Decatur Choral Society Scholarships

Since one of the Decatur Choral Society’s missions is to promote choral music in our area, we offer scholarships each year for high school students. All Macon County public and private school music teachers receive audition information in the late winter. These scholarships are currently for private voice lessons with instructors at Millikin University’s School of Music Prep Department.

The recipients of this opportunity must participate in a competitive audition for which they have submitted an application, written a brief autobiography, prepare and perform a solo for the audition, and respond to a panel of judges who have listened to their audition.

This is quite an intimidating experience for most young singers. It is also difficult for the adjudicators to choose those who will receive lessons. This spring they listened to fifteen applicants. The four recipients are high school students at Maroa-Forsyth and Eisenhower High Schools, and Decatur Christian School. The judges were Kelsie and Andrew Gallegos, Andrea Pope, and Christine Smith.

Scholarship recipients are either assigned a teacher, or continue with a teacher with whom they may already taken lessons at Millikin. Generally, the students will receive training in the beginning skills of singing. These include foundational techniques such as posture, breathing, and healthy phonation. They are exposed to methods to make the connection between breath and sound, clear and consistence resonance, and relieving unnecessary vocal tensions. Basic music theory is also covered, such as major and minor scales, triads, and sight reading. Song literature with basic musicianship including dynamics and phrasing is studied. Often, students have continued with their lessons after the scholarship ends.

For most choral singers, these skills were also our introduction to singing, and the foundation of our eventual love of choral music.

Opus 24 often has our scholarship winners perform a piece at our fall concert, which this year will be on November 25th, 2014. The nature of the program will determine if we are able to invite them to sing. It is always wonderful to see the leap of skill development from audition to performance. What must go through these teenagers’ minds as they perform in front of over 500 people, many for the first time?

If you have a young singer who will be in high school during the 2015-2016 school year, have them keep alert for our announcement about the scholarships.

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society