New Article from the UNC Bear Den

UNUSUAL CHOIR UPLIFTS AT-RISK YOUTH

Vicki Burrichter’s (’94, ’03) choir does not simply require a conductor to lead it.

First, it requires drivers, cooks, Santa Clauses, and therapists. Second, it needs singers and a conductor.

SOAR! Youth and Adult Choir is more than just a choir. It is an artistic social entrepreneurship project, a unique inter-generational choir and a safe place for kids who need it.

The kids are from Colorado foster and adoptive services programs and are often struggling with many more issues – trauma, abuse, jail, homelessness, teen pregnancy, suicide-than most 6-18 year-olds.

Only one percent of these kids go to college.

Burrichter started SOAR in 2011 and one of her older students currently is in a transitional program to help her get into college. Mentisha is the first in four generations of her family to graduate from high school. She is also the first to “graduate” from singing in the youth choir to singing with the adults. Mentisha plans to go to college to become a nurse.

The adults in Soar! are singers who want to do more than just sing. They wear the many hats listed above, but most importantly, they become mentors for the children and provide them with more lessons than only singing.

“It’s not a perfect children’s choir,” Burrichter said. “You’re often dealing with situations that are tremendously challenging beyond the music.”

Burrichter said she had to give up her perfectionism, “It’s not about that; it’s about the kids and surrounding them with love.”

One way Burrichter shows her love is through food. A volunteer prepares the choir a full dinner before rehearsal and the group sits down and eats together.

“We are creating a family.”

Since the choir’s inception the nonprofit has sung for about 25,000 people.

“Audiences just love the kids,” Burrichter said. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Boulder, Colo., chorale and was also behind 2005’s Sing for the Cure, raising $100,000 in one day, to support local breast cancer organizations.

“We are trying to bring awareness of these children to the public,” Burrichter said. “You can really see that the kids, adults, and audiences are changed.”

Burrichter looks forward to continuing to grow SOAR! Their dream is to sing for President Obama and bring awareness of foster children to the national stage.

“It’s important to give back. It will make your work and life so much more meaningful.”

She still keeps in touch with professors at UNC and credits the School of Music with preparing her for the various aspects of her career-performing, teaching, coaching, conducting.

“I will always carry my time at UNC fondly in my heart.”

Dr. Burrichter will participate as a panelist in the March 31 Success Looks Like ME: Careers Making a Difference event, co-hosted by the Offices of Alumni Relations and Career Services.

 

THE SOAR! KIDS

SOARKIDS!One of our Eaglet’s drew this picture about SOAR! Look at those happy faces!

SOARKIDS1“Old MacDonald had a Farm…” rang out as we drove to summer fun at the Lavender & Teal Farm in Elizabeth. Here we met Hannah and gave her lots of loving! We had fun with goats, chickens, llama, pig, cats, & birds. The dogs didn’t get to play because of a skunk encounter the night before!SOARKIDS2SOARKIDS3Soaring with artistic expression at the Art Attack at Firehouse Art Center in Longmont. We had a great time learning about the artists and creating clay statues and being silly!

Exciting News!! Introducing The Eaglets!

We are very excited to expand our program to be able to reach younger children, particularly those who are in foster care, adopted, or in kinship care.

Having developed our program to meet the needs of older youth, the SOAR! Youth and Adult Choir is now able to expand our programming to meet the needs of the younger child. The developmental needs of the young child are markedly different, and our goal is to meet each child where he/she is. We will accomplish this through a group process, with music and movement being the primary mode of socialization and education.

The Eaglets will be team taught by Joyce Sprengelmeyer and Tina Peterson. Joyce is a retired public school music teacher for grades K- 8. Her favorite part of teaching was working with children’s choirs. Tina has also taught music in the public schools and performed in musicals and opera. Lessons will be based on the methods of Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze Eurthymics. We feel so fortunate to be able to offer such talented leadership to our young children.

Our Spring Season will begin on Tuesday, February 3 and runs through May 3.

Choir is on Tuesday nights from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. at Unity Church, 3021 S. University Blvd. in Denver. We will be serving dinner at 6:15. One of our founding principles is to serve nutritional healthy foods and educate youth about healthy food choices. The Eaglets Choir will meet in a room that is child friendly, and we invite you to spend the first evening with us and assist your child in becoming comfortable with this new experience. We will be meeting with the parents as a group to discuss programming, expectations, and answer any questions you may have. Currently this program is being offered free of charge and expenses are covered by tax-deductible donations.

Please contact Linda Trantow, 303-946-6733, to enroll your child (ren).

Soar! Youth and Adult Choir Perform at Lighting Ceremony on 11/28

Light the Lights 2014 final

 

The warm winter night and beautiful sunset led to an amazing evening for the SOAR! Youth and Adult Choir at the Lighting of the Lights where they performed three selections before a crowd of more that 15,000 people : “Happy”, “Fireworks” and “Let it Go”.

It was a magical evening that will be long remembered by our youth and adults. You may see pictures of the evening and the Channel 9 News Coverage by clicking the link below.

9news Light the Lights

“When we asked all of you to be a part of our entertainment at Light the Lights, we hoped it would be a magical evening with stellar performances. All of you were spectacular and gave our audience a great night to remember. It was the biggest crowd I have seen yet! Thank you for your time and your talent and enjoy the holidays! “

Sincerely,

Belen De Leon

Belen

SOAR! at Lighting the Lights

SOAR! at Lighting the Lights

Channel 9 News comes to rehearsal to film a story about SOAR!

Daniel and Megan from Chanel 9 News

Daniel and Megan from Channel 9 News

On November 18th, a Channel 9 news crew spent the evening with our choir, filming and interviewing our children and adults.This will be part of a human interest story set to air later this week.What a wonderful experience for our youth! Thanks Daniel, Megan, and Channel 9 News KUSA, for sharing our mission with your audience.