For 31 years, a group of local children and their dedicated directors meet a couple of times a week and turn their love of song into beautiful music, especially during the Christmas season.
In this week's Art Beat, we head to the Performing Art Center to see how the children of the Rapid City Children's Chorus are preparing to share their talent.
Just like the theme of this year's concert, Joy to the World, a World singing in Harmony, the Rapid City Children's Chorus brings joy to all those who listen to their sound.
It's a sound that combines hard work, discipline, and some fun all mixed in. Sometimes the words come before the melody.
These second through ninth graders are from Rapid City and the surrounding area.
They come from different elementary, middle and high schools and the home schooled community.
There are four levels to the chorus, the Choralier, Cadet, Camerata and Concert choirs.
They rehearse twice a week throughout the school year and while they bring their talent and hard work, they also gain a lifelong love for music, among other things.
Ann Deckert, Artistic Director of the Rapid City Children's Chorus says "We bring them together and bring them some of the foundations of singing, vocal independence, confidence as part of a large group. a sense of teamwork and purpose and just a whole lot of fun being together and singing together."
In the midst of learning the fundamentals of music, friendships often blossom.
Tyler Strachan, 8th grader, says "I like friends because a lot of my friends here go to other schools. It' kind of fun because we get to go to different trips, different places too. Like last year we went to Denver and it was great fun."
Aubrie Logue, 7th grader, says "All our families are here and you're just with your friends singing songs that you really like, that you've been working really hard on and it's really fun."
The chorus members believe the rehearsals and extra focus on the music pays off when you hear their sound.
Tyler Strachan, 8th grader, says " we have more of that mature sound for singing because at school choir we learn about the same stuff, but I think we have more mature sound here because we all want to be here and not because our parents made us or something."
Drew Suske, 7th grader, says "It just gives me a place to sing and let it all out. I love Christmas and I love all of the songs we are doing."
When planning for this year's Christmas concert, the director reflected about all the negative things that have recently happened in the world and how music can bring people together ... It's a topic she has discussed with the students.
Ann Deckert says "We've had a lot of rich conversations about all of these different things that have happened and it's fun for me as the director to see the world through their eyes and see how they view all of these events that have taken place, how they combat negativity through music."
And so as they prepare for this year's concert. It's a mix of traditional Christmas carols, some audience participation and a Children's Chorus favorite.
The choir sings "the Virgin Mary had a baby boy, the Virgin Mary had a baby boy, the Virgin Mary had a baby boy and they said that his name was Jesus."
The Rapid City Children's Chorus Christmas Concert takes place this Sunday, December 4th at 3 pm at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts Center website or at the door.