19 Jul How the Georgia Children’s Chorus Helped Me Find My Voice
An Alumni Story told by Sarah Evans
My name is Sarah Evans, and I am a recent Georgia Children’s Chorus (GCC) alumnus. I was in the chorus from third grade until my senior year of high school. Currently, I am a sophomore at the University of Georgia and plan on majoring in journalism with a focus on broadcasting.
About a month ago, I recorded a news segment with Grady Newsource about Athens’ goals to implement renewable energy. This required me to record a voice-over reading my story. I was surprised how easily the words floated off my tongue, and was even more shocked at how news-worthy my voice sounded when I played it back to myself. “When did my voice become so good?” I asked myself. Then, I realized how the years I spent singing in GCC helped me enunciate words clearly and confidently. Singing “ha ha ha ha ha” and “Bipity-bopity-boo” at the beginning of every rehearsal had more of an impact on my voice than I thought. According to scientists, it is easier for the brain to form habits at a young age. That’s why five year old’s are practically fluent in another language after a couple weeks while an adult is still struggling to say “hello, my name is…”. Joining GCC at a young age definitely helped me learn great speaking habits, which will help me move forward confidently in my career.
GCC gave me the opportunity to sing in front of a variety of audiences and venues — including concert halls, local churches, and retirement homes. The first time I went out of the country was on a choir tour to Montreal, where I sang in a beautiful cathedral and bonded with fellow singers over poutine (a classic Canadian dish containing french fries with savory sauce and cheese drizzled on top). I also had the privilege of touring with GCC to New York City and Washington D.C.
In New York, I witnessed a myriad of art forms ranging from electronic billboard advertisements to spectacular Broadway musicals (we saw Wicked!!). Our choir sang with several others in Avery Fisher Hall (located in the prestigious Lincoln Center), and I was so proud of us for contributing to the city’s magnificent art display. Singing in different places helped me visualize the universality of music. Our music impacted audiences similarly regardless of where we performed. Seeing the light in their eyes and smiles on their faces makes all the time and hard work I spent in rehearsal more than worth it.
Ultimately, GCC helped open my mind creatively and balance different aspects of artistic expression. With every song, Ms. Carol, the choir’s director at the time, emphasized all of the ways we needed to express the story that the piece told. This included tone, volume, articulation, facial expressions, and so much more. I was particularly fascinated by how a choir’s physical delivery could bring life to the beautiful words they were singing. A piece’s effectiveness to the audience depends on both singers’ vocal control in areas like word pronunciation and sound quality as well as their passionate feeling of the song’s message. I learned that professionalism and passion are far from mutually exclusive in communication. Both my logical and creative tendencies can come together to get my point across, and this is all thanks to the Georgia Children’s Chorus.
Singing at the GCC taught me so much about self expression and how to understand the expressions of others. To this day, I am still uncovering all the ways that being a part of this group has positively shaped my life and the lives of numerous other members. I think so many young people can benefit from this emotional and creative understanding, and the Georgia Children’s Chorus provides a welcoming environment to do so. There are so many friendly faces who are excited for others to make music with them. I could not be more proud to be an alumnus of the Georgia Children’s Chorus.