There’s a new choir at the CCBN, the recently formed Children’s Choir of Batahola. The choir will be directed by Juan Guido, who also directs the CCBN’s nationally- and internationally-recognized Ángel Torrellas Choir.
In his time as choral director, Juan has realized that the youth choir, most of whose members are in their late teens and early twenties, was not the ideal space for its youngest members’ musical development. He notes, “Generally, people have the idea that musical work with children is the same as musical work with adults, which is a serious mistake, because with children one needs to do more formative work. We have to use other techniques and different methodologies than those used in the youth choir.” So, Juan proposed the formation of a children’s choir in order to offer aspiring choristers ages 8 to 13 a musical space better suited to their needs.
One way the choir will help children develop as singers is by teaching them to sing in their natural high register. According to Juan, “Children are used to singing and speaking in a much lower register than is advisable for the health of their vocal cords. It is important to show them that their voices shine more brightly and that songs flow better when they use their natural range.”
Juan also expects that the Children’s Choir will help its members in their personal development. “If we begin to work with the children now they will likely be with us for ten or more years, during which they can grow as human beings of good character and become the bearers of change in our community,” he says.
While the Children’s Choir was only launched in early March, it already has 19 members, including children from the CCBN’s music classes and the youngest members of the youth choir. Juan hopes that the choir will grow to 25 members in the coming months. He also hopes that the Children’s Choir of Batahola will help set that standard for children’s choirs in Nicaragua. “The children’s choir will set us apart at the national level since our country does not have many quality children’s choirs,” he says.“It has the potential to open the door for new projects and bolster the image of the Cultural Center, being one of the first centers to use a musical methodology appropriate for a children’s choir.”
After only a month, the choir members themselves talk about the impact of the new choir in their lives. They are eager to share about the songs they are learning, one about the dangers of junk food, “because it is bad for your body.” Magdalena Lopez says that she has learned “how to sing in tune,” and Katherine Zamora states that she has learned how to sing in public and not be so nervous. Their favorite part of the experience? The concerts!
~ Sam Estes