OHCAH debuts youth choir in new partnership with West Carter High School

Choir students practice in OHCAH’s music studio prior to performing publicly.

On Friday, Feb. 9, the new OHCAH/WCHS Student Choir held their debut performance during the annual Valentines on the Hill event at the Olive Hill Center for Arts & Heritage. OHCAH is located in the historic Olive Hill High School.

Ten students present from the choir performed “Aura Lee” and “Scarborough Fair.” These students began choral lessons in January following a partnership between OHCAH and WCHS. Dr. Norm Brunelle conducts the choir with accompaniment and assistance from Dr. Debra Harman. Both people are members of OHCAH’s board of directors and are active volunteers. In fact, they are completely volunteering the time to visit the school to provide this opportunity.

Since the beginning, students have met every Tuesday and Friday morning to undertake this pursuit. WCHS’ choir program has been absent for several years following the departure of the teacher who formerly “sponsored” the program and the program was never picked up by another WCHS staff member.

“It is a profound privilege to work with these precious young ladies,” said Brunelle.

Harman says, “The arts and art education are an essential part of human development. And we believe it’s especially important for young people.” She adds, “we know that it provides an avenue for development of creativity, making connections, developing self-confidence, problem solving, and a sense of being a part of a team and something bigger than yourself.”

“They were very impressive last night. Beautiful voices being discovered through this much needed program. They definitely set the stage for the evening,” said Rhonda Campbell, grandmother of an OHCAH violin student. “Enjoyed all the local talent. So refreshing.”

Valentines on the Hill featured more than 30 persons bringing local talent to the stage, all performing or singing “love” related songs and skits. More than 100 people attended and enjoyed a meal catered by Giovanni’s of Olive Hill.

The addition of a youth choral program comes on the heels of OHCAH expanding its programming to better serve our community. Over the last year, additional arts workshops, classes, and events have served over 1,200 people across our region.

OHCAH is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and relies on the support of its patrons, donors, sponsors, and partners to continue providing affordable, and equitable access to quality arts programming and cultural heritage experiences.

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