Choir Kids join the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra will be giving the gift of song with their Choir Kids program March 14 and 21.

For the 13th year, Maestro Claude Lapalme has organized and coordinated the Choir Kids program, bringing together choir students from the Red Deer and Central Alberta area.

Shows run at 6 and 7:45 p.m. on both nights and will be taking place at the New Life Fellowship Church.

“Like a lot of good ideas, [the Choir Kids Program] was an accident,” said Lapalme.

The event started out with the goal to raise funds for the RDSO but ended up bringing in just enough money to “break even.”

The Choir Kids program, though, ended up being an event that many musicians wanted to take part in. So much so that musicians who were unable to take part actually told Lapalme about their disappointment in not being available for it.

In its first year, only 10 schools took part but the program has gained interest and now consists of 18 choirs.

“As a fundraiser it was not a good idea, but as an event it was a fantastic idea.”

It now has sponsors that help off set the cost of the shows, as well as money from ticket sales.

Rather than having the entire RDSO perform with the kids, 12 musicians play with the choirs.

“Putting a bunch of musicians in front of the kids would just overpower them.”

The choirs have been split so each show involves four or five of the total groups. They will perform alongside the RDSO members after having rehearsed with them for the day.

With three months of rehearsal time, the choirs have come to the final stretch and are excited for the shows they will be taking part in.

The choirs vary in skill levels because not all of the teachers are music specialists but they get to choose their own music to suit the children’s voices.

The advantage, for Lapalme, of running the program now for 13 years is that he knows he will see some of the children through all three years of their elementary schooling.

The event is especially enjoyable for the musicians as it is a day to get to know each other better.

“It is not a high octane tense moment, it has a relaxed atmosphere.”

The end of the show will wrap up with a grand finale selection by the school boards involved called Dreams Children Dream.

Tickets are available at the participating schools as well as through the RDSO office at 403-340-2948.