LEWISBURG — The seats at St. John’s United Church of Christ were filled with family, friends and fans of The Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale Sunday for a special performance titled “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

The Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale (SVYC) has been an educational outreach of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC) since 1993.

Complementing existing school music programs, it gives talented young singers the opportunity to sing at an advanced level with other highly motivated singers from throughout the Valley.

The concert featured selections about singing and how people feel when they sing separately or as a group. Singers were divided into three groups: Preparatory, Camerata, and Valley Singers. Each group performed individually and also joined together for three pieces. The performance included spirituals, songs of joy, and jazz.

Selections included: “How Can I Keep from Singing,” “Sing” (from Sesame Street), “Sing a Rainbow,” “Do-Re-Mi” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

Several singers were featured as soloists, including Rowan White, Ellie Kisvarday, Nolan Jusko, Luke Vadakara, Katie Mebius and Sarah Criswell.

Coleen Renshaw serves as the SVYC director. Verlaine Shaw is the piano accompanist.

“We have grown in numbers since this past spring,” said Renshaw. “We thank the parents and family members who help to bring everyone to rehearsals on Monday nights.

“Thanks as well to our musicians today, who add yet another layer off sound to our vocal offerings.”

Renshaw also offered her thanks to the chorale staff, specifically Kelly Beard, executive director, and Adam Dietz, marketing and grant writing.

“So many pieces must come together in order to offer a program for children who enjoy singing,” said Renshaw. “(Kelly) and (Adam) are integral to our efforts to bring those pieces together so that we are able to present these programs.”

The SVYC hosts youth singers from grades 3-12. Students represent a dozen towns in the Central Susquehanna Valley, including Beavertown, Danville, Hughesville, Lewisburg, Middleburg, Mifflinburg, Milton, Mount Pleasant Mills, Muncy, Richfield, Watsontown, Selinsgrove and Shamokin Dam.

Katie Mebius, 17, of Lewisburg, has been singing with the SVYC since the fourth grade. Now a junior, she enjoys singing with the group. Her parents, Steve and Kristen, are thankful for her opportunity to participate.

Steve Mebius said the past few years have been tough because of COVID, and he is glad to see things returning to the way things were before the pandemic.

“COVID took its toll on the chorale, and numbers were down,” he said. “It was good to see a larger ensemble this year. I can remember years when Valley Singers, the older group, had just a few kids. It was encouraging to see so many.”

Mebius said his daughter likes to keep busy and has been attending practices since September to prepare. She is excited, he said, for the upcoming Christmas concert.

“We are just so proud of Katie,” he said. “She really enjoys using the gift God gave her.”

Heidi Criswell of Mifflinburg agreed that the Chorale is a unique and valuable experience for kids who enjoy music.

“The Chorale provides a great opportunity for young people to meet others with their shared love of music and to learn from amazing people like (Coleen),” said Criswell. “My daughter loves singing with them and enjoys learning different approaches.”

If you missed this performance by the SVYC, don’t worry, they’ll be performing again soon as a part of “Candlelight Christmas,” scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 3 p.m. Dec. 18 at Zion Lutheran Church in Sunbury.

The concert will feature the 100-year-old tradition of Nine Lessons and Carols, Commonwealth Brass and more.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, at svcmusic.org or by calling 570-547-0455.

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