With songs in their hearts
BY Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent February 27, 2013 1:04PM
The Cherubim Choir. SUBMITTED PHOTO
If you go
What: Tamale dinner fundraiser for Cherubim Catholic Children’s Choir
When: 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: St. Patrick Gym, 710 W. Marion St., Joliet
Cost: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children 12 and younger. Reservations encouraged but not mandatory.
Visit: www.cherubimchoir.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/CCCChoir.
Contact: Claire Halbur at 815-325-7361.
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:36AM
From July 3-7, nine members of the Joliet-based Cherubim Catholic Children’s Choir will attend Independence Day events in Washington, D.C., concluding with singing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, as part of the 28th International Congress of Pueri Cantores.
On Sunday, the choir will host a tamale dinner fundraiser to help pay for trip expenses.
“It moves me deeply to see a child with a song in his or her heart and a voice that knows how to joyfully pour forth that song,” said Claire Halbur of Joliet, founder and director of the choir. “Many know the quote, ‘To sing is to pray twice.’ Well, I recently learned this one, ‘To sing well is to pray three times.’ That, quite simply, is my goal, for there is nothing quite so beautiful as young voices singing well in praise to their creator.”
According to the Pueri Cantores website at www.pcchoirs.org, this official student choral organization of the Catholic Church is headquartered at the Vatican and comprises 60,000 singers from schools and parishes in 30 countries.
The students learn identical repertoires at the local level and then join into one large ensemble for festivals.
Halbur teachers her singers sacred hymns, Gregorian chant, folk songs, canons and seasonal music. The choir sings for special Masses and other events.
Georgina Berman’s four children — Ygnacia, 14; Genevieve, 12; Joseph, 9; and Francis, 6 — belong to the choir; her two oldest will attend the D.C. trip.
Berman is excited that her two oldest will be able to meet other children from around the world and visit the capital, but she is mostly pleased with Halbur’s efforts.
“She does it for the love of the children,” Berman of Joliet said. “They’ve learned to sing wonderfully for God.”
As part of this choir, the students also learn music theory, acute listening skills and correct voice training.
“Children are experiencing and defining new emotions all the time,” Halbur said, “and music is a powerful way for them to mature in this understanding.”
In addition, the choristers cultivate a spirit of teamwork and unity — equivalent to that of a sports team — because the singers know the choir’s success depends upon member putting forth their strongest efforts, not to shine individually but to blend with the other singers to create one unique voice.
“By necessity, the children learn to cooperate with each other on many levels,” Halbur said.
Halbur initially began the choir as an outreach to the homeschool community but soon expanded it to include other youths.
Because Halbur, who plays both piano and violin, is the director of music at St. Mary Parish in Plano and directs eight choirs, she continually refines and supplements her own knowledge and skills.
This past summer, Halbur spent a week at the Catholic University of America in Washington participating in training in the Ward Method of Music Instruction. This is a progressive method of developing the voice, training the ear and instilling foundational music theory.
“If I can move children to a sense of wonder at a young age, they will know what is truly sacred and not settle for less worthy music,” Halbur said.