Drawing on her talents as a professional vocalist, choral director, and Broadway performer, Evans created SingOut! CT, a vocal ensemble for young girls, devoted to developing youngsters as choral artists and soloists. In addition, she regularly coaches and mentors young performers who are pursuing stage careers.
More than pop for lucky singers Concerts reveal vision of Warren vocalist, director
By Hayley Rose Horzepa
When Alecia Evans moved to Warren to start her family, Connecticut residents got more
than they bargained for. Evans, a professional vocalist, choral director and Broadway
performer, did not come empty-handed; she brought along years of musical experience and talent to share with community members.
Initially, Evans, 49, started Bel Canto Children's Choir in Washington, Conn., which had
42 children at its height. She describes the choir as "one of the greatest joys in the community" that also helped familiarize her with local residents. Evans' broader vision to "accomplish a legacy for beautiful singing in Connecticut" led her to launch SingOut! CT, a new Litchfield County organization founded so "children of all ages and abilities could develop their full creative potential through the vocal and performing arts."
"I want to bring that vocal wealth of information to a group and do wonderful programming so that children are introduced to something besides just a pop or Disney song," she says.
The group has two performances scheduled for Saturday. SingOut! CT made its debut at the Gunn Memorial Library in Washington on Nov. 18. Evans, originally from North Carolina, attended the North Carolina School of Arts where she received a bachelor's degree in opera. She continued her music education on a scholarship from the San Francisco Conservatory where she graduated with a master's degree in music and opera. From there she met Robert Geary, the director of the San Francisco Baroque Choral Guild. Geary had just started a children's choir in Piedmont, Calif., and asked her to work with this newly formed boys choir. Evans conducted Piedmont Choirs for 11 years and ran both the beginning and training divisions.
"I always loved to work with children and I love the repertoire — the choral repertoire for young singers and seeing them develop and grow into that and hear the harmonies and when they get it — you know and become excited that it's such a team sport," she says.
With the current upsurge of musically-based television shows such as "Glee," "The Voice" and "American Idol," interest has been renewed in the vocal arts during a pivotal time when more schools are closing their choral programs. Though some artists look down on these shows' strong pop culture influence, Evans believes that anything that sparks a child's interest in the vocal art form is a positive thing.
Throughout her career, Evans has sung with small chamber ensembles, opera courses, sung Broadway material, run a Baptist church's children's choir and led a Catholic church's Mass entirely in Latin. Evans explains that young children's voices are not always "there yet" as they try to mimic popular music sung by mature performers.
"Young singers tend to watch these shows and get excited, but the key is for a good teacher to put them in an environment and give them material that works for them," she says.
The positive aspects of "Glee" outweigh the negative especially for boys who are no longer being chastised for their interest in singing, she explains. At the moment, SingOut! CT only has a girls glee group, but that will soon change. Her dream is to start a boy division by next fall. In fact, Evans would like to audition any interested boys for the division beginning in January because she has three pieces in mind that require a small boys choir in the spring. Evans works with two divisions. Division 1 is by audition and Division 2 accepts new singers at anytime. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 may join. SingOut! CT is charging $100 per student for each of the two semesters. Fall semester runs from September to December and spring semester runs from January to June.
In January, SingOut! CT will start a sponsorship campaign. For details, visit www.singoutct.org.
Used with permission by the Republican-American.
SingOut! CT, Connecticut's Newest Glee Group for Young Voices debuts November 18, 2012
Washington, CT: To grow and to flourish is what all parents want for their children. That is just what a new organization recently launched in Litchfield County, Connecticut called SingOut! CT is doing to make this a reality. SingOut! CT was founded so that children of all ages and abilities could develop their full creative potential through the vocal and performing arts.
SingOut! CT is a pending not-for-profit organization that offers a vocal experience to children that will increase their awareness and aptitude in the art of singing, instill in them confidence and presence, create local audiences for vocal performances at venues across the state and, through song, make our communities a better place for all of us to live.
As the founding Artistic and Musical Director, Alecia Evans states, “SingOut! CT is the experience and enjoyment of making music in song together and sharing that joy with others. Our mission is to provide a cultural alternative to the commercial music experience, to celebrate and promote the artistic elements of singing and to nurture and promote the art of singing itself.”
SingOut! CT is already out there meeting its mission!
Even though the group is only a few months old it already has three upcoming performances. SingOut! CT will have their debut at the Gunn Memorial Library Sunday on November 18 at 2 pm in Washington, CT. Then on Saturday, Dec. 1 they will be performing a free “SingOut! CT is the experience and concert at the Christmas Open House at the Skitch Henderson Museum at the The Silo at 3 pm in New Milford, CT. Then that night Saturday, Dec. 1, SingOut! CT girls will also be performing as part of the "Christmas at the Palace" show, opening for the Waterbury Chorale in Waterbury, CT at the Palace Theatre.
SingOut! CT is a group of 25 girls aged 916 from the towns of Washington, New Preston, Warren, New Milford, and Litchfield. Talented beyond their young years, they sing choral and solo selections from Broadway and Disney paired with holiday favorites such as Blue Christmas, Hope Carol and Silver Bells. Inspiring and inspired! A holiday treat for the whole family to enjoy debuting at the Gunn Memorial Library on November 18 at 2 pm in Washington, CT.
SingOut! CT works through choral and solo disciplines to teach singing by creating a unique environment in which girls of all ages, experience level and ability can feel free to imagine, create, and welcome the vocal arts into their lives and the life of their community.
SingOut! CT has already formed several strategic alliances with various organizations and businesses in northwestern Connecticut that have been helping to make SingOut! CT a success. These include The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, The Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, The Gunn Memorial Library, Fine Line Theater Arts, Hunt Hill Farm Trust and The Palace Theater. They invite others to contact them to join in at instilling the love of singing to our young people and to enrich our local communities.
Another important part of SingOut! CT! is to provide professional networking and working environment for singing that is challenging, rewarding, creative, and fun! To do this they estimate that approximately half of SingOut! CT's annual revenue will be generated by a combination of tuition, admissions, programming, retail sales, and related activities. The other half of their funding will be generated by grants, benefit performances, donations from individuals, corporations, and small businesses and other fund raising activities. SingOut! CT! notes that The Arts Education Partnership, in conjunction with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, commenced a study last year to examine the impact of arts experiences on young people and to explore why and how young people were changed through their arts experiences. The study found evidence that demonstrates that children with high levels of arts participation outperform "artspoor" students by virtually every measure. Furthermore the study found that the arts provide young people with authentic learning experiences that engage their minds, hearts, and bodies. As well as that arts education helps students learn; it can enhance creativity, self-discipline, and the skills and confidence necessary to meet the challenges encountered during their lives.
At SingOut! CT! it is in the song!
It is what can be accomplished by a group of dedicated young people making song. It is working individual voices together blended in contrast and harmony. It is what life can be like and it becomes more than a song. It is about what we can do as individuals first and then together to make our lives fuller and our communities a better place for all of us to live.