By Susan Bisson Lambert
August 3, 2015
The Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir (SMYOC) is pleased to announce the selection of Angelica Brooks as its new SMYOC Youth Choir Director.
With a passion for making music and developing young voices for ensemble singing, Mrs. Brooks’ diligence and skill are manifest in the level of excellence and artistry her choirs regularly achieve. A native of Washington, DC, Mrs. Brooks started singing in a city church where her father was the church musician. She completed an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at Bowie State University and a Masters of Music in Vocal Pedagogy at The Catholic University of America.
During her career as a choral director, she has been nominated Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Teacher of the Year, and she currently serves as the PGCPS Elementary Honors Chorus Director. She is also a quarterfinalist for the 2016 Grammy Music Educator of the Year award. Mrs. Brooks is the Director of the Fearless Falcon Middle School Choral Ensemble at Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy. Under her direction, the choir has attained all 1’s at the PGCPS Choral Festival and a Superior rating at the MMEA State Choral Festival for the past 2 years. The choir also received a Superior rating and won best overall Middle School Choir at the “Music in the Parks” choral competition. Mrs. Brooks is very eager to share the gift of music with talented singers in Southern Maryland.
The Southern Maryland Youth Choir began in 2014 and completed two successful concert seasons last year. Starting this fall under Mrs. Brooks’ direction, the SMYOC Youth Choir will expand to a two-tiered program to include advanced high school students as well as continuing its offering for younger singers. Mrs. Brooks’ staff will include an assistant conductor, who will work primarily with the junior choir, and a professional piano accompanist.
The upper level choir is being developed for a select group of very experienced singers aged 13-18 who will meet weekly for 2-hour rehearsals on Monday evenings and will perform a wide repertoire – including pop acapella, modern, world music, and classics – in multiple concerts and special events throughout the year. The junior choir Treblemakers is for singers aged 8-12 and will rehearse for 1-hour-and 45 minutes on Mondays late afternoons. Tuition is charged for participation in the SMYOC in order to cover a percentage of the cost of the director’s salary, music and rehearsal space. Financial aid is available. Please visit the website at smyoc.org for further details.
Julia Nichols, founder and president of SMYOC, says of the Youth Choir, “I am excited to expand the musical opportunities for the talented youth in this area. I believe that participating with like-minded peers in an immersive music group provides an influential and enjoyable experience unlike any other.”
Susan Bisson Lambert of Park Hall, and Secretary of SMYOC, was integral in the formation of the SMYOC Youth Choir. She believes strongly in the transformative power of music-making and feels there are “few activities that confer as many benefits into adulthood as ensemble music, where instrumentalists/singers must apply individual talent toward collective excellence, acquiring skill and discipline as they learn to work together and develop artistically as a group. Like being part of a competitive team sport and other goal-oriented group endeavors, each participant experiences benefits far beyond that of acquiring a specific set of skills.”
SMYOC Youth Choir auditions will be held August 24 (for the advanced choir) and August 31 (for the junior choir) in Leonardtown. Interested singers should visit smyoc.org for critical details about the programs and to fill out an audition form.
The Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir exists to nurture, develop and advance young, talented musicians in quality orchestral and choral programs. Both the SMYOC Youth Orchestra and the SMYOC Youth Choir serve students in St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties. The Youth Orchestra is a full orchestra open to any young musician entering grades 6-12 with at least one year of musical study. Younger musicians who can play at Level 4 may audition and, at the discretion of the Director, may be accepted. Non-traditional orchestral instruments may be included. The Youth Choir is a two-tiered choir for auditioned singers ages 8-18. The SMYOC is working together with Maryland musicians, educators and organizations to expand the musical opportunities available in our community.