The Newsletter of the Fairfield County Children's Choir 

Vol.16 No. 3                                 

Spring  2017

In This Issue
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Fairfield County Children's Choir  

POB 110588  

Trumbull, CT  06611  



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From the Music Director  
Greetings and Happy Spring! Since the last newsletter we have been very busy with performances including the Carnegie Hall concert, the FCCC Winter Concert, the Music For Youth concert, caroling, the FCCC Broadway Concert, the Fairfield U Bookstore concert, Chichester Psalms with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and a taping for Good Morning America. (Whew!) In this newsletter you will find the schedule of our upcoming events and lots of other news and information.
The FCCC Mission Statement includes important principles such as: "Through the process of practicing and performing choral music with excellence and artistry, the FCCC helps to foster the personal, musical and social growth of each child, promoting self-esteem and self-discipline....The arts enrich and nourish our lives in an unending multitude of ways. Higher degrees of knowledge, understanding and appreciation of music contribute to an enriched quality of life from before birth to the very end of life."
If you are still with me, I would like to share with you one brief lesson that was recently introduced to our choristers as an illustration of what these principles look like in our weekly rehearsals.
As every FCCC chorister can tell you, the first two "basics of singing" are posture and breath. For twenty-two years we have provided instruction as to how these techniques are the foundation of beautiful tone quality and musicality. More recently another great resource was added to our pedagogical arsenal which was passed out to all choristers: an article from the December 29, 2015 New York Times (from the Wellness column by Jane E. Brody in Science Times) entitled "Good Posture May Better Your Position." Here are a few excerpts: "Slouching hampers body, mind and social standing, but it can be corrected.... Poor posture can have ill effects that radiate throughout the body, causing back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, breathing limitations, arthritic joints, digestive problems and mood disturbances. It can also create a bad impression when applying for a job, starting a relationship or making new friends. Poor posture can even leave you vulnerable to street crime.... Just as walking in high heels can shorten and tighten the Achilles' tendons and calf muscles, slouching while sitting hour after hour can result in a persistent slouch, while standing and walking while slouched can lead to permanently rounded shoulders and upper back.... Leaning forward or slouching can also curtail lung capacity by as much as 30 percent, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches body tissues, including the brain."
I suggested that this last point could affect things like scores on SAT or ACT tests, which can have a major impact on college success. Lessons such as this are yet another byproduct of participation in FCCC, which we hope will serve our members for years to come.


Concerts and Events
As we head into the final months of the 2016 - 2017 season we are preparing for some truly incredible performances! Read on to find the details of these events.
Our annual Spring Concert, entitled "Music Makes the World Go Round," will again focus on community, this time featuring standard choral repertoire as well as classic folk songs and many beloved rounds. With selections dating from the 13th century through today, from places as diverse as Africa, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Eastern Europe, Japan and Israel, this concert will be a true musical feast. We have an outstanding cast of performers, including guest musicians and three hundred of the most talented and dedicated young singers in Connecticut! The Spring Concert will take place on Saturday, May 13 at 7:00 PM at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University. This outstanding venue has limited seating so we expect to sell out as we did last year.
On Wednesday, April 26 the FCCC Chamber Singers will perform at Fairfield's Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony. This is one of the most profound events we undertake each year. Not only do we perform an important community service but the opportunity to be a witness to history as told by Holocaust survivors is an extraordinary educational and emotional experience. The program takes place at 7:30 P.M. at First Church Congregational (148 Beach Road) and is open to the public.
The final event of the 2016 - 2017 season is the Chamber Singers tour to Ireland from June 23 - July 1. This will be our second visit to the Emerald Isle, with our previous tour taking place in 2007. The "Ireland Tour 2017" will be a concert tour. We will have five concert performances and sing for two Masses over eight days. Our friends at the Cross Border Orchestra Ireland have helped arrange most of the events.
The FCCC has performed with the CBOI at Carnegie Hall,
Cliffs of Moher
Lincoln Center,  in Fairfield and Ireland. Many thanks to the McDermott family which has connections in Belfast and arranged for our concert and Mass there. Sightseeing will include the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher!  
The Chamber Singers will present an "Ireland Send-Off Concert" at the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield (74 Beach Road) on June 21 at 7:00 PM. The choir will present their tour repertoire that includes classical masterpieces, American and Irish folk songs (including Danny Boy and Mo Ghile Mear) and a final set featuring American pop, Gospel and jazz music. This concert is free and open to the public.
Please join us for these wonderful programs!

             For Kids Who Love To Sing
Auditions for the 2017- 2018 season will take place in May and June.  Prospective members may register for an appointment by calling 203-414-4292. The audition is just seven minutes in length and consists of singing an easy song such as Frere Jacques or America and echoing a few melodic patterns.

Kevin Cotellese Our Concert Choir conductor, Kevin Cotellese, has decided to move on after thirteen years of making great music with the choristers of the FCCC. In addition to his duties at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Kevin has taken on the Music Director position at the Wilton Singers, and, as you read here in the fall, was married to Jessica Coppola in July 2016. We wish him all the best and hope that he will visit our rehearsals and concerts! (Please see our website for the announcement of the search for a new conductor.)

The FCCC lost a great friend when Jeff Jensen (1956-2016) passed away on December 27, 2016 at Yale New Haven Cancer Center. Jeff was a choir parent from 2003 - 2010 and he leaves a powerful legacy with the FCCC. His daughter, Marlee, was a frequent soloist with the FCCC for seven years, was elected President of the Chamber Singers in her senior year and went on to major in voice at Loyola University in New Orleans. Marlee sang with incredible poise and great beauty at Jeff's very moving funeral service. Jeff's wife Marylou was active with the choir, frequently helping with the auction and other events. The entire Jensen family, including Marlee's sister, Callie, joined us on numerous summer tours, most memorably our trip to Austria and the Czech Republic.
Jeff's incredible gift to the choir was as the founder of the FCCC YouTube channel. For years he would post every concert that we performed. The YouTube channel has been incredibly important in so many ways. Just this year ABC's Good Morning America program and the sponsors of the Kate Winslet Autism Foundation concert at Carnegie Hall found us on YouTube. In previous years the producers at Smilow Cancer Hospital and America's Got Talent found us through this channel. We frequently get requests from choral directors in the U.S. and abroad for arrangements of songs we have done that they heard on YouTube. From the simple enjoyment our choristers get from watching themselves to the most profound moments and challenges of our lives, the YouTube channel has made a deep impact on thousands of viewers. After Marlee graduated from the choir Jeff passed the reins to Mirielle and Joe Bovine who have now passed them to Gene and Jenn Hoffman. The entire FCCC family will forever be in his gratitude.

Chorister Profiles-FCCC Seniors!

We say a fond farewell to all of our graduating seniors. Best wishes to: Adele Hancock, Kelly Karazulas, Stephen Kelly, Hallie Lavin, Nicole Marino, Izzy Meltzer, Abby Noyes, Emma Palomba, Clarice Pennock, Daphne Saloomey, Ellery Saluck, Anika Vanderwal, Abi Varsos, Natalia Zhiltsova . They have given so much of their talents and time to our choir! In addition, we congratulate three of these seniors who will receive our Choral Scholar Award. This is given to choristers who have been members of the FCCC for the maximum term of nine years. We are so happy that these seniors 'found us' way back in 2008 as they finished third grade!! They have spent, as one of them recently pointed out, "half of their lives with the FCCC." They are Stephen Kelly, Abby Noyes and Natalia Zhiltsova . We will miss them all very much!!  
Name: Hallie Lavin
Age: 17
School: Staples HS
Town: Westport
Favorite FCCC Song: Sing Me To Heaven, Total Praise, Bonny Wood Green
In Your Own Words: I cannot begin to explain the absolute joy that FCCC has brought to me since I joined in 6th grade. Being a part of this choir has helped me become the person I am today, and I could not be more thankful. I have made friends and learned lessons here that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. FCCC's high level of talent has helped me come far in my knowledge and musicianship, and was my inspiration for majoring in music when I go to college. I feel incredibly grateful for the handwork and dedication that Mr. Noyes and the other conductors and accompanists put into FCCC, they make this choir a home and bring out the best in every choir singer. I cannot thank them enough for that. I feel so much love and affection for this incredible group of singers, and I am so proud to be able to have been a part of this wonderful experience. Simply saying "I am going to miss FCCC when I leave" would be a stark understatement. I can only hope that there will be another group of people at my college that can attempt to fill the void that FCCC will leave.

Name: Daphne Saloomey
Age: 17
School: Fairfield Warde HS
Town: Fairfield
Favorite FCCC Song: Freedom Trilogy, Misa Pequeña, Clear Water... I don't think it's possible to pick a favorite!
In Your Own Words: The day I was accepted into FCCC, in the summer before I began 5th grade, was one of the happiest of my life. I had always loved to sing, but never thought I was good enough to be in a choir. Thus, once I joined FCCC, I strove to always work as hard as I could to give my best contributions to the choir. I firmly believe that it is because all FCCC choristers share this same mentality, this desire to "have fun being awesome," that we have so many awe-inspiring musical moments, both in performances and on regular Wednesday night rehearsals. FCCC offers an environment in which we can cultivate our passion for music together to create something that is bigger than each individual chorister. I will forever be grateful that I was able to explore my love of music and become the musician I am today with a group of peers that are so like-minded. 
I extend a special thank you to Ms. Peck and Mrs. Gachi, who always work so hard behind the scenes, to Ms. Beatty, for her phenomenal accompaniment, and, of course, to all of the directors; it was a pleasure to create music with all of you. Thank you Mr. Noyes, for being the first FCCC team member that I met, and for deciding to take a chance on a young girl who just loved to sing. Thank you Miss Z, for joining the conducting team and making it feel like you were always part of the FCCC family. And finally, thank you to Ms. Bettke and Mr. Cotellese for all of your musical guidance, and for always brightening up the end of my Wednesday nights. FCCC will always remain in my heart, and I am so glad to have had the privilege of singing in this group for the past 8 years. 

Name: Anika Vanderwal 
Age: 17
School: Lauralton Hall
Town: Bridgeport 
Favorite FCCC Song: Wanting Memories or Biebl Ave Maria
In Your Own Words: FCCC was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me as a kid. I came from a school with no music program and limited exposure from extracurricular activities. Once I had joined the choir I was introduced to some of the greatest music, and of course, the greatest people. The people I met in choir my first and second years are now some of my best friends. Without FCCC I wouldn't have learned about the most important things that make up my personality, like dedication and hard work. And I definitely wouldn't have ever thought of starting a career in music, so thanks FCCC!  
Name: Stephen Kelly
Age: 17
School: Fairfield Ludlowe HS 
Town: Fairfield
Favorite Song: Biebl Ave Maria, Clear Water
In Your Own Words : Upon joining FCCC in fourth grade at eight years old, I didn't necessarily consider choral performance a passion of mine so much as something I simply enjoyed doing, and felt comfortable with. Considering that I remain here nine years later, still enjoying the experience, I have to say choral performance has rightfully earned the distinction as a passion of mine. FCCC provided a dependable routine as I grew through middle and high school. Even at times when I overlooked the real magnitude of what we were accomplishing as a musically advanced children's choir, the immersion into different music and the process of reading and memorization kept my mind engaged in ways I couldn't have achieved outside of FCCC. Now in my senior year, I find it easier to step back and see the positive impact of the friendships and special experiences I have had access to during my time with this choir, and such an impact is priceless.

Name: Clarice Pennock
Age: 17
School: Lauralton Hall
Town: Bridgeport
Favorite FCCC Song: Children Go Where I Send Thee, Biebl Ave Maria, Total Praise
In Your Own Words: I came into FCCC in seventh grade really unsure of where I fit in - I never thought I would find a place so seemingly custom-made for me. Feeling like I had somewhere I truly belonged was (and is) an incredible feeling. Choir has opened me up to others and even myself; through the songs we've sung and the friends I've made, I learned more about who I was in the company of other people who were as passionate about music as I was. Even in my fourth year in the Chamber Singers, I'm still meeting new people and making new friends in the group, and I'm finding my voice.
One of the most amazing parts of choir for me is that I have another home every Monday and Wednesday, a home where we work extremely hard and we love what we do. This group of talented singers and conductors has given me more than I could have ever anticipated - together we have toured the country, performed in some of the most historic concert halls in the world, and we have made music we are proud of. I know that in going off to college and leaving my high school days behind, I am also leaving something that is impossible to replace. However, I am so excited to be able to take what I've learned by being in this group and put it to good use in a lot of different settings.
My advice to current and future choristers is just to treasure every trip, every concert, and every rehearsal. They get more valuable and more precious as you realize there are only a few left, but the truth is that every single experience contributes to your time in the choir. FCCC is a unique and beautiful group, and words can't possibly describe how much I will miss it.
Name: Abi Varsos
Age: 17
School: Fairfield Warde HS 
Town: Fairfield
Favorite FCCC Song: O Magnum Mysterium, Freedom Trilogy, Total Praise
In Your Own Words: How does one go about describing something they've been a part of for half of their life? I can't remember a time when I wasn't in choir every Monday and Wednesday. 
Looking back on my years as I moved from the bottom row of the risers to the very top, as I grew out of dress after dress, as I sang song after song, I realize t he amount of learning I've done through this group, the amount of experience I've gotten, the amount of maturity I've gained. I was raised by this choir. This choir taught me what it means to work as a unit, to face your fears, to sing out, to have situational awareness, to never forget your red sneakers, and to have fun being awesome. Of course I could say that this is the place where I met my best friends and this group made me the person I am today or that everyone should enjoy it while it lasts because it'll all be over before you know it. That's what the seniors told me back in 2009 and I didn't get it. And of course, all of those things are true, but that's hard to see until you reach the end. Next year, I'll be studying in Boston at Berklee College of Music and I know I could have never of gotten there if not for the lessons I learned, for the opportunities I was given by Mr. Noyes and the entire staff and students of the FCCC. And so I leave you with this: go back and watch the videos from your first concert. Go back and look at your 4th- or 5th-grade self, because you might just be surprised at how much you've grown and how much the FCCC is to thank for that. I know I am!
 Concert Calendar 2017-2018
(CS-Chamber Singers; CC-Concert Choir; CH-Chorale; Ch-Chorus)
April 26
Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration
7:30 PM - First Church Congregational - (CS)
May 13
Spring Concert - Fairfield U.- Quick Center - 7:00 PM
June 21
Chamber Singers Ireland Send-off Concert - Gaelic American Club 7:00 PM
June 23 - July 21
Summer Tour to Ireland (CS)
Dec 3
Winter Concert-Klein Auditorium-3:00 PM

February 3
Broadway Concert-Klein Auditorium-7:00 PM
May 12
Spring Concert - Klein Auditorium 7 PM

Remember the FCCC motto:
    "Have Fun Being Awesome!"
Support the Choir
Donate Now Musical Note
 A contribution to the Fairfield County Children's Choir is an investment in the future! We train outstanding young performers and help them to grow - both as musicians and as responsible, caring young adults. Your support makes it possible for us to bring our world-class choir experience to musically talented children, many of whom receive tuition assistance. Your gift is tax deductible and we gratefully thank you for your generosity.