In May, the Platteville Children’s Choir will celebrate its 25th anniversary on two occasions.
The 2013–14 season will end with a concert in the Platteville High School auditorium May 4, with celebration activities planned for the occasion.
The celebration for Platteville Children’s Choir alumni will be in the UW–Platteville Center for the Arts Brodbeck Concert Hall on May 24. All who have participated or supported the Platteville Children’s Choir through the years are invited to attend this event. A program and concert will highlight the celebration at 3 p.m. Alumni will gather at 1:00 p.m. to rehearse and socialize. An alumni choir will sing at the concert.
The long history of the Platteville Children’s Choir started with the Platteville Chorale adult choir. In the fall of 1989 the vision of Sarah and Gerald Darrow became reality with the initiation of the Platteville Children’s Choir. It included fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from southwest Wisconsin. Judy Thorpe was the director for the first four years and Kristi Hart was the accompanist. Vicki Brookens was the director for the next four years and Terri Ellis was the accompanist.
Beginning in 1977 Christina Shields was the director and administrator for three years. She brought a broader vision for the program and began many changes that still characterize the current program. As a result, in 1998 the program was expanded to three choirs including grades two through eight. Luanne Rogers and Marcia Russell were hired as directors and are largely responsible for the success of program through these years.
Later, Music Education students from UW–Platteville became involved as student interns. The school tour was also begun during this time. It involves a whole day with four or five one-half hour concerts in area elementary schools each spring. In 2007 a Training Choir, designed for first- and second-graders and later called the Music Explorers, was added, with Jill Hasker as director.
Dwight Klaassen, who became president of the Platteville Chorale, Inc. in 1994, assumed the administrative responsibilities upon the departure of Shields in 2000. The program has been blessed with a talented and dedicated staff of directors and accompanists who served for an extended period of time, including directors Heidi Johnson, Rogers and Russell, with accompanists Bev Mattingly, Ellis and Kathy Wagner.
Since 2000, about 120 to 140 children have participated each year from 15 to 20 communities in southwest Wisconsin. In the 2013–14 season, Dr. Trey Davis and Rochelle Edge replaced Johnson and Hasker.
The mission of the program emphasizes education more than entertainment with the motto “Developing the Whole Child through the Choral Music Process.” Since singing is something persons can do for their whole lives, the Platteville Children’s Choir is committed to enhancing the lives of people for life. More than 930 children have participated in its program since 1989, many for only for a year or two, many for four or five years, and 65 for six or seven years. The possibility for more than three years became available only after 1998, and 125 children are currently in the program.
For registration, or more information about the May 24 event. alumni should email firstname.lastname@example.org.