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Young singers needed for this year's Children's Chorus

Date: 8/25/2009

By Lori Szepelak


SOUTH HADLEY -- Dr. Catharine Melhorn has planned an ambitious schedule for the South Hadley Children's Chorus in the coming months, and it's not too late for young people to audition to be a part of the action.

Following their successful May appearance with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Melhorn's 2009-2010 agenda includes performances in Amherst, South Hadley and Holyoke, and participation in a Boston area "Big Sing."

The chorus rehearses on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., September through May, at the South Hadley Center Congregational Church.

"In a productive, fun atmosphere, children learn high quality, age-appropriate songs from a variety of cultural traditions," Melhorn said. "They also learn good vocal technique, self-discipline and poise."

The chorus, accompanied by pianist Jamie Goodnow, has between 30 and 40 children, drawn from communities across the Pioneer Valley.

Subsidized by the South Hadley Chorale and several generous community patrons as well as a grant from the South Hadley Cultural Council, the chorus also depends on an annual membership fee of $100, according to Melhorn. Discounts for siblings are available as well as scholarships.

Boys and girls ages seven to 13 have one final chance to audition for the 2009-2010 season on Sept. 9 in 10-minute segments scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. The informal audition requires no previous preparation; it only tests a child's ability to read words and match pitches.

"Older, musically experienced children may be asked to show knowledge of music," Melhorn said.

To schedule an audition or for more information, contact Melhorn at or call 548-1098.

Melhorn holds degrees from Smith College, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Illinois. She is also the former choral director at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Melhorn has led the Mount Holyoke Chorus on tours throughout the world, most recently to China and Wales.

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