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Monday, January 24, 2011

Fairfield Youth Play Key Roles in Upcoming Choir Performance

Fairfield Youth Play Key Roles in Upcoming Choir Performance:
Fairfield County Children’s Choir set for Feb. 5 revue
(Posted to 1/23)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – The dedication and energy of a handful of Fairfield-based young people has been a plus behind the activities of the Fairfield County Children’s Choir, which is set to kick off 2011 with its annual Broadway revue.

The annual event, its Broadway Concert and Auction, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport. The performance will feature medleys from the Broadway musicals Wicked, Crazy for You, Annie and Barnum, be accompanied by the FCCC Orchestra and offer solos from soprano Stephanie Gregory as well as many of the choir’s own stars. The choir is a community-based choral program made up of over 250 children in grades 4 through 12 from communities in Fairfield County and beyond.

“I’ve had nine amazing years in the choir, including seven years in the Chamber Singers, which is one of four divisions – the most advanced – of the choir,” said Rachel Philips, 18, a senior at Fairfield Warde High School. She explained that the other divisions of the choir include the Chorus, the Chorale and the Concert Choir. Each performs both individually as well as part of the whole.

“The first rehearsal the first year I was doing this was a little overwhelming,” recalled Philips. “I walked into a room with 250 other kids and asked myself ‘What am I doing here?’ But by the second month, it became so second nature. The first public performance I had was a winter show. You’re always both excited and a little nervous about the unexpected. Now, nine years later, it doesn’t faze me at all.”

Philips is the newly-elected president of the Chamber Singers, a promotion about which she is excited. “It comes with a lot of responsibility and has taught me a lot about leadership. Choir is such a place wherein you can make friends and be with people who like to do what you do. It also provides such a strong foundation for basic musical concepts. Our choir director Jon Noyes likes to say ‘Have fun being awesome’ which we take very seriously.”

Fellow choir member Alyson Leppla, 17, and Philips have shared a similar path. Like Philips, Leppla started with the choir nine years ago, is part of the Chamber Singers and is also a student at Warde. “Rachel and I were friends in elementary school (North Stratfield) and joined the choir together. We’ve really grown up together. It’s nice to see someone else stick with it like I have for so long. It’s been very exciting – the people we’ve gotten to work with, the trips. I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere. And even though there are a ton of singers, you really get to know everyone, particularly in your specific group.”

Leppla wasn’t sure if she would make singing a career, but expected to pursue it at an extracurricular level through college.

The newly-elected vice president of the Chamber Singers, Max Rein, 17, a student at Fairfield College Preparatory School, weighed in with his unique perspective as a male in the choir. “I’ve been in the choir for nine years, which is unusual for a guy given voice changes. In fact, I’m only one of maybe four males in the choir to have continued in the program so long. My older sister had been in the choir for many years before me and encouraged me to join. For about two years, we were actually in the program together, which was a unique experience given our four-year age difference.”

Rein recalled the highlight of his choir career. “The most exciting moment for me to date was performing at Carnegie Hall. I was a freshman, and to be in a world renown concert hall where so many incredible singers have performed was such a privilege.”

The Concert event includes a silent auction that opens at 5:30 p.m. and will feature a wide range of items including tickets to the Westport Country Playhouse, spa/beauty treatments, gift certificates to local restaurants, Pinkalicious books signed by best-selling author Victoria Kann, and a Lillian August gift basket.

Tickets to the FCCC 2011 Broadway Revue are $15 and $20 and will be sold the day of the performance. For more information, contact

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