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Professor and students bring music to New London


 Kate Schmicker ´13 helps the youths of Voice on the Thames practice

Kate Schmicker ´13 helps the youths of Voice on the Thames practice

Every week, the sound of children´s voices fills the air and is music to the ears of Professor Allyn Donath and students Phuong Le ´10 and Kate Schmicker ´13. Donath, adjunct assistant professor of music, created Voice on the Thames, a non-denominational community youth choir, last year to reach out to local adolescences. Le and Schmicker are now following in her footsteps, and are using music to further cultivate the College´s relationship with the local community. Le and Schmicker volunteer to help direct Donath´s youth choir, which provides New London-area students in grades two through eight the opportunity to perform and achieve excellence, with the goal of inspiring a lifelong passion for music. They attend the group´s weekly rehearsal and prepare the 20 participants for concerts, making sure they know the music. The student volunteers praise the young songsters, calling them quick learners who are dedicated and hard-working. "The entire choir is just so happy to be there -- happy to sing," Schmicker said. Le and Schmicker have been a tremendous benefit to the program, Donath said. "Phuong is very helpful with keeping younger members on track, and is a tremendous help with general organization at the rehearsals, and Katie brings wonderful suggestions for performance posture and diction." A human development major and music minor, Le has found the choir to be a wonderful combination of her interests. Schmicker, a prospective music major, says the organization helps complement her interest in music education. Donath also directs the Senior Choir of the Second Congregational Church in New London. Another Connecticut College student, Kim McHugh ´11, worked with Donath to study the faith-based community choir for her "Social Science of Music" class. McHugh enjoyed the experience, which challenged her to look at music in new ways. "I have learned skills that I never would have just by reading other ethnographies and sitting in a classroom," McHugh said. "I have learned tricks to conducting fieldwork and have gained valuable experience." McHugh´s research project also reminded her of another valuable lesson. "Do not forget to use the community outside of Connecticut College - it can be a valuable resource," McHugh said. Laura Marenghi ´12

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