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Houston Choral Society camp helps kids find their voice

June 13, 2018 GMT

Marguerite Lapetina tells her students that they’re all vibrating tubes, and she’s there to help them make their very best sounds.

Lapetina is the Houston Choral Society’s Summer Vocal Performance Camp director for the second year. This year’s camp, “Voyages of the Voice Finders,” is July 9 to 13 from 9 a.m. to noon at Foundry United Methodist Church.

“Singing is such an important thing in our lives. So many Americans feel like they can’t sing because they don’t use their voices, and children are not learning how to use their voices because they sit on computers,” Lapetina said.

This year’s camp theme is “Our World of Singing,” and will focus on songs from different countries and cultures. The cost is $180 per child and the camp is for both elementary and middle school students.

Lapetina, who sings with the choral society, taught music in elementary and middle schools for 35 years. She said the other four teachers either have music education or vocal performance degrees or are local performers.

She said they teach the kids vocal techniques such as warming up, breathing and posture as well as how to read notes and how to sing in parts. Each camp day, the students are to also practice for the end-of-week performance that is a culmination of all they’ve learned.

Katie Vargo, who is a music educator in Klein ISD as well as a member of the choral society, taught at the camp last year and will be doing so again this year. She said she’s excited to ignite the kids’ passion for music.

“The cool thing about music is that it’s everywhere. Music expresses what words can’t express. It’s more than just singing, it’s also feeling,” Vargo said.

Last year, 10-year-old participant Alec Barto said that the camp helped with teamwork building skills. His favorite part of the experience, though? The performance at the end of the week—and the cupcakes.

His mother Kim Barto, of Klein, said that she thought it was a great thing for her son to be involved in.

“For kids who are outgoing — like my son — it teaches them that singing is a team effort and that it’s not all about one person. For the shy child, it’s a good way to build self-confidence since they have their friends around them,” Kim said.

For more information and to register for the camp, go to www.houstonchoral.org/camp or call 832-478-6986.