South Shore children’s chorus program expands to third site

Students in the South Shore Children’s Chorus tenor-bass choir, one of the program’s advanced groups, take part in a summer rehearsal. Image by Brad Dumont

THE BOSTON GLOBE – Founder and artistic director Kirsten Oberoi of the South Shore Children’s Chorus grew up here, going to public schools and working at a popular shoreline restaurant across the road from Quincy’s Wollaston Beach.

“I’m a native of Quincy, and I grew up as a South Shore kid, with two working parents,” Oberoi said. “I wanted to take part in musical activities, but they couldn’t bring me into the city [Boston] to take part in those opportunities.”

Out of that experience came an important career goal — “a vision for my life” — the music teacher began to realize five years ago. “I wanted to offer excellent music education for children who live in the suburbs.”

Calling itself a regional “training program for all young singers,” South Shore Children’s Chorus is adding a new location this fall, Laura’s Center for the Arts, on the grounds of the YMCA at 97 Mill St., Hanover.

The Hanover site, located close to the highway, joins the program’s ongoing Quincy and Sharon locations: Quincy Point Congregational Church, at 444 Washington St., and Sharon Community Center, at 219 Massapoag Ave.

Founded five years ago, the South Shore Children’s Chorus served 100 students before the COVID-19 shutdown, and is building back to that number. A combined chorus summer performance at Stonehill College last month included 63 students.

SSCC’s Founding Artistic Director Kirsten Oberoi directing a summer ensemble, 2021, image by Brad Dumont

Michelle McGrath, the chorus’s managing director, said all three sites are indoors but have outdoor spaces if needed for social distancing.

“Whatever regulations may come down and whatever the situation is,” in light of new concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus, she said, “we are going to accommodate it and work around it, and make sure the kids get what they need.”

Oberoi studied musical composition at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, and worked with professional music groups and children’s choirs before returning to the South Shore region. She uses her compositional skill to write or adapt choral music for her choruses. Her husband Krishan Oberoi, a music professor at Providence College, is also a composer of choral music.

She began her music program to provide a “convenient and welcoming opportunity” for South Shore families to give their children a musical education.

Her school emphasizes “how important the joy of singing is. Singing is something we take very seriously,” she said of her program’s five ongoing choirs. “It helps create a whole child.”

Musical education, she said, “is for all,” she said. “It is a skill we can teach. We have no audition process.”

The South Shore Children’s Chorus has five choirs, serving three age levels: kindergarten to Grade 2; intermediate for grades 3-6; and advanced for secondary students, grades 7-12.

The secondary level divides students into three voice ranges: treble; tenor-bass; and advanced mixed voices.

The choral music program is welcoming new students now for September classes. Tuition for the school year, September to May, runs from $500 to approximately $825, depending on levels of participation.

If paying the tuition is a problem, Oberoi said, “we have funding.” For tuition and complete schedule details, to register, and for more information, visit southshorechildrenschorus.org.

By Robert Knox

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