The Rockwall Childrens Chorus is excited to be celebrating its10th anniversary this year. RCC was formed in 2000 by Shelba Gorham-Bell. She felt there needed to be a community effort to increase the choral standards in Rockwall.
“The chorus was my baby,” she said. “I felt very passionate about the kids and the way we represented ourselves in the community.” Under Ms. Gorham-Bells leadership the children had unique opportunities to sing with the Lakeside Civic Chorus, as a part of the Hubbard Chamber Music Series, with the Texas A & M Commerce Choir and to participate in MusicFest. They also sang at the Rockwall Tree Lighting ceremony, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Walk and the CASA concert. In addition, the Rockwall Childrens Chorus competed in the Directors Choice Competition, the Alamo Showcase of Music, and the Lone Star Showcase of Music, garnering accolades at each event. When Ms. Gorham-Bell resigned as director in 2004, there were several years of transition during which Shannon Barnes, Jayne McFadin and Pat Moore helmed the choir. Dedicated parents like Margaret Kochan and Palmer Ragsdale held the choir together during that time.
In 2006, RCC was honored by the City of Rockwall for artistic excellence, ambassadorship and community service. Mayor Bill Cecil declared April 17 Rockwall Childrens Chorus Day.
In 2007 Dr. Alan Clark, Music Director of First United Methodist Church of Rockwall, took over leadership of the group. Dr. Clark comments, “Children have an innate ability to make music. Its in their hearts; its in their very bodies. We offer the opportunity to develop those abilities and match that with a love of performing in an ensemble. These children are smart, energetic and eager to learn. Its a joy to work with them.” The choir currently averages 40 children in grades 2-9 and holds open auditions for new members in the spring and fall.
Christmas Performance at Northpark Mall ~ Christmas Concert
Rockwall Children’s Chorus has served the community by brightening the lives of senior citizens in Summer Ridge Retirement Center in Rockwall and the Beacon Rehabilitation Center in Rowlett. They sing at the Friends of the Library Pumpkin Patch annually and sang at the library’s grand opening. In addition, they have performed at the Northpark Mall “Sights and Sounds” Choir Festival for the past two years. Serenading the crowd at Christmas on the Square is another occasion the choir enjoys. The group has also held public concerts at First United Methodist Churches of Rockwall and Heath, First Presbyterian Church of Rockwall, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Wylie, and First Christian Church of Rockwall. Their Christmas concert at Castle Douglas is always a favorite, this year including a vocal solo by Lucy Ragsdale with original music composed by Alan Clark and a stirring violin solo by Emily Davis. Lakeside Civic Chorus invited them to be a part of their holiday concert in 2008, as did the Mesquite Symphony in 2009.
Since RCC is a non-profit organization, the group sells Singing Valentines each year during the month of February as a fundraiser. They also receive an Open Door Grant from the Rockwall County Alliance for the Arts. To show their gratitude for the support of RCAA, the choir has performed at several Alliance galas. Current RCC President Karen Slater says, “Singing for the people of Rockwall makes the children aware of ways that they can serve others by expressing themselves through their musical gifts. Making a tax-deductible donation to RCC is an investment in the children of our community.”
To celebrate a decade of performance, the choir is going to challenge itself to perform the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2010. They anticipate having a small musical tour in 2011 and are planning to travel to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall in 2012.