Gitchee Gumee Guys!

Article from the Marquette Mining Journal 3/27/2007:

MARQUETTE - Many music lovers believe the pure, angelic sound from the unchanged voices of a boys choir is one of the most moving musical performances a person can experience.

Marquette County residents have the opportunity experience for themselves just such a performance with the formation last fall of the Boys Choir of Marquette County - the first choir of its kind in the Upper Peninsula.

The chorus consists of 15 boys ranging from 7 to 12 years old.

"This is a very talented group of boys," Green said. "We have a wide range of group and solo singing that will display the beauty of the unchanged male voice."

"A boy's voice is unique, it's probably my favorite sound of any of the singing voices," choir director Sharon Green said. "This will be an opportunity for talented boys to get together and make music, have performance opportunities, and share their talent while also preparing them for a future in music by teaching them about music fundamentals and music history."

Green, who retired from the Marquette school system after teaching music for 31 years, has spent the past four years at Northern Michigan University instructing teachers in the art of teaching music.

"After retiring, I really hated to lose touch with the kids," Green said. "This is an aspect of U.P. life we haven't had available for kids so far, and it's a chance for talented boys to work together and create a beautiful thing together."

The proposal for the choir arose in fall 2005 as members of the choir committee - which includes vocal instructor Tony Beacco; vocal instructor Shiela Grazulis; director of the Ishpeming, Negaunee, NICE Community Education Division Bill Hartman; and Bob Marietti - discussed ways to include younger boys with a love for singing in local music groups.

"It's a little harder to get older boys interested in music programs. There's a lot of talented young people who would do well, but we need to get them involved early on," Marietti said. "This is one of the doorways to the future."

The choir will initially perform at functions around the county, Green said, with a long-range goal of performing at different venues around the country and internationally. The choir made its debut last November at a concert in Peterson Auditorium in Ishpeming.

"It's all about the children feeling good about themselves. We want these kids to feel like they're special" Green said. "They deserve the opportunity to participate in this wonderful activity."

Donations to support choir activities can be mailed to: the Boys Choir, INN Community Schools, 101 Pioneer Ave., Negaunee, MI 49866.

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