Alaska Youth Choir performs winter concerts

Sing-along incorporated into two winter performances

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2002

The 40 singers in the Alaska Youth Choir will raise their voices this weekend in two performances of a winter concert.

"We've put a twist in this year's concert having the audience as part of the concert. There'll be a holiday sing-along," said Missouri Smyth, who directs the choir.

The concerts will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Northern Light United Church and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Chapel by the Lake. The youth chamber string ensemble Ursa Major Strings will be featured in a short set of instrumental music during the concert and will accompany the choir for one song, "O Holy Night." Smyth said the choir will break into smaller subsets for some selections.

The youth choir will perform traditional holiday carols and Christmas songs from Colombia and France. Pianists Lorrie Heagy and Jacque Farnsworth serve as accompanists.

The Alaska Youth Choir is a nonprofit community-based group of mixed singers ages 8 to 16. Smyth said the group, founded in 1994, complements Juneau's school music programs. The group prepares and performs winter and spring concerts in Juneau, as well as performances at events such as the Governor's Open House. The group has traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, and most recently to New Orleans to participate in children's choir festivals.

This season, Smyth said the group plans to visit Hawaii.

"We've been accepted to the Pacific Rim Children's Choir Festival," she said. "That's in July."

In Hawaii, the group will work with internationally recognized children's choral director Henry Leck and learn music specific to the people of the South Pacific.

Smyth plans to modify and expand the group next year and create two choirs. In addition to the mixed choir of young singers, she plans to create a treble and mixed choir of singers ages 14 to 18.

The youth choir will hold auditions for singers 14 to 18 years old Jan. 4 at Northern Light United Church. To learn more about the choir or to schedule an alternate time to audition, call Smyth at 780-5225.

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