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Fostering art, music

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PCI’s boys, girls club creates choir program for children

With one voice, third through 12th graders in the Poarch Creek Indian Boys and Girls Club sang out for all to hear at the end-of-the-year show on Aug. 2.

Groups divided up by grades sang musical favorites for family and friends in the choir program’s first show.

PCI Boys and Girls Club Director Connie Crews said the choir program originated after a group of kids sang Christmas carols in the community.

“That was kind of the initiation of looking at having some type of music and choir program,” Crews said.

Crews said Arelene Mack met with representatives from the University of South Alabama about doing an introduction to the performing arts that are related to the university.

“We actually had mentioned to them we had an interest in something to do with a choir,” Crews said.

From there, Crews said PCI’s Boys and Girls Club was introduced to Choir Director Laurie Shearer.

“In a matter of two weeks, we had a grant and a contract to do the program,” Crews said.

The Boys and Girls Club program begins in June. Initially, the choir program, which is for boys and girls in grades 3-12, was going to be a one-day-a-week program.

However, Crews said they decided to offer the program two days a week so the kids have more time for instruction.

Shearer said the extra work allows the participants to learn more about singing and to get comfortable with performing.

“I think there’s a lot of good natural talent some of them didn’t think they had” Shearer said. “I really tried to win them in and convinced them to do the things that will help them be better. I tried to build up their confidence and self esteem.”

Crews said the program went well in its first year, and that she was impressed with how well the children performed.

In addition, Crews said she hopes this choir program will be a feeder to spark interest to form a choir that can perform at events within the Tribal community.

The program ended with an ice cream social.

The club began operation with its first summer program in May of 2011. On Sept. 7, 2011, the club became the first Native American boys and girls club in the state of Alabama.