The Honor Choir Returns from the Boston Enrichment Experience

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    June 22, 2017
    The Honor Choir, Bastrop County’s thirty-six member young people’s chorus dedicated to their role as community ambassadors for the Children’s Advocacy Center, returned June 13th from a jam-packed visit to Boston and New York. The Choir exists to honor the lives of children who have been abused or neglected and they sing annually for their key engagement, the Child Abuse Prevention gathering held at the Bastrop County Courthouse each April, known now by their signature song “We Sing for the Children,” by Mary Lynn Lightfoot.
    Their director Bill Owens stresses that there is a second level of the word honor. “I am so proud to be among these fine Choir families that it’s a pleasure for me to honor their lives as committed young people of highest character.”
    The Boston trip was the Choir’s annual enrichment experience, a component of their choir model which is the expression of Owens’s dedication to the singers. As is their practice every year, they partnered this year with another youth choir, the Andover Baptist Church Choir in Andover, MA, just north of Boston. And they planned this partnership to provide the second component, singing for a planned fundraiser on behalf of another Advocacy Center. This year’s recipient was the Suffolk County Children’s Advocacy Center, which serves Boston. Each summer affords this same opportunity for children to be serving children.  They sing jointly with another choir to raise awareness of child abuse and to raise money for an organization dedicated to rescuing kids out of abuse.
    The major activity for the experience was the preparation for that concert. That preparation was the writing of an original song under the leadership of Jim Papoulis, an internationally-known composer and director of Songwriting Workshops. Jim and his wife Sophia invited The Choir to their own home for the Workshop. They had known the Papoulis family from two prior Songwriting Workshops held in Bastrop. The fresh, new song is “When You Call”.  Jim solicited the words from the Choir as they were sitting in the Papoulis’s studio and he developed the music on the spot. By the end of the second day the song was written. It was a key part of the fundraising concert in Andover the next evening. Jim and Sophia accompanied and conducted.
    Aside from this key engagement there was a visit to historic Trinity Church, where the Choir sat in on the rehearsal of their very disciplined children’s choir; there was lots of history review as the Choir walked the Freedom Trail and among the significant buildings in Boston; and there was whale-watching from a boat excursion out into Boston Harbor.  Then the train ride down to New York.
    In New York the Choir enjoyed two Broadway shows, Aladdin and Phantom of the Opera, but also had time to take in Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, the 9/11 Memorial, and plenty of other sites.
    The Choir is home and about to plan next summer’s enrichment experience: singing in Ireland a joint concert with an Irish children’s choir on behalf of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
    Bill Owens
    (512) 303-9101