Finding a collective voice

Shuswap Youth Choir is SYC, says director Andrea Roberts, laughingly pronouncing the word sick, which actually means cool to today’s youth

Harmony: Andrea Roberts directs a primary choir at Hillcrest School Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30. New members are welcome.

Shuswap Youth Choir is SYC, says director Andrea Roberts, laughingly pronouncing the word sick, which actually means cool to today’s youth.

And cool well describes the little choir that took their newfound talents downtown to sing Christmas carols last Thursday.

Encouraged by  members of the music community and friends, Roberts started the choir in October for children in grades one through five.

“I would love to have an intermediate choir, which would be Grade 6 and up – and that’s in the works,” says the talented vocalist.

Roberts introduces children to different genres, from pop, Broadway, classical and everything in between.

“No experience is necessary at all,” she says. “We start them off by rote and as we go, we’re learning note names and rhythms so we learn to read musical scores,” she says. “It’s basically an all-encompassing process,  learning proper vocal technique and developing a sense of being part of a team and understanding it’s important not to let the team down and to blend voices as a group.”

Roberts says the benefits of singing are many: endorphins are released – oxytocin, the warm feeling you get from a hug. It boosts immune system, lowers blood pressure and improves posture.

“With the primary  ages it’s a great way for young ones to improve reading skills as well,” she says.

“First and foremost it’s meant to be fun. We start with games in the format of song, lots of movement and rhythmic games so the kids can interact with each other and me and I encourage each child truly to find their voice.”

The choir will begin again in January. The annual fee is $90 and  students starting in January will pay $60 for the session.

To register a child, send an email to For information, call Hillcrest school after the holidays at 250-832-7195.

“There is something about children singing that is so special – it’s the innocence,” she says.


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