By Cynthia Wang
Every Sunday, from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM, the New Voice Children's Choir (NVCC) rehearses near Sanlin, Shanghai.
"It started with a woman named Carol who was involved in children's choirs in the US and, through her connections with Stepping Stones, an outreach program, created a music enrichment program for migrant children," said Alicia Knox, the current English choir instructor for the NVCC, having moved to Shanghai a year later.
Ms. Lisa, the choir's Chinese instructor, adds on, "Carol used to teach English in Stepping Stones and established this choir soon after for Shanghai's migrant children."
"The choir's migrant children are often not economically stable, so our tuition fee is typically quite low. We don't want to be an economic burden to them, but we also want to provide the kids with some sort of musical training. This was Carol's starting philosophy, to help out the less fortunate, no matter how good their intonation is," said Lisa.
Last year, the choir attended two concerts - one at a shopping mall's Christmas event and one at a Church's Christmas bazaar. Although opportunities are scarce, Alicia and Lisa are still intent on pulling on their own connections and their community to get performance opportunities for the children.
"As much as just coming together and singing is really important and valuable, we also want them to have an opportunity to perform to build their confidence," said Alicia.
"It's always a work in progress."
On May 26th of 2017, the SAS Pudong chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society donated its profits from Pudong Rocks sales to the New Voice Children's Choir. This money is set to go to getting uniforms for the children and to rent funds for future rehearsal or concert venues.
Recently, the choir has also switched venues from an elderly home to an extra room in the village's management building. This change has led to some old participants leaving the choir due to travel difficulties. But, there has also been an influx of new children in the area joining the choir.
"As of now, we just want to keep [this choir] going," said Alicia. "But ultimately, we want this to be more self-sustaining, both financially and staff-wise, with more teachers and volunteers to infuse life into the choir. The more connections we have, the more people we can get involved, the more s[the choir] will grow and blossom."
If you would like to volunteer at the New Voice Children’s Choir, please contact Tri-M Music Honor Society members for more information.