Children’s chorus holds open auditions

Published 10:04 pm Monday, August 8, 2011

From left, sisters Abigail, Mary and Sarah Francis try out for the Suffolk Children's Chorus on Saturday at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Entering its second year, the children’s chorus is holding additional auditions Aug. 20 and Sept. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Suffolk Center.

When Julie and Chris Francis moved to Suffolk in June, they wanted to find a group where three of their daughters could express their love for the arts.

Music is a staple in their home because Julie has studied music since she was 7 and has shared it with the couple’s six children.

“They’ve been around music their entire lives,” Chris Francis said. “If mom’s singing, they just sing with her.”

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So, after their move, Julie started looking for children’s singing groups and found the Suffolk Children’s Chorus.

On Saturday, Sarah, Abigail and Mary Francis attended open auditions at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts for the chorus, held by the group’s director, Breena Ray.

Ray said she is excited to have the girls join the chorus to continue the growth of the group in its second year.

Last year, the group had 11 members and held two performances. The children’s chorus is open to boys and girls in fourth grade and higher.

Also, Ray is also auditioning 6- to 8-year-olds for a training choir that will be new this year.

Ray said children do not need singing experience to audition for the children’s chorus.

“I’ll teach them everything they need to know,” she said.

In the chorus, the children will learn breath management, stage posture, harmony, intonation and music theory.

Ray said the group sings all different types of music, including folk and classical. They will add spirituals to their performances this year.

“We’re trying to bring in more of the local community,” she said.

Ray said the main goal for the chorus is to teach children about music and singing while serving the needs of the community.

She said she wants to set up more performances for the community this year. She also wants to have the group perform for special events.

“We’re growing,” she said. “We just need to get the word out.”

Additional auditions will be held Aug. 20 and Sept. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., but Ray said she is available to hear auditions at other times by appointment.

For more information, contact the center at 923-0003 or email Ray at