Approximately 200 members strong, the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus (GCC) combines the best fourth and fifth-grade music students from across the district. This group performs at special events and hosts concerts throughout the year, showcasing the talent that has earned GISD eight Best Community for Music Education titles.
In February, the GCC fifth-grade choir performed at an extra special event—the annual Texas Music Educators Association convention. Only a select few ensembles from across the state receive an invitation like this every year. GISD’s Children’s Chorus has been lucky enough to receive a total of six invitations during its existence. Following appearances in 1981, 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2003, this year’s convention visit included a performance in the outdoor rotunda at the State Capitol. It also featured an original song from Director Brenda Hass entitled Dream for Me.
The recognition of GCC fifth-graders continued when the more than 80 students returned home. They were honored by the GISD Board of Trustees with an Evidence of Excellence award Feb. 27.
“It is a great honor to be participating in the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus,” said Shorehaven Elementary School fifth-grader Kemuel Santiago during the recognition. “On behalf of all 81 students in the choir, I can say that this year has been full of great learning experiences. We have learned to sing in five languages. We have learned to sound as one voice. We have grown as musicians, and now we can say that we are not only singers but also artistic performers. I want to thank Ms. Hass and Ms. [Lyndsey] Alecusan for being so patient with us and teaching us all that we know now.”
GISD’s Children’s Chorus started in 1972 as the All-City Boys’ Choir. In 1975, the All-City Girls’ Choir was established, and in 2010, the two groups combined. The GCC is now made up of separate fourth and fifth-grade, audition-only choirs. They each begin the year with a weeklong summer camp and then rehearse once a week during the school year for 90 minutes. The two choirs perform four major concerts together every year, in addition to a number of performances on their own for various school and community events. One highlight is an annual benefit concert held in conjunction with a charitable organization. Over the past 10 years, GCC has helped raise $19,601 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and has also donated $3,750 to three GCC families that were devastated by the 2015 tornado.
“We like to teach our Children’s Chorus students to be compassionate, to use their talents to help others in need and to give back to our community,” explained Hass. “This concert is called Children Helping Children, and we feel it is very special.”