LAKE WYLIE — Angie Sulls might like to teach the world to sing, but for now she’ll settle for several hundred eager children.
Sulls, a National Board Certified music teacher at Crowders Creek Elementary School, is auditioning children for a new program called Clover Choristers. The group will feature children ages 5 to 11. Sulls plans to model the Choristers after groups like Charlotte Children’s Choir.
Several round of auditions in, Sulls is looking at the possibility of reaching capacity for the four choirs and starting a waiting list.
“I am thrilled with the energetic response of the community,” Sulls said, “but also realize this kind of program is not about big choirs, but about a few children who want to take choral performance to the next level.”
KinderChoristers begins at age 5 and doesn’t require an audition. First Voices follows, then Apprentice Chorale and Concert Choir. Tuition ranges from $300 to $475 per year. Rehearsals will be held weekly in local churches.
Choristers will perform in four annual concerts – a September open house, holiday event in December, spring musical in March and end-of-year finale in May.
An experienced pianist and vocal coach, Sulls hopes to increase music literacy and, assuming many of her students attend local public schools, springboard students into already successful singing programs at the middle and high school levels.
“It’s connecting,” said Bridget Prikker, whose son Claas studied under Sulls at Crowders Creek. “If you want to sing, you have to do it like riding a bike.”
Claas, 11, was one of four Crowders Creek students named this spring to the South Carolina Elementary Honor Choir. He’ll be too old for Choristers when it begins this fall, but sister Dorit, 8, recently tried out.
Spencer Addison, 8, also auditioned. Mom Cheri teaches drama at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill. Dad Rob does the same at Clover High School. Cheri Addison worked previously with Sulls, and this summer holds her own drama camp July 8-19, with a full performance of “Seussical the Musical” July 20.
“It’s a great creative community,” Cheri Addison said. “(Sulls) is so great with the kids. She works with the kids and teaches the kids. She makes it fun and gives them a joy for singing.”
Even saying she’s from Clover in musical circles, with its district auditorium and multi-award-winning Choraliers at the high school, brings a certain level of credibility to what Sulls wants to do, she said. Teaching young children to sight read and understand music is important at her school, but Choristers opens those doors to children regardless of school or district.
“I have to do it because the kids can do it,” she said.
Audition appointments may be made on the Chorister Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students do not have to have musical training to audition.
“An audition can be a positive and fun experience,” Sulls said. “I do my best to make the audition exciting and encouraging for every student, as it’s important for young children to develop confidence for the many auditions in their futures.”