Northern California Children’s Chorus: All the Right Notes
© Dante Fontana
Serving Placer, Sacramento, and El Dorado Counties, Roseville-based Northern California Children’s Chorus (NCCC) has thrived under Artistic Director Judy Britts for 10 years now. “We started when a few parents asked if it was possible to have a choir in the [area], instead of having to drive to Sacramento,” Britts says. “We began with 30 singers in two choirs and have grown to 70 singers in four levels.” Expanding upon music programs at local schools, NCCC provides music reading and performing skills, as well as vocal training that most schools simply don’t have the time or resources for. Holding auditions three times a year, NCCC has performed internationally at Gloucester Cathedral and Trinity Church in England, nationally at Carnegie Hall and Grace Cathedral, and locally at the Harris Center. Currently, they have their sights set on the Pacific International Choral Festival in Eugene, Oregon, and are planning to release their second album this fall.
HLB: Your mission speaks of nurturing the human spirit of all children. How so?
JB: [We recently traveled to] Wales and England with our touring choir and it magnified to all of us how music—a very powerful vehicle that can move people through all emotions—transcends all lines of nationality and musical styles. We’ve performed in grand cathedrals and for a group of senior citizens on a bingo holiday. To the singers, it doesn’t matter who they perform for, just that they get to share something they love to do: sing! There are lots of children who love to sing and who want to sing well, and we have a program for them.
HLB: What’s your own personal involvement in choir?
JB: Besides conducting three of the four choirs in NCCC, I also conduct the semi-professional women’s ensemble, Chanteuses, in Sacramento. From time to time, I sing in my church choir and lend a hand directing too. As a singer, I’ve been active in choir since I was five years old.
HLB: Why is music and live performance so vital to young people?
JB: Music brings people together. As a singer, it allows you to emote the expression of the text being sung down to the core. If done well, that text will reach to the souls of those who are listening. I truly believe that it’s the singer who benefits the most from performances, however. They not only gain performing skills, self-confidence, and self-awareness but learn how to work with one another, how to listen, how to adjust, and how to harmonize with the other singers. And isn’t that what we want for our children? We need them to know how to do this—not just as singers but as young people who will grow to be adults. norcalchildrenschorus.org
September 14 – Joe Gilman Quartet. Roseville Jazz Festival and Invisible Touch Music present award-winning pianist Joe Gilman live at Randy Peters Catering and Event Center. Beginning at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), Gilman will perform Dave Brubeck’s Time Out LP; food and drinks are available for purchase. rosevillejazzday.ticketspice.com/roseville-jazz-festival-concert-series-2018