Casper’s Ambassadors of Song
The Casper Children’s Chorale was founded in 1979 to provide a positive and challenging choral experience for young singers. Children thrive in this inclusive musical community, immersed in culture and the arts, in a program encouraging performance skills through physical movement, vocal instruction, diverse languages and historical styles. The Chorale is open by audition to eighty boys and girls in fourth through eighth grade. During the past forty years, these talented children have toured across Wyoming presenting musical performances for schools, churches, and community audiences.
The Children’s Chorale has been chosen by audition to perform at state, regional, and national MENC (Music Educators National Conference, now NAME) and ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) conventions, and has received nothing less than superior ratings at Heritage Music Festivals and National Festivals of Gold, all but once receiving the overall top score award. The Chorale is a recipient of the prestigious Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award. Our singing ambassadors have performed in Billings, Boise, Bozeman, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Los Angeles, Orlando, Portland, Rapid City, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Spokane, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, DC, and Vancouver, BC, sharing their love of music and their pride in Wyoming!
Bel Canto, a primer choir of fifty young singers in 2nd through 5th grade, is conducted by elementary music specialist and former Cheyenne Children’s Chorus singer, Terry Schreckengost. Jennifer Cowell-DePaolo, chairman of the Casper College Music Department and accomplished violinist and pianist, Lisa Rich, soprano soloist and retired music educator, and Erin Miech, middle school counselor, assist with Bel Canto.
Previously, the Children’s Chorale sponsored Alla Breve, an upper division choir of forty women, high school age and older. Alla Breve toured China in summer of 2008, and performed for the 2010 All Northwest American Choral Director’s Convention in Seattle, Washington. Marcia Patton conducted Alla Breve, and Lynn Kahler was the pianist.
The Chorale’s 2019-20 season begins in October with the annual “Pumpkin And A Song” at Casper homes, businesses, and assisted living facilities. The Chorale performs their Holiday Concert featuring Children’s Chorale and Bel Canto, at Highland Park Community Church, in December. Each February the Chorale visits area churches for “Sermon In Song”, in which historical music is presented in its traditional sacred setting. “School Tour” in April/May includes concerts for five Casper elementary and middle schools, complete with audience participation. The Annual Mother’s Day Concert concludes the season in May, followed by auditions for the next season. Selected singers participate in the Wyoming ACDA Children’s Honor Choir the first weekend of June, which is held in Cheyenne for its 24th anniversary in 2019, with guest conductor Henry Leck, internationally recognized choral clinician.
The 2019 Spring Tour was to San Antonio, Texas, where Chorale performed with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio and competed in a Heritage Music Festival, as they took in tourist attractions of San Antonio including the Alamo, Riverwalk, and Worlds of Fun. The Chorale also worked with Director of Choral Activities at Trinity College, Mr. Gary Seighman. Performing for three choral adjudicators in the competitive part of the festival with other high school and junior high choirs, the Children’s Chorale scored a 98 point average, earning them the Gold Award (90 points or higher), the Adjudicator’s Trophy (95 points or higher), and the singular Outstanding Choir Award (most points in the festival)!
The conductor of the Casper Children’s Chorale is Marcia Patton. Pianist is Erin Zavodny, choral teacher at Dean Morgan Middle School. Section leaders hold degrees in music education or have sung throughout their college and professional careers. A parent Board of Directors oversees the business of this non-profit arts organization. Children’s Chorale is open by audition each May to boys and girls in 4th through 8th grades. Rehearsals are held every Tuesday from 4:00-5:30 p.m., and one Thursday a month from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church, 701 S. Wolcott, Casper, WY.