My name is Mia Rojas and I entered the Choir at age 9 and was there all through High School until I graduated in 2007. The choir helped me learn about singing and performing but also about reaching out to people in need. When I was in the choir, we participated in many events including traveling to different countries, as well as some places in the United States, to sing for orphanages and nursing homes and to expand the knowledge of love and peace throughout the world. I am currently a Student at George Mason University pursuing a career in singing; Opera to be exact. Over the years of being with the choir, I saw that many people do need music and singing to help they recover, relax, etc. I wanted to further pursue the art that had brought so much help to many and help many myself with singing. Singing kept me out of trouble when I was little and I know that it is a great activity for children to do as i had experienced it myself. I loved, and still do love, the choir and what it stands for. The choir itself promotes peace and love for all, regardless of culture, age, gender, class, etc. We all believe, somewhere in our hearts, that there should be no war, hate or violence; there should be love, peace, caring, and singing! No matter what people say, singing brings joy to everyone no matter who you are and The World Children's choir bring love, peace, caring and singing to the hearts and souls of many all over the world.
The World Children's Choir is a defining feature of my childhood. In my experience, it provided me with some of the best vocal training in the country. But, what sets WCC apart are the contributions beyond the musical training. Students develop confidence, ambition, and pride in their abilities while gaining exposure to multicultural music and traditions. WCC accomplishes this because of the tireless work of the directors: Sondra Harnes and Jim Selway. Sondra and Jim are not just musical director but serve as mentors to the hundreds of students that join the WCC.
I have the great pleasure of being one of the founding members of the World Children's Choir. What Sandy and Jim began in 1990 is one of the most incredible opportunities for youth in the DC area. More than simply fostering a knowledge and love of music, the choir promotes diversity and an understanding of world culture. Kids from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds come together to produce music in an atmosphere that is truly warm and welcoming. The high level of musical excellence really sets WCC apart from other choirs in the area. Not only do choir members develop their voices, but they learn pronunciation (in numerous languages!), diction, and phrasing of many different styles of music. Through voice lessons, masterclasses, summer workshops, and a rigorous rehearsal schedule, choir members present performances that are top quality and a sheer joy to be part of. During my time with WCC, we sang at the White House, the Kennedy Center, and at numerous high-profile festivals and events. One of the things I liked best about WCC is Sandy and Jim's inclusion of very young children. While they are often too young to get everything "right", their exposure to music and the discipline of performance is invaluable to fostering their future appreciation of music. My time with the WCC cultivated my love of classical music, which then developed into a career. Even though I've been gone from the WCC for more than 15 years, I still hold my time there dear to my heart and believe very strongly that it deserves all the support it can get.
Being part of the WCC had been one of the greatest experiences of my life, both personally and musically. The beautiful music and the professionalism of the WCC is beyond doubt. Not only was I able to develop my singing skills and the discipline of a musician, I had the opportunity to perform at the White House and the Kennedy Centre of performing Arts, among others. Even today, 5 years since I last sang with the choir, I still find myself constantly singing the songs I used to sing with the choir. The commitment of the WCC, however, transcends mere musical excellence. Being with the WCC was more than being with a great choir. It was about being in a culture where people from different backgounds come together as one to work towards a common vision. In addition, the choir's enourmous efforts in promoting peace must not go unmentioned. My experiences with WCC has taught me to reach out to others, contribute to the society, and play a role in making the world a better place. These are lessons that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my lives.
My daughter asked me if she could join the World Children's Choir when she was just in first grade after she saw the choir perform. Twelve years later, she was still singing with the WCC as a senior in High School. Sandy, Jim, and the World Children's Choir ended up being one of the most positive influences in our lives. During my daughter's time in the choir, she had the opportunity to sing in so many places; the White House, the Kennedy Center, Carneige Hall, Scotland, and Ireland just to name a few. She learned many different styles of music and how to sing in different languages, from folk music to opera. Very important as well, the Bel Canto technique taught by Sandy not only enables the beautiful sound of the children's choir, but promotes the healthy development of each child's unique singing voice as well. Through the choir, my daughter developed not only a passion for singing, but the technique to sing well both in a choir and as a solist. My daughter especially loved the opportunity to sing in the opera ensemble offered by the choir, and, in fact, her love of opera became so great that she has gone on to pursue it as a career. I must say also that our time with the choir proved that music truly is the universal language. We were able to meet so many wonderful people of different backgrounds and nationalities, and no matter what language people spoke, they were always so moved by the World Children's Choir music and the beautiful sound of the choir.
As an ordinary music listener, children choral music has its special place to me, not only its vocal uniqueness, also the harmony once a choir performs. Titled as angels’ voice is commonly given to a children choir. I was searching for a choir after had my daughter and hoped she would like. I fortunately found we had one of highly recognized choirs in DC area - World Children’s Choir. Now, my daughter, 4 years old, has joined World Children’s Choir less than a year; she enjoys every moment there from rehearsal to perform. After joining the choir, my daughter shows interest in music; learning songs and/or other music forms become much easier for her age. While accompanying my daughter, I feel she gives me an opportunity to experience the beauty a choir could offer.
My daughter was a member of the World Children's Choir for two extraordinary years. She loved being among young people who shared her passion for singing and her desire to make a positive difference in the world. The WCC raised her awareness of other cultures and points of view. She embraced the many opportunities to sing in unity with young people from all parts of the world and took pride in being an ambassador for peace. During her membership, the WCC performed at Wolf Trap, the White House, Washington National Cathedral, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, Embassies, and at many local events. She will carry these amazing experiences with her for the rest of her life. Membership in the World Children's Choir is an enormous commitment for the singers and their families. The practice and performance schedules can be very demanding and singers and parents are expected to adapt extra-curricular and family plans to ensure they are present and on time. The Choir's concerts reflect the enormous amount of energy and effort put in by the Director and the children. Down time is often filled with warm nurturing interaction between the youngest and oldest choir members -- a very positive aspect of membership for everyone involved.
My name is Wanda Warren, and I have been a Board member longer than anyone else, since 1994. I am a musician--sing and teach piano. My husband and I have an ongoing project for providing income for the WCC. We have traveled with the choir to Scotland, Montreal (Quebec, Canada), Ireland, and Romania. Where else can you see different parts of the world and enjoy a children's concert each day. The sound Ms. Harnes leads the choir to produce is breathtakingly beautiful. In Dublin, one tourist heard them singing on the street outside the cathedral and said "They can't be children, They are too good!" More money would enhance the choir's ability to fulfill its mission -- "to serve as a voice for children world-wide, to celebrate cultural diversity through music, to build positive international relationships, and to enroll people in working together to create a healthy world!" Wanda Warren
My daughter has sung with the World Children's Choir for 11 years! It has been nothing short of amazing. My daughter's choir experience has been positive in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to begin: First, this choir is one of the few children's choirs in the world that sings with a Bel Canto (vibrato) style of singing. The results are amazing and each child develops a solo-like quality voice. Second, my daughter has forged some of her closest friendships in the choir. Third, the choir has allowed her to look beyond her local world to the world. The choir's quite laudable mission is to promote world peace through song, and the children are aware of that -- in the songs that they sing and the places that they take their message. They have sung at various high-powered White House spots, as well as all over the world, and their goal is often to help those less fortunate in the world than themselves. But the truly amazing thing about this choir is the sound. I am awestruck every time I hear my daughter sing. Honestly. I just never thought a child could sing with bravado – until I heard the members of the World Children’s Choir sing. And, it is not just my daughter who can sing like this. I’ll never forget when the choir was on tour in Ireland. I was standing outside the chapel at Trinity College. Our concert was about to start and a professor was asking me what was going on. I explained to her that the World Children’s Choir from America was about to sing. The choir started to sing – that beautiful sound that comes from the World Children's Choir, in this case augmented by the wonderful acoustics of the Trinity Chapel. The professor gasped and exclaimed, “But that cannot possibly be the sound of children’s voices, can it?” It can. It is. It is the World Children’s Choir.
As a board member, I have personally experienced the World Children's Choir dedication to improving the lives of children from all backgrounds through music and drumming, promotion of positive international relations and its contribution to making the world a better place. One project of particular acclaim is the innovative International Voices for Children Institute that the WCC spearheaded in the Middle East that aims to use visual and performing arts as an interactive means of self-expression and communication to promote healthy educational development of children living in underserved communities affected by violence and conflict through visual and performing arts, foster international understanding and friendship through music and self-expression, and engage the resources and goodwill of the global community to improve the lives of children in need.
I sang with the World Children’s Choir for ten years – from elementary through high school. My family and I made wonderful friends who we are still close to today. First and foremost, in my opinion, I learned how to sing, how to love and appreciate vocal performance and beautiful music, and the importance of music in the development and well-roundedness of children. As a child I had the opportunity to sing at the Kennedy Center, White House, Carnegie Hall, Constitution Hall and more. We sang with and for Denyce Graves, John Denver, Whitney Houston, US Presidents and First Ladies. The choir provided these experiences that I would not have otherwise had. The WCC established a musical foundation - I studied music and voice in college and sing professionally today.
I''m happy to report that the World Children's Choir has a scholarship program for children from families that are financially disadvantaged. Information is available on the choir's website: http://www.worldchildrenschoir.org/FAQ.htm#29
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.
We have been involved with the choir for over six years. I have gone from proud parent to production manager to board member. I remain a proud parent, the production manager and secretary on the board. This organization is simply amazing. The talent, the training, the comraderie, the organization, are all stellar. The children support and nurture one another - from the oldest to the youngest. The choir is absolutely a team effort and the talent is top-notch. They receive rave reviews wherever they go!
I was a member of this choir for 8 years and I would not be the person or singer I am today with out WCC. The choir sings in many different languages and has a very diverse group of singers. As a member I felt honored to be in such a rich musical and cultural learning environment. Every time I sung in a concert with WCC I felt like we were making absolutely beautiful music, as well as passing on a message of hope and love for the community. Sandy and Jim are both extremely dedicated and talented people who have succeeded in creating an enjoyable, enriching experience for the choir and its many audiences.
Being a member of the choir was one the defining things in my life. It set me up for a life long passion for music. It helped me as a child to better understand my privilege and provided me with a a passion to reach out and help people through music.
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.
My years with WCC have been one of the most memorable times of my life. They set the foundation for my singing career as I learned to sing as a soloist and to create beautiful harmonic sounds with the other choir members. Having the Dutch nationality, it was fantastic to get to know many kids from all over the world, to learn about their cultures and to make new friends.
I was a founding member of the WCC and it gives me great pleasure to say so. WCC gave me the opportunity to enrich my life through song, dance, cultural exchange and even my first job out of high school! I learned to really focus on music, working together with my fellow choristers to make the most beautiful and emotional sound we could. Our concerts are some of my fondest memories of childhood. I felt so special to be a part of something so great.
The World Children's Choir is a wonderful organization. My daughter has been a member for over a year now and has grown significantly in many areas. Not only has she improved her singing voice and learned songs in many different languages she has developed many wonderful friendships with her fellow choir members. Her confidence has grown through performing in front of audiences, large and small. Sandy and Jim are extremely talented instructors who know how to capture and keep the attention of so many young people.
My daughter has been singing with the World Children's Choir for six years. The artistic training is superb, but more importantly, through song, her attention has been drawn to peace among people, respect for other cultures and protecting our planet. The choir has performed at many high level events, and my daughter has gained confidence, and also learned the ethic of hard work. She loves the Choir and the friendships she has built over the years.