SING!, the new children’s chorus program funded and operated by the Music Academy of the West, delivers an uplifting, performance-oriented experience for all elementary school students in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. This free after-school program is open to kids in grades 1 through 6 who want to have fun and learn about music while harmonizing with others. There are already 210 students from 33 schools registered for the program, which meets twice a week for 90 minutes at the schools and once a month on Saturdays at the Music Academy’s campus.
“Right now, we’re doing everything outdoors in masks,” says program director Erin McKibben of the program’s rehearsals, which launched this season on January 24. “Even when the wind picks up and their music starts flying off the music stands, the students are excited to be together again.” After persisting through a season of virtual choral practice via Zoom, SING!’s participants get a second chance to perform in person.
Music Academy President and CEO Scott Reed described how the organization arrived at this choice, saying that “we have so much great music programming in Santa Barbara, but when we looked around, we realized that there wasn’t a community-wide children’s choral program.” From this, the idea was born of a program that would offer young people more than just the chance to sing together in an organized group. SING! aims to remove any barriers between children in Santa Barbara and the artistic excellence that the Music Academy represents.
In March, when the London Symphony Orchestra comes to town for a five-day residency co-sponsored by the Music Academy and CAMA, the SING! students will join them in front of the stage at the Granada. They will participate in a family program on Saturday, March 26, titled “How to Build an Orchestra.” In May, they will perform again on their own and at the Music Academy campus. For more information about the SING! program, visit musicacademy.org.