The Tahoma Valley Youth Chorus, a growing nonprofit program since its founding in 2010, has plans to launch its inaugural Summer Music Day Camp starting Aug. 12-15. The day camp from 9 a.m. to noon based at Puyallup Methodist Church will focus on the fundamentals of singing in a fun and interactive way for grades kindergarten through 12th.
“We have a lot of fun activities planned for the kids,” said Nancy Nole, co-director and co-founder. “There will be lots of games, lots of camp song singing, harmony rounds, and even a possibility of drum ensembles.”
Nole, who taught for 34 years in the Puyallup School District and now is a music professor at Pacific Lutheran University, founded the nonprofit with Karen Fulmer, a former Sumner School District music teacher. The two women were inspired to found an instructional program that supplemented the music program taught in public schools.
Nole said in many cases there is a challenge in giving individual voice lessons to elementary-age students.
“Giving voice lessons to kids that age is not a good idea because they’re developing their vocal chords, so we cater to that and we’re aware of their development,” Nole said. “We take singers of all kinds. Sometimes parents don’t think their kids can sing. We take students wherever they are vocally and create singers out of them.”
Nole said that both she and Fulmer are members of the American Choral Directors Association. Fulmer is the president.
Nole said students in the chorus program, which runs from September through June, perform high-quality choral music.
“We put on two concerts each year: one in December and one in June,” Nole said. “We have been very well received and our organization is growing.”
Nole said the program is based at the Puyallup Methodist Church where rehearsals and concerts are held. She made clear the nonprofit is in no way affiliated with the church, although sometimes the group may perform during a service as a thank you to the congregation for providing the space.
Throughout the fall, winter and spring, Nole said the group will perform in outside venues like Mountain View Community Center in Edgewood for example during its weekly community meals program. Another major concert is each Christmas season singing at Pacific Place Mall in Seattle.
“Our mission is to empower youth toward independence and leadership through singing,” Nole said. “In a group like this, you really have great camaraderie. Students get very close together. They all have a common goal. They all love to sing. They become good friends through the course of the whole thing.”
For Rebekah Edgbert, a sophomore this fall at Puyallup High School, she joined the youth chorus as a fourth grader with her friend, Amanda Maratas. Nole happened to have taught the two girls since kindergarten at Fruitland Elementary School.
“I went to one of the practices (with Amanda) and it was really fun,” Edgbert said. “It’s really built my confidence up a lot. I’ve been able to try more solo parts and auditions and it’s helped me to read music better.”
Edgbert said making new friends has also been a plus. She said she plans to continue in the program starting this fall.
Nole and Fulmer decided to start a summer music day camp to encourage new membership and bolster the program.
“This year we decided to promote the choir by bringing in some kids on a more informal basis,” Nole said.Nole and Fulmer would like to register more young men into the program. There is a desire, Nole said, to start a young men’s ensemble group for ages 13 to 18. There is also a young women’s ensemble for ages 13 to 18, an intermediate choir for ages 9 to 12 and an early years choir for ages 6 to 8.
If You GoThe Summer Music Day Camp is from 9 a.m. to noon starting Monday, Aug. 12 through Thursday, Aug. 15. The program will conclude with a performance on Thursday. Registration fee is $60. Call Nancy Nole at 253-224-5423 to ask for a registration form or visit www.tahomavalleyyouthchorus.com to register and to learn more. Puyallup Methodist Church is located at 1919 W. Pioneer.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.