Brown Memorial is pleased to welcome the Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School Choir to our Sunday worship service, May 1. The children will sing under the direction of Brown Memorial member Chrystie Adams, and Brown’s music director, Michael Britt. Afterward, we will host the students and their families for lunch in the Assembly Room.
The EMES Choir is an afterschool enrichment program run entirely by Brown volunteers. The choir started in 2012 with seven students. This year, more than 30 students from grades 1-5 are participating.
“It’s certainly grown and developed into something quite special,” says Michael Britt, adding, “To me, it’s not so much about the music but the relationships we have with this community.”
Choir practice takes place every Wednesday afternoon at Eutaw-Marshburn and many students stick around for snack time and homework help, also provided by Brown volunteers.
Chrystie Adams says she teaches the basics of singing in a choir, such as posture, volume, tempo and watching the director. The choir has performed during school assemblies and plays, at Memorial Apartments and during Brown Memorial worship services. In April they sang at their largest event yet – the Youth Forward Black Tie Gala at the Baltimore Hilton, hosted by the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation.
“I think they are proud of the way they sound,” says Chrystie, a retired school music teacher of 37 years.
During rehearsal a few days before the Gala, the students practiced the songs they were to sing – “We are the World,” “Prayer for Peace” and Eutaw-Marshburn’s school song. Chrystie reminded everybody to use their “best manners” and look at the “magic dot” on her head during the performance, not the audience.
Afterwards, first grader Dy’niah admitted she was nervous. “I never performed in front of a hotel,” she said.
Asked what she likes about the choir, Zara, a 4th grader, said “How to crack out of your shell more and how to get into singing position.”
First grader Kyara said, “I love singing. I wish I was on a real stage by myself.” When Kyara’s mom, Lacresha Morris, picked her up, she said she was happy that Kyara was learning to read music as a choir member, and also learning to be more patient.
Denise Reid’s daughter Jaazaniah has participated in the choir since its inception. Denise credits the program for helping build Jaazaniah’s confidence and creativity. The 4th grader not only loves to sing, but also to draw, write and read.
“They are just absolutely phenomenal and truly a blessing from God,” Reid says of the choir volunteers. “With their gentleness, they just pulled the essence out of [Jaazaniah].”
This July, Brown Memorial and its music ministry will host the first Eutaw-Marshburn Choir Camp. This four-day event (July 11 – 14) will include daily choral rehearsals, introduction to ringing handbells and choir chimes and other musical activities.
The highlight of the week will be a dinner for the choir members and their families followed by a concert in our Sanctuary presented by the EMES Choir, which will take place on Thursday evening, July 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Photo courtesy of the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation.