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Trained in music theory and voice, the young women of the touring choir (ages 13 to 19) attend daily, three-hour rehearsals with director Lorna Myers, an internationally lauded opera singer, composer, conductor, and vocal coach whose professional hand lends itself to the sophistication of the choir's sound. Concerts incorporate costuming and choreography, but the Choir Academy's goal isn't to groom and churn out child stars, the next all-girl pop group, or even competitive performers. The Academy's vision remains that of Turnbull's motivation in creating the Ephesus Church Boys Choir in 1968 (which would later develop into the Boys Choir of Harlem): to help youth transform their lives through the arts.

Established as a collaborative of the Boys Choir of Harlem, Inc. and the New York City Board of Education, the Choir Academy accepts students grades four through 12 through voice auditions. The public school academic curriculum is interspered with fine arts courses such as hand bells, piano, Orff percussion, movement, and dance. Also valuable are the inherent lessons in creativity, confidence, and self-esteem that make the conservatory and its students so unique.

Embarking upon its first world tour, the Girls Choir will appear at the Lila Cockrell Theater on Wednesday, February 5, as part of the Carver Community Cultural Center's performing arts season. •

8pm Wednesday, February 5
The Lila Cockrell Theater
200 E. Market Street
207-2234 (Carver box office)

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