WELLSBORO - The Hamilton-Gibson children and youth choirs continue their goal of singing in all 67 counties in the state. They are currently on tour to the south-central portion of the state, singing in eight concerts in six different schools in different counties. The central focus of the tour is singing at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville.
"After our meaningful visit to St. Paul's Chapel last year near Ground Zero in N.Y.C., we were drawn to visit this newly-opened memorial in our state," said Thomas Putnam, director of two of the choirs. "We're going to be able to spend some time in the National Park and will have the opportunity to sing there."
The HG Children's Choir program began in 1996 with 18 singers in grades 4 through 8.
Founded by Putnam and accompanist Kay Galloway, the choir has singers in the Choir TOO (grades 2 through 4), Children's Concert Choir (grades 5 through 8), Young Men's and Young Women's Choirs (grades 9 through 12).
The community choirs have performed throughout the Twin Tiers for civic and community events, and toured in New York City, Harrisburg, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. In March of 2003 - the day after the U.S. entered Iraq - singers from grades 5 through 12 traveled to Prague for a goodwill performance tour.
In 2006, the touring choir traveled to Brazil. Last year, they sang at St. Paul Chapel on the day President Obama visited ground zero.
The choir was designated Tioga County's Singing Youth Ambassadors and Pennsylvania's Singing Youth Ambassadors in 2001 by the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
In 2000, they performed Copland's "Old American Songs" with Mansfield University's Orchestra and the Williamsport Youth Orchestra. They were invited to sing the National Anthem at the Little League World Series with George W. and Laura Bush in attendance. In April 2002, they performed "Carmina Burana" with the Mansfield University Festival Choir under the direction of Peggy Dettwiler.
Katherine Brennan, who directs the Young Women's Choir and the Choir TOO, received her bachelor's in science and medical engineering from Valparaiso University and master's from the University of Minnesota. Brennan has taught choral and general music in Indiana, Illinois and Oklahoma, and works presently with HG and Trinity Lutheran School. She was the director of Mansfield University Summer Youth Music Camp for several years and has been a guest clinician-adjudicator in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.
Kay Galloway has been the accompanist for the HG choirs since their inception. Her degrees include bachelor's of organ performance from Tulsa University and a master's in musicology from Catholic University. She has been a church organist and accompanist for more than 40 years.
The choirs will share highlights of the tour at 2:30 p.m. today at the new Black Box in the Deane Center on Main Street. Each choir will sing individually and then join for numbers such as "When You Believe" from "The Prince of Egypt" and "Sing for Peace" by Jim Papoulis. Other pieces include folk songs, pop tunes, religious and secular tunes. The Choir TOO, though they are not on the tour, will offer a delightful mini-musical based on the tale "Stone Soup."
Tickets may be bought at the door and are $8 for adults and $4 for students and children. For more information, visit 724-2079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.