Life Would B♭ Without Choir

19th Annual Choir Kids and Symphony Orchestra - a Great Duo

By Lexi Wright

Eighteen elementary school choirs from throughout central Alberta joined forces with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra last night at New Life Fellowship church for the final two performances of Choir Kids, an event that gives students the opportunity to perform alongside a professional symphony.

Chandra Kastern, Executive Director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra says the annual event is always a blast for the students.

“All of the feedback that we get from the kids is really positive and provides an experience for them that they wouldn't otherwise get. When they practice their songs at the school, it's either to a CD or piano but they don't have a full compliment of instruments like they have concert night”, says Kastern.

Claude Lapalme, Music Director and Maestro for the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is the founder of Choir Kids. For his achievements with the symphony, Lapalme has received several recognition awards from both the City of Red Deer and the Government of Alberta.

Kastern says the Choir Kids concerts are continuing to grow with more student choirs becoming involved every year.

“A few other orchestra's in the country do something like it, but none of them do something along the lines of bringing all the schools to one place to perform for the community. It's a unique and one-of-a-kind program”, says Kastern.

Chandra Kastern

Moira Milne is a classroom music teacher at Annie L. Gaetz School. She says her choir students love the event and look forward to it every year.

“I always tell kids "join music, you'll miss school". The morning of the concert we go and rehearse with the symphony and the [students] are so transfixed by the instruments, it's like I don't even exist”, says Milne.

The maestro of the Symphony collects music from each choir who wants to participate and arranges it for a smaller chamber orchestra. Milne says this is how Choir Kids provides a unique experience every year.

“What makes Choir Kids so amazing is the teachers are given so much flexibility to pick the music and prepare the students. The most amazing part is at the end of each concert [when] all the choirs stand up and sing together. It’s incredible to see 300 kids singing at once”.