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New Surrey Schools choir program gives students a voice

Tomorrow's%20Voices.jpgStudents in North Surrey will soon have more opportunities to flex their vocal cords, thanks to a new district singing program kicking off later this month.

Called Tomorrow’s Voices, the program is a partnership between Surrey Schools, Simon Fraser University and the Tomorrow’s Voices Foundation and provides students a barrier-free opportunity to develop their singing and performance skills through choir.

The after-school program will be held at Kwantlen Park Secondary and include elementary students from neighbourhood schools who have been selected by their schools as having shown an interest in music and singing.

“These are students who will be attending Kwantlen Park when they’re older and so this is a chance for them to also meet others who will be attending the same high school as them,” said James Speidel, assistant manager of Community Schools Partnership. “It allows them to get familiar with the school and each other and works as a great transitional program.”

The program will start off in a pilot phase with 18 to 20 students between Grades 4-7 and, if successful, Speidel said they could look at expanding it to other sites and age groups for the next school year.

“Tomorrow’s Voices is a little different than some of our other programs because unlike some of the sports-related ones, this one runs the whole school year, so it’s a bit of a commitment,” he explained.

Students in the program will be instructed by a professional music director that will help them hone their vocal skills and teach them to sing together as a choir. There will also be opportunities throughout the year for them to perform in front of others as well as collaborate with Canadian artists. Previous Tomorrow’s Voices classes having sung with the likes of Serena Ryder, Dan Mangan, Neko Case and the Sheepdogs.

“The sessions will also be youth-led in that the student will get to pick which songs they learn and sing together as a team,” said Speidel. “We’re just excited to see students get more opportunities like this, to connect with others who share the same interest and build those connections early on.”

To learn more about Tomorrow’s Voices, click here.

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