More than 200 young voices will come together for a spring sing in the Kanawha Valley.
The Appalachian Children's Chorus will present their 22nd annual Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. April 27 on the campus of West Virginia State University in Institute and again 3 p.m. April 28 at the Baptist Temple in Charleston.
Originating in 1990 with a dozen students, the Appalachian Children's Chorus is now composed of eight choirs and 220 singers ranging from kindergarten through high school. Five Kanawha Valley choirs are based on age and ability. Satellite choirs are located in Logan, Putnam and Mason counties. The ACC is led by three full-time and 17 part-time employees. The chorus is administered by a 17-member board of directors.
"The talent of these children from our little ones in Canzona all the way to my older kids in Concert Choir absolutely amazes me," said Selina Midkiff, founding and artistic director. "I know I speak for all the directors in ACC when I say we feel privileged to work with these fantastic children every week."
Designated as "The Ambassadors of Music for the State of West Virginia," Midkiff said the choirs have a reputation of producing quality performances. Concerts typically start with the younger choirs and conclude with the more experienced performers.
"We're proud of who we are and what we do," said Midkiff, whose career in music education includes teaching elementary, high school and at the University of Charleston.
Audiences see the end result, but the director said the most important aspects take place well before the curtain goes up.
"In our program, the goal is the music education and the personal education that the children acquire with our goal of having a good concert," she said.
"I think the community really holds our choir as an important entity in the arts community," said
Midkiff, who performed operas as a student at West Virginia University and later with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. "ACC is a strong proponent of the arts in our community. People who know us and see us really appreciate and understand the value for the children.
"The children feel like they are part of something that's bigger. I think that is important. We have changed lives."
Parents pay tuition to be part of the choir, although Midkiff notes that no students are turned away because of inability to pay. The fee covers only about a third of the actual cost of participation, she added.
"We believe all children should have the opportunity to express themselves through music," Midkiff said.
ACC is currently seeking support from businesses and sponsors. Any amount is welcomed and tax-deductible.
For information, contact the ACC office at 304-343-1111 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.