What is the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County? Founded in the fall of 1990, the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County (CCSC) is a community chorus that provides an opportunity for children living in northwest New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania to join together in the choral art. Our first choir boasted 40 young voices. We now work with children and young adults in four distinct choir levels.
Who will be teaching my child to sing as part of the Children’s Chorus? Deborah Mello is our Founding Director. She conducts both the introductory Bella Voce choir and premiere Concert Choir. Christopher Henke directs our Young Men’s Ensemble and Diana Greene works with our Musikgarten children. Debbie, Chris and Diana are experienced music educators with a special gift and passion for working with this age group and training young voices. Click here to learn more about our Artistic Leadership.
How does one join CCSC? Children are accepted into CCSC’s ensembles by audition. Mrs. Mello and Mr. Henke create a relaxed atmosphere and utilize a variety of age-appropriate musical exercises to determine a child’s readiness. Acceptance is based on experience and talent. Concert Choir and Bella Voce are limited to children with unchanged voices, from 2nd grade through high school. Participation in Musikgarten does not require an audition, but space is limited. We are looking for children in kindergarten and 1st grade for this class. Sometimes, a young child may have limited experience using his/her voice or may not yet be able to hear changes in pitch. In this case, the parent may be given some suggestions to help the child become more comfortable with his/her voice and the child would be encouraged to audition again in the future. Appointments for auditions are scheduled throughout the year. Please click here to contact us about auditioning.
Do the children need to read music to participate in the CCSC? No, that is part of what we teach them in the Children’s Chorus.
We’ve got a busy schedule; what is the time commitment for participating? It’s important to carefully consider your schedule before making the commitment to participate in the Children’s Chorus. Attendance at rehearsals is mandatory; we cannot grow as an ensemble with choristers missing. All three choirs rehearse from September through June with time off around the holidays and for spring break. Bella Voce practices on Wednesdays from 4:30 until 6:00 pm. The Young Men’s Ensemble rehearses on Sunday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30. The Concert Choir requires the greatest commitment and rehearses from 7:00 until 8:30 pm on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Those students who choose to participate in the summer tour attend some rehearsals in the early summer, as well. Musikgarten meets only once a week, on Wednesday afternoons for 50 minutes. Although members of the Concert Choir and the Young Men’s Ensemble are expected to some spend some time each week outside of rehearsal learning their music, that is not expected of the younger choir.
How much does it cost to participate?Annual tuition is under $500. There is a discount for additional children from the same family. A $100 deposit is due upon the child’s acceptance into CCSC. The remaining balance is paid in September. Payment plans can be arranged if there is a need.
In addition, a uniform is required for concerts and new uniforms range from $50-85. Each year, parents are offered the opportunity to buy and sell used uniforms, in an effort to minimize the expense. The only other expenses are tickets for friends and family members to attend our concerts ($12/person for our bi-annual events). Free babysitting is provided at our own concerts for the young children of those attending the concert. Musikgarten students pay tuition and a fee for materials, which are theirs to keep at the end of the year.
CCSC members must purchase folders for their music from the organization. We also have tee shirts, polo shirts and hoodies available in child and adult sizes.
Completely optional expenses include participation in the trips and tours.
Is my child going to have to sell things, i.e. participate in fundraisers?No. The fundraising opportunities that we make available are voluntary and are available to help defray the costs of trips and tours. Individual fundraising accounts are set up. For each fundraiser, a percentage of the total sales is credited to the seller’s fundraising account. Proceeds from these accounts can be used to offset the cost of uniforms and trips, however, in accordance with IRS rules, the balance becomes the property of CCSC should your child decide to leave the organization. Optional fundraisers include a fall mum sale, a concert program ad sale, a poinsettia sale in December, a spring flower sale, as well as other opportunities as they become available.
Once my child is involved in the Children’s Chorus, how will I keep informed of Chorus happenings? At the start of each year a parent orientation is held and the schedule for the year is shared. A comprehensive calendar with rehearsals, concerts, and fundraising deadlines is provided. “Choir Notes” and emails are distributed periodically throughout the year with reminders of upcoming events. Additionally, a bulletin board in the rehearsal space is used to post information. Our website (www.ccscsings.org) will help parents keep updated on activities of the Children’s Chorus as well as our Facebook page.
Are there opportunities for parental involvement? Parents are encouraged to participate in the success of the Children’s Chorus and we would love to make use of your many talents! Parent volunteers are needed to assist with fundraisers, set up and clean up receptions for the concerts, and help publicize concerts. Parents are invited to our monthly Board Meetings to share ideas and suggestions.
I’ll have to drive a distance to get my child here each week. What can I do during rehearsal time? Some parents use rehearsal time as an opportunity to take care of their errands. Other parents choose to wait in Holley Hall, the large room next to our rehearsal space. Younger siblings are welcome to bring quiet toys and books and are always free to play on the church playground under your supervision. Choristers come from all around Sussex County as well as Warren, Passaic, and Morris Counties in NJ and Pike and Monroe Counties in Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in carpooling, let us know and we’ll introduce you to anyone coming from your direction. Where and when do the children perform? There are at least two scheduled concerts each year in which all three choirs participate. The first annual concert is in mid-December and our spring concert is held in June. In addition, the choristers have performed with a symphony orchestra in a November/December concert to benefit the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice or other similar opportunities to benefit our community. It is our hope that everyone will want to be together for these community concerts. Lastly, opportunities often arise for small, less formal performances that may involve just one or two of our choirs. These concerts often involve a chance for community service. For instance, the younger choir often sings at the Hospice’s Butterfly Release ceremony and in a senior living facility. The Concert Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble enjoy performing at a variety of events throughout the area.