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Sing!

Area teens gather for summer singalong

Sing!

It appears to be a verb.

“Sing a song for me.”

In this case, though, it’s a noun.

Actually, it’s the name of an event, so maybe even call it a proper noun.

Regardless of which label you want to use, the event called Sing! will take place a week from today.

All day on July 19, somewhere between 25 and 50 students from 10 to 15 area high schools will be running around Baker Church singing.

The students are divided into ensembles and assigned a clinician, a professional vocalist from St. Charles Singers (more about this fine group next month as they prepare to entertain the town, alongside the Metropolis Orchestra, with the Mozart Festival the last weekend in August).

In addition to singing in an ensemble, some of the students also opt to take a private voice lesson during the day.

A select few are asked to perform their solo later in the day.

Music is heard in every corner of the church as the students rehearse for a concert, held the same night after only one day of singing together.

High school choir directors in our town are not surprised at the quality of music these students can produce in such a short time.

Others who attend are often in awe listening to the sea of 14- to 18-year-old talent that surrounds us.

This will be the eighth year for Sing!

Memories abound!

There was the look on the face of an All Sing director, realizing that even over the summer, many of the students had arrived note-ready, entirely prepared to rehearse. There was the ridiculous excitement when someone brought ice cream bars as a surprise treat for a break in the afternoon on a hot day. There is always the polite, but impatient line for pizza, the high school students’ dinner of choice.

There are looks of amazement exchanged between the supervising adults as they realize one of the students has prepared an opera solo, another sings flawlessly in French or German, and yet another sings a country song. There have been show tunes performed in character. And songs performed by singers who directly touch everyone’s heart.

There are indescribable heartwarming interactions among students – those who are of a usually confident nature welcoming and embracing others who are more reticent socially. Mutual respect for each other’s talent develops quickly and creates a wonderfully diverse playing field.

Those who have raised children into adulthood know there are a variety of days. Some are fun and it’s a pleasure to have the family together. Other days … well, they can be difficult. But if you put those kids in a group to sing together, you will absolutely see them at their best. A promising glimpse of what they will bring to the world.

The students always leave the day filled with joy – a break in the summer filled with singing – and usually already are thinking about coming back the next year. But as it happens, they eventually graduate from high school.

What next? This year, a new college ensemble will make its debut, and there’s a twist. It will be entirely directed by the students themselves. Several are early in their college careers in music education and are looking forward to a chance to practice their trade. A bonus will be a piece written and directed by a young man studying music composition.

The next generation of singers is ready to provide an evening of entertainment for free! And if the young singer in your household didn’t know about it to sign up, last-minute additions to either the high school or college ensemble are always accommodated. Find information on StCharlesSingers.com.

Come on over to Baker Church a little before 7 p.m. and hear what the rising local talent can do in a day. Little will bring as much delight to your soul as these pure young voices with their vibrant joyfulness.

“Slices of Life Along the Fox” is a column that runs every other week in the St. Charles Kane County Chronicle. Sandie Benhart has family roots in the Fox Valley dating to pre-Civil War days. She has lived in St. Charles and been active in tri-cities life for many years. Feedback on this column can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.