For the past four years, the Lehigh Children's Choir has been performing at events in Lee County. But not a lot of people know of the talented group, because of the lack of publicity. But the group is a fantastic bunch of kids who love music and are as good as any group you may have ever heard.
That's the words from Candace Sundby who oversees the singing group. She is located at 1100 Homestead Rd., next to Bowers Accounting.
Sundby said that now that summer is fast coming to an end, it's time to get the word out that the Lehigh Childrens Choir is looking for more singers.
PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN
These are some of the students who were members of last year’s Childrens Choir in Lehigh. They performed by singing the National Anthem at a Miracle baseball game last year.
There were 24 children last year and 20 of them are likely to be active again this year, Sundby said.
"We have a great time here practicing and rehearsing for shows and because many of the schools have stopped offering music programs, this is a great way for our youngsters to be involved in a musical environment," she said.
Families and their children who are interested can call 239-368-2488 to make an appointment for a rehearsal.
Helping her from time to time is her husband, Dave, who says he believes that when music programs are cut from school curriculums, FCAT scores are lowered.
"You can see it happening. Music and the arts are a very important part of a child's education and in our schools, we need to bring it back," he said.
Sundby said it is her hope that this year, more students will apply to be a part of the Childrens Choir.
"If we have a much larger group, we can tour out of the county to several events. Our children are good and they are very entertaining. We want to show off their talents," she said.
The group in the past has performed at such places at the Faith Lutheran Church this past March, the Edison House during the Christmas holidays and the Burroughs' Home. Sundby said the children sang for the Miracle last August one evening.
She says that if a child has a desire to sing, parents should encourage them to become involved. We have an "easy audition" here and all we ask is for the children to sing a little. If they really want to be singers, we will coach them," she said. "It can be a lot of fun."
She said her son, Julian, 28, really helped to form the choir a few years ago. He is a musician and he performs regularly at the Veranda and in Naples and other areas. He is also the choral director at the
Buckingham Church and he plays every type of instrument.
"He loves music and is very talented and he wanted to give an opportunity for children in Lehigh to show their talents," she said.
Both Candace Sundby and her husband, Dave, are also teachers at Edison College. She teaches choir and voice and Dave is involved in accounting instruction. He also associated with Bob Bowers, the accountant next door, who is well-known throughout Lehigh for his support of the community.
"Rehearsals will be on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. here at the studio at 1100 Homestead Rd. Our first real practice together will be on Aug. 28. We would like for children of all ages to give us a call to apply for a rehearsal," she said. The cost for children who become part of the choir is $50 per semester. Also helping to pay for T-shirts, supplies and other costs to support the chorus are sponsors. It is a non-profit organization.
Among them are Lehigh Regional Medical Center, Robert Bowers, Accountants; Dr. Jeri Lee Lomas, the Lee Kidney Center in Lehigh, Go Mobile Signs, and The Vibe Recording Studio on Treeline Ave., just outside Lehigh.
"All we need are the children's desire to sing. We can coach and help them to become good singers. We will teach them to read music and if they become interested in learning to play an instrument, they can get into that program, too, Sundby said.
She attended the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester where she received dual degrees. She also got her master's degree in performance and opera and she was a Fulbright Scholar for nine years in Germany.
Marian Wegge is the accompanist on the piano for the Childrens Choir.