As the Fairfax County After School Network Coordinator for the Fairfax Partnership for Youth, I initiated a very rewarding partnership with the World Children's Choir. Our first project was a performance at our annual youth awards breakfast in 2007 which was repeated with much acclaim in 2008. We worked toegether to establish the "Performing Arts at the Heart of Literacy Program", as an outreach effort to engage disadvataged youth in the Falls Church area. This unique extracurricular enrichment program culminated in a joint appearance with the World Children's Choir at the arts festival at George Mason University.
WCC is an amazing choir born from the magic mix of professionalism, love, and vision of her founder and director, Sondra Harnes, and his husband and pianist, Tim. I don't cease to be amazed at how the very little ones learn to love the music and feel a valued part of the ensemble. WCC intiatives to integrate inmigrant children into its ranks, looking for scolarships and other kind of funding, is also to be praised. And of coures, the choice of music, finding a cultural bridge among countries and races, creating a common language out of many, is at the very basis of a learning experience about how to communicate in peace and harmony.
In a world where complex politics push people apart, the World Children's Choir opens important spaces where real people to people contact take place, exposing children and adults to the human side of diverse cultures. The high musical level of the ensemble, makes their concerts a wonderful experience as a whole for the audience and a wonderful educatinoal opportunity for the kids who join the ensemble.
I began my work with the World Children's Choir as pianist 20 years ago at the Choir's founding. I never imagined then that the incredibly beautiful, heartfelt singing of the Choir would inspire me to write for it over the next 20 years a large number of songs. As a classically trained musician I have relished the chance to write long, soaring, and sometimes challenging vocal lines for the Choir, music that is easily accomplished by these impeccably trained young singers. The mission of the Choir as it sings to bring people together in unity has also prompted me to write songs of hope and inspiration that have resonated deeply within me. My association with the Choir has been a very satisfying part of my personal and professional life. The freshness and strength of the children's voices is a spontaneous testament to the hope and the possibility that our global community can continue to come together with the highest and noblest humanitarian values.