work and collaboration with others.”
WHAT: GCC Spring Concert
WHERE: Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall
WHEN: Tuesday, May 12, 7 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $10
WHAT: AYS Spring Concert
WHERE: Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall
WHEN: Sunday, May 17, 4 p.m.
HOW MUCH: FREE!
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