About Athens Youth Chorus
“If you can walk, you can dance, if you can talk, you can sing.” Zimbabwean Proverb
Singing isn’t just a talent – it is a skill, and all children can learn to sing if they so desire, and are properly instructed. AYC develops the singing and musical skills of its’ members through the use of quality song literature and fun activities. Singers get to explore and experience music from the baroque era through contemporary a cappella, music in a variety of styles and languages. Children’s chorus is the safest way for younger (especially pre-teen) children to learn how to use and develop their voices without risking damage to delicate vocal folds. Vocal and musical skills are developed continually as students advance through the program and eventually become mentors to younger singers.
The primary goal of the Athens Youth Chorus is to provide the opportunity for children in grades 3 through 9 to experience enjoyment and participation in a children’s choral music program while focusing on healthy and expressive singing habits, rehearsal and performance techniques, and music reading skills. Other goals of the ensemble include: the development proper vocal technique, developing an understanding of musical concepts by singing quality music appropriate to the child voice from a variety of periods and a wide range of styles and cultures, encouraging personal and social growth of members and promote their sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and pride, and contributing to the cultural life of the members and the broader community.
The full chorus is divided into two smaller ensembles:
Apprentices ~ Boys and girls in grades 3 and above, no audition required
Focus on: developing healthy singing habits; learning appropriate rehearsal and ensemble techniques; learning to read simple melodies and rhythms; singing unison songs, partner songs, and canons
Advanced Ensemble ~ Boys and girls in grades 6-9, audition required
Focus on: continuing the development of healthy vocal skills and appropriate rehearsal and ensemble techniques; reading more complex melodies and rhythms; singing 2- and 3- part music; contemporary a cappella skills
Melanie Horne – Director
Mrs. Horne is the choral director at Athens Middle School and High School and has been the director of the Athens Children’s Chorus since 1999. Mrs. Horne taught K-6 general music at East and West Elementary schools for 17 years and in addition has taught K-8 music in the Pittsburgh area, worked as a church organist and choir director, and served as accompanist and intern with Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh, as well as accompanist of Hocking County Children’s Chorus.
Mrs. Horne holds a B.S. in Music Education from Duquesne University and a Master of Music Education with Kodaly Emphasis from Capital University, where she was the recipient of the Gregory Von Stein Scholarship. She holds Level 3 Kodaly and Orff Certifications as well as memberships in the Organization of Kodaly Educators, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, American Choral Director’s Association, and Music Educators National Conference.
Founded in 1987 by previous director Marsha Reilly as Athens Children’s Chorus, AYC is an ensemble of the Athens Community Music School. Open to boys (with unchanged voices) and girls in grades 3-9, the Chorus is comprised of two groups. The Apprentice Ensemble is a non-auditioned training group for children in 3rd grade and above. The Advanced Ensemble is an auditioned group for children in grades 5 through 9. Under the direction of Mrs. Melanie Horne since 1999, the Chorus rehearses weekly at the School of Music (Glidden Hall) at Ohio University.
In addition to the chorus’ own concerts and festivals, the Athens Youth (Children’s) Chorus has been featured in performances with the Ohio University Opera Theater (including Hansel and Gretel), Athens Communiversity Band, Athens High School Choirs, the Singing Men of Ohio, Ohio University Women’s Chorale and Choral Union (including Carmina Burana), among others.