More than 100 underserved children and teens in Chester have found a musical outlet through the Chester Children’s Chorus that gives them a voice in a safe, supportive space, writes John McDevitt for kywnewsradio.radio.com.
“We get to come together, talk, laugh, have fun,” said 17-year-old Shamir Bryant, “Music is a gateway or an outlet for a lot of children, a lot of other young people. I feel that music helps a lot.”
Nationally, gaps in public school music education have grown. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, one in six eighth-graders said they did not have a full-time music specialist. For black and Latino students, it was one in five.
John Alston founded Chester Children’s Chorus 25 years ago and still leads it, supported by Swarthmore College.
His mission is to show that the children of Chester are beautiful, too, that “when “they are given the right combination of love and respect and high expectations, that they can do beautiful things just like all of the other children that are doing wonderful things in the United States.”
They recently performed their winter concert for the public at Swarthmore College.
Read more about the Chester Children’s Chorus here.