The Rainbow Choir had its most recent performance at the Interfaith Earth Day celebration at Anshe Emeth. The performance was beautiful, and the children sang with heart and soul. What goes in to a Rainbow Choir performance?
The Rainbow Choir really is a combination of two different groups of kids. The two different groups are the Public School group and the Interfaith Network group. The Interfaith Network brings kids together mostly from Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple and the Peace Islands Institute, but occasionally also a few kids from local churches. We generally meet on Sunday afternoons, for two one-hour-long rehearsals at either First Reformed Church or at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple before every concert. The Public School group meets separately, since these children cannot usually make it to rehearsals on weekends. And so, I go to Livingston Elementary school for two other rehearsals, in Agnes Crespo’s classroom. We meet right after school, to make it easy for as many kids to come as possible. Mrs. Crespo and the principal, Mrs. Gonzalez, write a permission slip for these kids so that they and their parents fully commit to coming to the performance, and only then are the kids allowed to stay after school for the rehearsals. This is a very effective process, and Mrs. Crespo does a lot of follow-up work to make it happen.
We are lucky to have such solid support from the school. They thankfully understand the value and power of music in these kids’ education. The teachers and administrators are all so kind to me when I walk into the school to meet the kids. And so, the Rainbow Choir is also a flexible endeavor. Even though we explicitly say 3-6, we sometimes get an advanced second grader, or some older kids to help out and give support to the younger ones.
The church also provided substantial support. The Classis of New Brunswick recently granted the Rainbow Choir some funding. This summer we are going to try to bridge the gap between the two groups a little by having a day-long music workshop at First Reformed Church. We will do activities, sing songs, play instruments, and learn about the basics of music. We may even produce some tee-shirts with Rainbow Choir logos on them.
If you would like to help out in any way with the Rainbow Choir, please contact me. Any volunteers to make cookies, assist in rehearsals, etc., are appreciated!