For decades now, Triangle girls have grown up honing their singing abilities and developing a love of music through the Capital City Girls Choir.
The vocal and music training program for girls in Raleigh and across the Triangle is part of the community outreach program of the School of Music at Meredith College. Auditions are coming up for girls ages 9 to 18 on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.
I checked in with Nancy Fredette, a mom of a current and former choir member and vice president of the program’s Chorale, to learn more about the program and the upcoming auditions. Here’s our email conversation:
Nancy Fredette: The Capital City Girls Choir was founded by Dr. Fran M. Page in 1987 as a community outreach program of Meredith College. The Capital City Girls Choir is one of the nation’s premier choral music education programs for young people. Weekly training encompasses musicianship, theory, and group vocal instruction and practice. The choirs give concerts at Meredith and throughout the local community, and have been invited to sing at prestigious choral festivals regionally, nationally and internationally.
GAM: How did you get involved in the choir? Did you sing yourself when you were younger?
NF: My daughter, Jennifer, heard about the CCGC from a friend when she was a sophomore in high school. She auditioned for CCGC in December 2006. She sang with them until she graduated from high school in 2009. We wish we knew about it sooner because she loved singing, but her middle school didn’t have any opportunities. My youngest daughter, Rachel, started when she was 9 in 2009, and is still singing with them now. I’ve always enjoyed singing, but didn’t sing with any organized groups when I was younger.
GAM: What has the experience been like for your own daughters? What have they gained from it, in addition to a music education?
NF: Both of my daughters have loved being a part of CCGC. Dr. Page and Amy Davis do such a great job with the girls – they are outstanding mentors. The girls have made a lot of friends and have learned a lot about singing. They’ve also had so many wonderful opportunities with this group. In addition to their regular concerts, Jen sang with the North Carolina Symphony and traveled to France with the choir. Rachel has sung with the N.C. Symphony three times and was in the children’s choir with the N.C. Opera for their performance of La Bohème in 2014.
GAM: Auditions are coming up. What requirements are there for girls who might be interested in auditioning?
NF: The Capital City Girls Choir is looking for girls who love to sing. It is helpful if they can carry a tune. Our beginning choir is a learning choir and the girls will learn to read music as well as other aspects of musicianship. They can audition with a simple song such as “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” Prior singing experience is great, but it’s absolutely not required. The choirs practice on Mondays, so they need to be available for rehearsals.
GAM: Tell us a bit about the program’s different choirs. What does the program require of girls? How often do the choirs perform?
NF: We have three groups: Chorus, Chorale and Cantabile.
The Girls Chorus is a training choir for beginning singers aged approximately 9 -12. No travel outside the Raleigh area is required for performances. After a successful audition, a girl is invited to join CCGC and generally becomes a member of the Girls’ Chorus, the CCGC training choir. As a member of Chorus, girls are expected to master rhythm and Solfege syllables, basic music theory, and the skills of an experienced choir member. Young girls may spend a couple years in Chorus. When the director feels that a child has mastered these skills, she will be invited to join the Chorale.
The Girls Chorale is our intermediate choir. Singers in this group range from fifth or sixth grade through early high school. Participation may require travel out of state every other year. When the director feels that she is ready, a girl will be invited to join Chorale. At this time, she is expected to understand elementary music theory and to have a basic mastery of rhythm and Solfege syllables. In addition, she must demonstrate good vocal technique as well as initiative and self-discipline.
The Cantabile Singers is the advanced choir, made up of young ladies in upper middle school and high school. Membership in this choir requires a high level of musicianship, maturity, and commitment. The audition includes performance of a solo, as well as demonstration of rhythm and other musicianship skills, including sight-singing. Participation requires more frequent performances and travel out of state or out of the country every other year.
GAM: What do you love about being involved in the Capital City Girls Choir?
NF: I asked my daughter, Rachel, this question and she said that she has made so many good friends through CCGC. She has enjoyed performing with the choir at concerts, festivals and the extra performances that they have been able to do. I have loved seeing my daughters grow musically as well as socially. The experience of being part of this group has been far reaching. Jennifer traveled to France in 2009 with the choir and it was such a wonderful experience.
Capital City Girls Choir’s website and Facebook page have more information about the program and the upcoming auditions. Watch this YouTube video to hear a combined group of Chorale and Cantible singers perform.