Over the years, many LCH children have been involved in the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus to further their music education. Naomi Castro, Karyn Castro, Marisa Castello, Elizabeth Pearson, and Joseph Pearson are some of the names which come to mind. Hilary Scherer (whose mom, Ulrike Scherer, sings alto in the LCH Choir) was also an HYOC grad. It was the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus which was the children’s choir in our performances of the St. Matthew Passion in the year 2000. Many years ago I was the accompanist for the Hawaii Children’s Opera Chorus, which was a parent organization for HYOC in the early days. I also wrote a post about seeing the local PBS program, “Long story short,” with Nola Nahulu, the long-time conductor of HYOC, and her views on the role of the choral conductor.
What you probably don’t know, though, is that Jean Lilley, (Pastor Jeff Lilley’s wife) is the Executive Director of HYOC, and she just wrote an amazing article for their newsletter. She gave me permission to reprint it here.
Have you ever looked at your child on stage at a concert and say to yourself “Wow, who is that child? He/She has such poise and is actually following directions!” I’ve had the experience on a number of occasions, as both my children (now in their 20s) are performers. From the time that they started performing, whether it was with a group or solo, I realized that the kinds of things they were learning about growing up and “finding themselves”, were encompassed in their experiences in classrooms, rehearsals and performances in music, speech and theatre.
Both of my children learned social, mental and behavioral skills beyond what my husband and I could teach them, through their experiences as performers. They not only performed, but they also participated in competitions. Their self esteem and confidence was far and above where I was when I was their age. I attribute so much of their ability to deal with the ups and downs of life to their participation in excellent performing arts programs. They both received solid training, which has given them the ability to grow and understand how their behavior affects others. Rehearsals, both in the classroom, and as part of a musical group, are especially important to their growth and confidence for performance. In the end, the performance is the easy part of being a performing artist.
The challenges of learning the music/scripts can sometimes be overwhelming, but with patient coaching and encouragement it becomes easier with every rehearsal.
I hope that as a parent and supporter of the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, you understand, as I have, how important the organization as a whole is to the development of the children who participate in our programs. From weekly rehearsals and classroom learning experiences, all of which teach the children music, to the performance, the demonstration of what the children have learned, I believe they are learning so much more than music. They are learning life skills, which they will find themselves using as they grow from toddler to adulthood. Learning music and proper singing techniques is an added bonus.
Next time you see a child performing, whether in music, acting, or a classroom presentation of a project, I hope you know how much more he/she has learned in the journey to that performance and continue to encourage him/her to do what they love and do it to the best of their ability. Amazingly their social skills and confidence are tied to the gifts they have and discovering how to use them will take lots of patience and encouragement. Enrolling them in, or supporting programs like HYOC has made a difference in hundreds of children’s lives (including my son). Every child interested in music and singing is welcome to audition for one of our ensembles. You will be glad you did! I am!
Click here to go to the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus website.