For 17 years, the World Children's Choir has been exploring different cultures through song. In celebration of this anniversary, the choir presents a concert Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at NOVA, 3001 North Beauregard St., Alexandria. Singers Jamie Melvin and Morgan Middleton, both of Springfield, recently answered some questions about themselves and the upcoming performance.
JM: I am Jamie Melvin. I am in third grade at Westminster School. I am almost 9-years-old. I like singing, going to Hidden Pond Nature Center and swimming with Wahoo teammates.
MM: I am Morgan Middleton. I am an eighth grader at Irving Middle School. I love to sing, read, watch musicals, and hang out with my friends.
When did you join World Children's Choir?
JM: I joined the World Children's Choir (WCC) in 2003 when I was 5-years-old. This is my fourth year in the choir. My mother discovered that I had a lot of joy in singing and dancing, and found a choir for me.
MM: I've been singing since I was a toddler — songs from TV, movies, radio, CD's — whatever I heard. I joined WCC in 2001 when I was 8-years-old. My mother enrolled me in the choir to help satisfy my love for music and singing, and to give me something productive to do with my spare time instead of watching hours of TV.
Biggest musical influences.
JM: My biggest musical influences are Julie Andrews and Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. I also like Broadway musicals.
MM: My biggest musical influences are Marian Anderson, Grace Bumbry, Celine Dion, Denyce Graves, Josh Groban and Leontyne Price. I also like to listen to Aretha Franklin, Reba McEntire and Whitney Houston.
JM: Other influences in my life are my parents, teachers, and friends, and animals and nature.
MM: Other influences in my life are God and my family. I also think Oprah Winfrey is cool.
Where has the choir toured?
JM: The choir has performed in many different venues, all for good causes. I performed in West Virginia for families of 911 victims, as well as many places in D.C. [Department of Justice, Embassy of Venezuela, Union Station, National Building Museum, etc.], and Virginia [Wolf Trap, Reston Multi-Cultural Festival, Tysons Corner mall, etc.]
MM: Since I have been in WCC, it has toured in Ireland and Romania and has performed for many events locally in Virginia and Washington, D.C. I have sung in WCC performances at the United Nations and Ground Zero in New York, and as part of a small ensemble at an international McDonald's World Children's Day conference in Las Vegas.
As a choir, what is the WCC's specialty?
JM: We sing many beautiful songs form all over the world in many different languages. I have good friends in the choir.
MM: WCC's specialty is its impressive sound. Many people who have heard us are amazed that such quality can come from children. Singers are trained in the bel canto style to have solo quality voices. Our mission is unique and important: to promote peace and unity through music in order to make the world a better place, especially for children. We learn about and learn to value other cultures.
Anything special about the upcoming concert?
JM: This will be our first time paying the African drums in concert. I enjoy practicing the drum with Mr. Kofi Dennis.
MM: This will be the first time for us to give a concert in a large concert hall. I think it will be a great place to showcase our singing. Also for the first time, the WCC will be performing West African drumming and dancing in addition to singing.
JM: First, I want to become a volunteer at Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield. Then I want to work as a zoologist or naturalist. Of course, I want to keep singing, too. Studying singing at Julliard School like WCC directors, Ms. Harnes and Mr. Selway, did appeals to me, too.
MM: I would like to become a professional opera singer.
— Lea Mae Rice