COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Voices of the Valley is Columbus State University's traditional vocal ensemble for children aged 9-16, and this summer these students have the opportunity to perform across England for 10 days.
Since its beginning in 2007, Voices of the Valley has grown to more than 60 singers from all over the Chattahoochee Valley. The vision of Voices of the Valley is "to inspire young singers to become life-long learners of music through choral experience and community engagement."
The choir will make the trip alongside the St. Thomas Episcopal Choir and will perform in several cathedrals in Norwich and London. The choir will only perform twice with the St. Thomas choir, all the rest of their performances will be on their own.
"I'm an educator. If I'm not here to change lives, what am I doing?" said Dr. Michelle Herring-Folta, director and Columbus State professor. "This trip will forever change the lives of our students."
Dr. Herring-Folta is commissioning Voices of the Valley's own version of the gospel song How Can I Keep From Singing? specifically for the trip.
The cost is $3,309.00 per student, which is unattainable for many of these students and parents. The goal is for every student to make the trip, which, for a choir of over 60 singers, brings the total around $200,000. They currently have around $163,000 left to raise to reach this goal.
The choir has a fundraiser Thursday, Oct. 12 at Chipotle on Macon Road between 5 pm and 9 pm. Tell the cashier you want to support Voices of the Valley and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the choir.
"The students of Voices of the Valley have worked so hard to develop themselves as musicians and as citizens of the community. I am filled with excitement for them to have such an amazing experience." said Katie Holbrook, one of Dr. Herring-Folta's undergraduate assistants for Voices of the Valley.
If you want to get a taste of the Voices of the Valley in person, you can check them out Dec. 11 and 12 at 7:30 pm at Legacy Hall at the River Center for the Performing Arts.
If you would like to help these students take advantage of this experience, click here.
Check out the student's reactions to finding out about their trip below!
Take a listen below to Voices of the Valley performing during one of their concerts.