A new musical initiative launched this fall at Negba, as one of the many cultural ventures offered to advance Negba’s youth. Approximately ten kids from grades 2 through 6 passed the intensive audition for the Negba Children’s Choir, which was open to all Negba children. Members of the choir possess the full range of voices- alto, soprano, and tenor- of a professional singing group. And they also are heavily committed, since the weekly evening rehearsal takes place on their own time, after the hours of Negba’s regular activities.
“We’ve been dreaming of establishing a choir for Negba’s young children for some time,” said Eyal Peretz, Negba’s Program Director. “We already run a children’s music Appreciation cooperative with the Israel Sinfonietta in Beersheva, and this choir is another chance for children who love music and singing to more actively participate.”
Negba’s teens already enjoy two participatory music programs- a music empowerment seminar, and the Negba Teen Band. Eyal sensed the opportunity had arrived for a similar program for Negba’s younger children when two national service volunteers with musical backgrounds, Hadar Bach and Hallel Biti, joined Negba’s staff at its After-School Homes for Children. Both play piano and are musically inclined, having taken music/voice lessons from a young age.
“I love being in the choir! It is the most fun thing I do at Negba,” said Shira, 11. “It also makes me feel special and I’ve met lots of new children from other Negba Homes.” Fellow choir member, Nahorai, 8, expressed a similar feeling. “I never ever sang in a choir before, and it gave me a chance to sing for the first time. I feel that I’m doing something that I am really good at and I’m proud of myself.”
Academic research demonstrates a strong correlation between group choral singing and increased self-confidence, improved demeanor and ability to cope with stress. All of these are outcomes Negba aims to achieve for the children in its care. And, perhaps along the way, a star will be discovered:
“I had a dream one night that I was on the Got Talent show,” recalled Shoval, age 9. “I told them about the Negba choir and I sang a song from it that we learned. And I won!”