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Music School reaches out to community

Claudia Gatewood, director, conducts Stetson’s Young Singers Choir, part of the Community School of Music.

The Stetson University Community School of Music’s premier group, the Young Singers, is an auditioned treble choir made up of talented young people from grades two through 10. This group studies and rehearses each year from September through May, and performs each year in December and May.

Next year, as reward for their hard efforts, the Young Singers will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, June 13-17, 2013. During this special week, the Young Singers will perform two concerts, participate in a worship service and explore the music diversity of Music City USA. The choir will also tour the famous Recording Studio B, where they will record some of their choral literature, and receive souvenir CDs of their recording.

A special highlight of the week will be studying under the direction of a professional music clinician. Sightseeing highlights include a tour of the Schmerhorn Symphony Center and the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson.

The Stetson community is invited to hear the Young Singers prior to their Tennessee tour. They will perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., in Lee Chapel inside Elizabeth Hall. The concert will feature Christmas music and guest accompanists, including Dr. Jean West, flutist; Feryal Qudourah, soprano and recent graduate of the School of Music; and Cameron Huster, harpist and adjunct faculty member of the School of Music. Claudia Gatewood, director of the Community School of Music, conducts the Young Singers.

Sarah Williamson rehearses “Be a Gift to a World in Need,” by Tom Long, with music by Allen Pote, one of the pieces to be performed at the Young Singers’ Dec. 8 Christmas concert.

Stetson’s Community School of Music, a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, is an outreach program of Stetson’s School of Music. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Paul Langston, dean of the School of Music from 1963-1985. It serves all ages, with current enrollment ranging from ages three to 75!  Dr. Ann Small, Music professor emerita, founded the children’s choir that same year. Dr. Jean West was the first director of the Community School; Patrece Robinson was the second director, and Claudia Gatewood, the third.

The four programs under the Community School umbrella include: Orff classes for ages three to nine; the Youth String Orchestra for school-age string players; the Young Singers; and individual private lessons on all orchestral and band instruments, including piano, guitar and harp.

In addition to the programs made available to children through the School of Music, adults can also participate in other musical outreach programs. Inspirare, a women’s chorus, founded and directed by Small, consists of 60 women from Volusia and surrounding counties. The intergenerational choir performs in Lee Chapel in May, and in the fall of 2013, will perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s state conference.

For 27 years, the Community School has been a valuable recruiting tool for Stetson University. People who take classes or attend the Community School recitals and concerts are made aware of Stetson’s offerings. And many who take lessons go on to enroll at Stetson. Stetson music majors also gain invaluable experience teaching for the Community School.

Stetson faculty and staff receive a 10 percent discount on all Community School of Music offerings. Registration for spring lessons begins in December.

For more information about the Community School of Music, check out the website at www.stetson.edu/music/community-school, or contact Claudia Gatewood, director, at cgatewoo@stetson.edu.