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-one 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 NAfME) 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, San Antonio, 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. Lisa Rich, soprano soloist and retired music educator, and Erin Miech, singer and 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.
A NORMAL Chorale 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. “Friends of Chorale Evening” is a special event for our donors at The Lyric each April. “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. Originated in Casper, the honor choir now travels around the state, landing in Sheridan in 2021 for its 25th anniversary (2020 was cancelled due to CoVID).
Our 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)!
In March of 2020, the Children’s Chorale performed for the NW ACDA Convention, in Spokane, WA, with performances along the way in Buffalo, Billings, and Bozeman. This was a very special trip, with many hours of group bonding on the bus! After our performance, the convention was closed down due to COVID. Sadly, because of the virus, our season ended upon our return.
BUT……! After listening to our performance recordings from 2018, 2019, and 2020, the National Office of ACDA invited Casper Children’s Chorale to be one of 24 choruses (school, community, adult, student, etc.) to perform at National ACDA in Dallas, March 2021. We are crossing our fingers that the convention is still on!!
The conductor of the Casper Children’s Chorale is Marcia Patton. Pianist is Erin Zavodny, choral teacher at Dean Morgan Middle School. Section leaders Lynn Kahler, Luanne Marshall, Mandi Neely, and Heidi Perrett 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 to boys and girls in 4th through 8th grades. Normal 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. The 20-21 season may begin online due to the pandemic.
Music Teacher Testimonials
Terry Cometto, Music Specialist K-8: I have been blessed to be a part of the Casper Children’s chorale as a parent, an accompanist, and as a teacher in Natrona County with students (who are my other kids) involved). It is like another family. As a parent, I was excited for my daughter to be a part of the Casper Children’s Chorale. She loved to sing, and this was something she excelled at. She also played an instrument and was involved in sports while a member of CCC. She continued singing in high school choirs, in Alla Breve, and in private voice lessons. My son was in the inaugural year of Bel Canto and continue through CCC. He, too, played an instrument and was involved in sports in his time of Chorale. He continued to sing in high school. Both of my children made lasting friendships, many whom they still have contact with and memories they still recall. I love how Mrs. Patton chooses different genres of music and the kids would put their heart and soul into every song. You could always tell when Mrs. Patton would look at a specific singer: their eyes got bigger and they smiled more; it was like their face glowed. As a parent, I always looked at my children and knew exactly when she made eye contact with them. Chorale teacher responsibility, ownership, teamwork and commitment in a world where these are not the norm. I believe that Casper Children’s Chorale helped my children be where they are today. One has her Masters in Education and the other has his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (Proud Mama!). I was the accompanist for Bel Canto and it always amazed me that the choral conductors, even after a long day of teaching themselves, had a huge amount of energy when working with the students. They shared their love for singing and the students were energized knowing this was a special day of the week and the directors had expectations to be completed. I grew so much myself as a music teacher in that time I was involved. I know what concepts I must cover but there is never enough time to get as in depth with everything as I would like. I have many students who love to sing and want to take their musical journey to the next level. Most of these students are also involved in sports, band , orchestra, and other activities. We are very fortunate to have the Casper Children’s Chorale in Casper. I strongly believe in this organization and encourage my students to audition. Music helps educate the whole child and is a life-long skill they will have forever. I want my students to experience the same joy my own children and I have experienced with this wonderful organization.
Joan Davies, Elementary Music Specialist: Casper Children’s Chorale is the place where you find young people who share the same joy of singing and making music just like you. You feel down deep in your heart what it feels like to be part of something that brings happiness to you and to everyone around you. You know you are being the best you can be…and so is everyone else. You become a better “you” because you learn how to be more responsible for yourself while having fun (and working diligently and smartly) with the neew people you meet and friendships you make through creating quality music–together.