Columbus, Georgia is the home of one of the top children's choirs in the Southeast - and depending on who you ask, it's arguable their trajectory has them set to secure national acclaim within the next several years.
Voices of the Valley Children's Chorus (VOV) is led by Artistic Director Dr. Michelle Folta and her exceptional staff of music educators. Their purpose is to inspire young singers to become life-long learners of music through their choral experiences and community engagement. To say they've been successful in living out this mission is an understatement.
VOV has been featured in concerts with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Ballet, and has been invited for numerous appearances with ensembles within the Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music. They've also performed at the West Georgia Choral Festival, LaGrange College, served as guest artists for multiple collaborations with local arts organizations, and were invited to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association's annual convention in Athens, Georgia as well as the 2022 American Choral Directors Association, Southern Division bi-annual conference. Now, they've got their eyes on appearing at more national choral conventions and have booked a choir tour to Italy for the summer of 2024.
VOV provides both an artistic and creative outlet to their students, but Dr. Folta and her team's philosophy on music education extends far beyond the classroom. "The skills we're teaching these students, and learning together through collaborative rehearsals and performances, are skills we see as key components to a well-rounded education for every student," said Folta. "Over the last several years these kids have fought their way through a pandemic - rehearsing in parking garage - to keep improving their skills and the ensemble's ability to continue to offer high-quality performances. That sort of dedication and resilience makes for incredible music making, but I also believe they are skills that will take them far in life on whatever personal and professional journeys their futures hold."
Past students have gone on to major in music and serve as performers and educators across the nation. This is demonstrated by a new alumni choir Folta has formed that will perform every year together.
In other words, VOV has a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
Next week, in honor of the organization's 15th anniversary, they're hosting 'Homecoming' a benefit to raise funds to continue expanding their program of work for their students. Thanks to a grant from the Columbus Cultural Arts Alliance, VOV will host an evening of celebration on Friday, May 12 at 7PM in Foley Hall at the Springer Opera House. Guests can expect to enjoy live jazz performed by CNAfME (Collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education) Jazz Band (comprised solely of current undergraduate music education majors!), and will spend the evening enjoying a variety of charcuterie boards, beer, and wine. A cash bar will also be available. Cocktail attire is requested.
Funds from the event will go toward multiple needs throughout VOV's program of work. This list includes but is not limited to: sponsorships for student fees, the purchase of new materials like music and performance attire, and travel expenses as they begin to fundraise for their Italy tour next summer. "Our goal is for every student who qualifies to be able to go abroad with us," said Folta. "It's a major expense for many of these families, but traveling and performing abroad is life changing. We want every student in the touring ensemble to go, but we need our community's help to get them there."
Want to support the organization by attending 'Homecoming' and learning more about what they do? Click here to purchase a ticket to the event.
Can't make it, but want to make a donation? Click here.
To hear VOV live, attend their next concert on Saturday May 13 at 7PM in Legacy Hall at Rivercenter for the Performing Arts. Click here for more information. Admission is FREE.