Central Dakota Children’s Choir (CDCC) is inspiring tomorrow’s voices through the performance of fine choral music.
They work with youth from grades two to twelve with about 350 individuals participating each year.
“We bring kids from all different schools, and we put them together, and it’s not this competitive thing. It’s all just working against themselves to be better every day at rehearsal,” says Tammy Rector, Executive Director at CDCC.
Living through song
CDCC believes that creating a love of singing at a young age can benefit youth for the rest of their lives.
“Music is really important in children’s lives, and anybody’s life. I think that is really forgotten sometimes,” says Amy Miller, Director of Operations at CDCC.
“Singing is one of those things that is a lifetime skill (…). It’s with you all the time, and you can usually find some way to express yourself even if it is just sitting in the car and singing.”
Madelyn, a former CDCC student, agrees. “CDCC has been a huge part of my life. I have grown to love music more because of this amazing program. It has made me realize that singing is not just a hobby; it’s something that I will do for the rest of my life. Thank you to my CDCC directors who have taught me so much about my voice and for giving me the opportunity to be in this wonderful organization.”
A place to fit in
For many of the kids who participate in CDCC, however, the program is more than just a way to sing for expression. It is a tool for self-identification. Many youths believe CDCC is their place to fit in.
“We have a memory book that we put together every year, and there’s got to be about 20 kids every year who say ‘This is the highlight of my week. Coming to CDCC’s rehearsal is what I look forward to. Sometimes it was the only place where I felt like I fit in’,” says Tammy. “Children now, perhaps more than ever, need a place to belong.”
Even parents notice a change in their children.
“We’ll have parents say ‘Oh my gosh. I watched (my child) walk out, and I’ve never seen that look on (their) face before’ or ‘This is what my kid needed. This is where my kid wants to be’,” says Tammy.
Enthusiasm at all levels
Part of the enthusiasm of youth in the program comes from the energy and excitement of the directors.
“(The directors’) excitement creates excitement in the kids. Their passion and their love for music, you can see it, and the kids feel that,” says Amy. “We have a number of kids who say ‘I became a music teacher because of my director at CDCC. Their love of music inspired me to teach music, become a music therapist, or do something with music’.”
“My choir teachers have brought out the best in me and encourage me to always do my best,” says Joseph, a current CDCC student.
Purpose to impact
CDCC, with the help of donations from generous community members, works to change children’s lives through song. “Bottom line, it’s about the kids,” says Tammy, and this mindset is having results.
Each of the following quotes come from former CDCC students.
“During my 10 years of singing with CDCC I grew not only as a musician, but as a person. I developed life skills and relationships that would last far beyond my time with CDCC,” says Taylor H.
“I was a part of CDCC for ten years, and I wish I could still be a part of it. Throughout those years I was able to meet a lot of great people. CDCC gave me opportunities such as working with René Clausen and performing in front of hundreds of people at a time,” says Ariana. “All good things come to an end, so give it your all.”
“I can’t imagine my life without CDCC,” says Taylor.
Stay tuned for another nonprofit story next week, and remember to live with purpose!