Children's choir set up by Porirua women

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 09:08 12/02/2013
12-KPN-littleWEB
Andrea O'Neil

LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG VOICES: Porirua women Judy McKoy, Christine Argyle and Rosemary Russell are launching a choir for Wellington children, Wellington Young Voices. Already signed up are Sendhil Rungasamy, 10, Sam Argyle-Wright, 10, Maia Schwarz, 9, and Rosie Argyle-Wright, 9.

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Young voices will soar this year thanks to three Porirua women establishing a choir for Wellington children.

Sixty places are available in the Wellington Young Voices choir for 8 to 14-year-olds, which will meet on Mondays from 4pm to 6pm in Wellington City. A preview day this Saturday will allow kids a taste of the year to come.

Each term the choir will take a different theme, like "family" or "animals", and sing modern, kid-specific songs on that theme. At the end of each term the choir will give a performance at a fun, relevant location, such as the zoo for its animal songs or a restaurant for a food theme.

"It's not going to be the regular 'prim and proper, standing in three rows' choir. It'll be fun but to a high standard," says Papakowhai woman Christine Argyle, the choir's musical director. "It's going to be very exciting."

Ms Argyle started planning the choir in 2011 with accompanist Rosemary Russell and administrator Judy McKoy. The three have decades of experience between them directing, accompanying and singing in choirs.

The women saw a gap in Wellington's musical scene for primary and intermediate-age children who want to sing but might not have a choir at school.

Many children only get to sing pop songs at school, which are often far to low for their voices and have adult themes of love and heartbreak, they say. Wellington Young Voices will employ pieces by top children's composers like David Hamilton.

A trial of the choir was held last July as a school holiday programme, and was overwhelmingly successful, Mrs McKoy says.

Singing helped the children develop their voices and their confidence, she says.

"For the first time in their lives they stand up in front of hundreds and hundreds of people and many think 'I belong here'."

The choir will cost $125 per term but there is a scholarship scheme in place to encourage low-income children to join.

Wellington Young Voices preview day, February 16, $25. For information visit www.wellingtonyoungvoices.org.nz or contact Judy McKoy at 233 9365/021 263 9844.

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