OBU Announces YSCO Auditions Aug. 16-18

Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, a community-based choral music program, will host auditions August 16-18 at Oklahoma Baptist University.

YSCO provides vocal instruction and singing opportunities for students ages 7-18. Five choirs are offered for students of various ability and grade levels.

Auditions for all groups will be Aug. 16-17 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and Aug. 18 from 10 a.m.-12 noon, in OBU’s Raley Chapel room 142. The choirs will have weekly rehearsals on the OBU campus.

Dr. Darla Eshelman, OBU professor and coordinator of music education, serves as YSCO director.

The Apprentice Choir is conducted by Amber Crawley and offers beginning level instruction for non-auditioned singers ages seven and up.

The Shawnee Honor Choir, a community tradition for 25 years, is conducted by Conchita Hansford. Open to auditioned treble voices beginning at age nine, SHC has been selected four times to perform as an honor choir for the Oklahoma Music Educators State Convention.

Eshelman conducts the YSCO Concert Choir, which features auditioned advanced treble voices beginning at age 11. In recent years, the Concert Choir has performed for national, regional and state music organizations, and in a joint concert with the Kansas City Children’s Chorus.

This year the choir has been selected to perform for the Southwest American Choral Directors convention in Kansas City, and the American Kodaly Educators national convention in Denver.

The Select Girls Chorus is a new choir offered this year and will be conducted by Randa Mitchell, Carl Albert Junior High School choral director and an OBU alumna.

“Due to the tremendous growth and interest in YSCO, this choir has been added to provide high school girls with advanced singing opportunities,” said Eshelman.

Youth Chorale, also conducted by Mitchell, is designed for advanced high school mixed voices in a smaller ensemble setting.

“The focus of the program is the enhancement of self-esteem and musical growth through instruction which includes healthy vocal technique, music literacy and meaningful singing,” Eshelman said. “YSCO is designed to provide diverse, challenging and quality singing experiences which enhance the growth of each singer and provide enrichment for the community.

“Each choir performs music from all style periods, as well as a cappella music and uses a variety of accompanying instruments including piano, harp, flute, strings, brass, percussion and Orff instruments,” said Eshelman.

As an element of both the YSCO and the OBU music education degree program, OBU students serve in various capacities as student conductors, accompanists and assistants for each choir. Eshelman said the opportunities provide invaluable experience for students preparing to teach music.

“This is a feature not available at any other Oklahoma university, and not many other undergraduate programs in the country provide this training opportunity for future music teachers,” she said.

“This is an incredible opportunity and a great honor for young singers, university students and for Oklahoma. These young choirs continue to demonstrate excellence in all aspects of the choral art, and we are proud to offer quality musical experiences to the children and youth of central Oklahoma,” said Dr. Paul Hammond, dean of OBU’s Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts.

The choirs perform two on-campus concerts each year, as well as additional performances around the community and state. The joint fall concert is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The concert will focus on the celebration of Oklahoma’s centennial.

Eshelman believes the success of the YSCO program is due to a joint effort by all who have a part in training these young singers.

“Students are provided with quality musical training as they participate in their school choirs and bands, which bring them to our program with a strong foundation and daily reinforcement,” she said. “Area school music teachers are to be commended for their daily work with these students in their classrooms.”

In addition, Eshelman credits the conductors, accompanist Celesta Dalrymple, and OBU students who provide solid and inspirational service and training in each weekly rehearsal.

All interested singers from ages 7-18 are encouraged to audition on any of the three scheduled days. Students do not need to prepare anything for the audition.

Students will be placed in the choir best fitting their musical ability and development level. If selected, there is a tuition fee of $60 per semester, plus the cost of performance attire.

“We are dedicated to the philosophy that performance of quality choral literature can provide a source of great joy and enrichment for the individual, the family and the community,” said Eshelman.

For further information on the YSCO auditions and choir year, contact Eshelman at 878-2314 or darla.eshelman@okbu.edu.