with the plan:
Furman Children’s Choir formed
As a music teacher and choral conductor during the 1980s and early ’90s at Taylors Elementary School, Jeanie Reed began noticing a disturbing trend: many of her most promising singers lost interest after they went to middle school.
Part of the reason for the drop-off, she says, is that students can take no more than one semester of chorus each school year. Even a respite of a few months can seem like an eternity for youngsters, and they quickly find new interests.
For those middle school students wishing to remain involved, weekly instruction is crucial, says Reed, a 1981 Furman graduate and assistant music professor since 1994.
“That is the period of their life when their voices are changing. It is very important that they continue to sing through those changes,” she says. “I began thinking that this area really needed a children’s community choir.”
It wasn’t until Reed left the public schools two years ago to spend more time with her children that she had enough time to devote to establishing a children’s community choir. Last summer, she founded the Furman Children’s Choir.
The 42-member group, which rehearses for 90 minutes every Tuesday evening in Harper Hall, is attracting some of the best student choral performers in the Upstate. Some participants travel from as far away as Tryon, N.C., and Clemson.
“The response has been real positive,” says Reed, whose husband, Alan, accompanies the chorus on piano and is the music director at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Tuition for the choir is $36 per month, or $320 for the year.
“We are not competing with school choirs,” she says. “We want our students to do both. Our choral program will only enhance their experience. This is a learning experience for students who are very eager to sing.”
Reed hopes the program eventually will enroll 150 children and will include a 75-member concert choir that will perform eight or 10 concerts a year. The choir is currently working on a spring benefit concert that will be held at 7 p.m. May 20 in the Charles Ezra Daniel Memorial Chapel. Reed says the group is eager to sing for businesses, churches and other organizations.
“There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children singing, “ she says. “The choral sound is so pure.” For more information about the Furman Children’s Choir, call Reed at 246-7617 or Linda Cook at 294-3134.