It just might be the cutest addition to Whistler's growing choir scene.
Kinderchoir is back for its third year to give kindergarteners a taste of what singing in a group is like before they make a commitment to the Whistler Children's Chorus come September.
"Last year, six out of 12 joined us in the fall," says choir director Jeanette Bruce. "We had a very strong contingent of enthusiastic Grade 1 students."
The group meets every Tuesday for five weeks leading up to a performance at the Whistler Multicultural Festival on June 8. "We try to put a multicultural spin on it," Bruce says. "The first year (the theme) was 'songs from around the world.' Last year it was 'songs from across Canada.' This year our theme is 'multicultural food.' You'd be surprised at how many songs there are about multicultural food."
The group has had two practices so far, but drop-ins are welcome at any time, Bruce adds. "The parameters are pretty loose for Kinderchoir. We're aiming for kids who have been in kindergarten for a year, but kids who are home schooled or not in school for whatever reason are welcome to join—or kids who want a taste of choir before joining in the fall," she says.
The hour-long session starts with a physical warm up. "When you're singing your body is your instrument, so there's a physical, breathing and vocal warm up then we get into singing," Bruce says. "We usually read a story at some point on the theme then we start running through our songs."
In total, the kids learn around 10 songs that they'll narrow down for the festival. "We only perform for 15 minutes, so we whittle it down over five weeks and figure out which songs the kids like the most, which are sounding great—the gems of the bunch," Bruce adds.
Local Allyn Pringle accompanies the group on piano. "She keeps us in tune," Bruce says. "She sang with the Whistler Children's Chorus throughout her childhood, so she's a pro."
For her part, Bruce says leading the choir is her way of offering a musical alternative to Whistler kids who are generally steeped in sports. "I am not a sports person and never have been," she says. "I fully embrace that about myself. When I was a kid, choir was my sport. When I moved to Whistler and was trying to find my niche as a non-sports person, Alison (Hunter, who has overseen both the Whistler Singers and the Whistler Children's Chorus) invited me to co-conduct the choir with her—it was a total light bulb moment: oh right this is what I want to do."
Anyone with kids interested in trying out the Kinderchoir can drop by the Maury Young Arts Centre on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.