Vocal ensemble is first for arts center, embraces diverse repertoire and membership
by Peggy McEwan
Strathmore began 2013 by actualizing a long-held dream with the creation of the Strathmore Children’s Chorus, a first for the arts center, according to a news release from the organization.
The chorus is made up of more than 100 singers ages 8 to 17. Encompassed in the chorus are three smaller ensembles: The Treble Chorus, for children age 8 to 12 years who are early in their vocal music education; the Concert Chorus, an advanced vocal ensemble for students 10 to 17 years of age; and the Young Men’s Chorus, a male changer voices ensemble for singers 13 to 17 years of age.
The group is under the direction of Christopher Guerra, a founding member of the faculty at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Silver Spring, where he currently directs all choral activities.
Guerra is the recipient of the 2012 Maryland Music Educators Association’s (MMEA) Outstanding Teacher Award; was music director for the Chicago and D.C. Church of Christ and the featured vocalist with the 566th Air Force Band. He attended the Chicago Music College and earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ball State University, with graduate studies at the University of Maryland, Towson University and George Mason University.
Strathmore distinguishes its chorus by intentionally recruiting a diverse body of singers, keeping membership costs comparatively low for the region, awarding need-based scholarships to keep the group accessible and celebrating the diversity of Montgomery County with a repertoire focused on composers, songs and music traditions from various cultures, according to the press release.
The group’s first performance will be in the Music Center at Strathmore on June 10 with a world premiere by celebrated composer Jim Papoulis.
To learn more about the Strathmore Children’s Chorus, visit www.strathmorecc.org or support a singer by donating at www.strathmore.org.