In 2019, Catamount Arts partnered with the North Country Chorus on a chorus for students in grades 3-8. The goal of the North Country Youth Chorus is to teach vocal skills and offer opportunities for listening and performing that deepen each child's musical understanding and appreciation. The NCYC also serves to encourage personal growth as an individual and as a member of an ensemble. Catamount Arts' Lewis Botelho-Gomes, the Music Director of EPIC Music, leads the NCYC. He has worked with children’s choirs extensively, having studied with Prof. Henry Leck from Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and is a certified Kodaly Specialist. Lewis brings a broad array of skills to meet any combination of kids at hand. His rehearsals are full of movement and games. All voice training is anchored in large body motions, and devoted to both performance and literacy.
In 2019-2020, rehearsals were held at Catamount Arts, which made the program available to more students than they had been in the past. During that time we averaged 30 students weekly, from 12 towns. The group performed at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Victorian Holiday celebration and at First Night North in St. Johnsbury with EPIC Music and the Kingdom All Stars. Rehearsals were suspended in March due to the pandemic. In-person rehearsals resumed in September – outside, masked, and socially distanced. Lewis's focus was devoted to beat and no beat, steady and unsteady beat, beats grouped in 2 and 3, shorthand writing of rhythmic patterns, simple rhythm two-part invention, rhythm canons and notating melodic contours.
The NCYC now meets weekly at the Union Baptist Church in Waterford, where there are high ceilings for good air exchange and space large enough for social distancing while still masked. The focus is currently on double and triple meter, conducting patterns, discriminating, associating and generalizing syncopated rhythms and musical phrases, discriminating alike and different pitch sequences. These concepts/skills become games and activities under Lewis's energetic leadership. Lots of skipping, clapping, humming and laughter while learning! See the attached clip from the Athenaeum’s December 2019 Victorian Holiday celebration for the results.
We expect the winter 2021 term to cover all of the above plus forms AB, ABA, ABACA (rondo), discriminating, associating and generalizing patterns containing sixteenth notes, styles and texture.
For questions about the group, to inquire about joining it, or to observe a rehearsal, please contact Lewis here.
More information about the North Country Chorus can be found here.