With Joyful Song 

The Greater Richmond Children's Choir prepares for a new season.

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The weeklong choir camp is equal to about 10 weeks of rehearsal during the regular season and is divided into several groups by age and skill. A concert is given for the parents at the end. "We put a lot of emphasis on vocal quality and reading the notes," says founding director Hope Armstrong Erb. But in addition to the work, she says, one of the goals is to dispel the myth that classical music isn't fun, "We are going for joy."

"There are fun games that have to do with singing," says Cooper Crowell, a rising fourth-grader at Mary Munford Elementary School. "I am looking forward to the silly word games again this year."

The vocal training from the camp, which is in its ninth season, and year-round rehearsal are paying off for the camp's graduates as they apply for college. "It is not unusual for our seniors to come home from a university audition and tell us that the audition committee was extraordinarily impressed with their reading and theory skills," Erb says.

Cynthia Andrianjatovo, 11, says she learned a lot about music theory last year. "Now I analyze the pieces of music that I play on the piano, and I'm able to sight-read without a problem," she says.

Erb, who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, says that when children are given a tough repertoire and the vocal training to sing that repertoire, they usually love it and they want more.S

Members are still being accepted for Concert and Treble choirs. Membership in Concert Choir is by audition only, but for Treble Choir, children 8 or older may register with choir manager Anne Williford at 201-1894 or grcchoir@gmail.com.

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