Hidden Cleveland: VocalMotion members share music, dance with Boys & Girls Clubs’ youth
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Jul 24, 2014 | 1103 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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YOUNG MEMBERS of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland interacted with high school students during a weeklong show choir camp at the Tucker Unit. Children ages 6 to 10 had the opportunity to attend an hourlong class.  Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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VocalMotion show choir members from Bradley Central High School may still have Pharrell’s “Happy” stuck in their heads after a successful weeklong camp at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

Director Katie Phillips said her students had an opportunity to provide hourlong sessions for every child, ages 6 to 10, at the Tucker Unit.

“They caught on very fast, even the little ones,” she said. “... My high school students are so great at teaching and encouraging.”

The camp allowed VocalMotion to give back to the community while building interest in show choirs among the younger members of the club.

Tucker Unit Director Britt DeBusk said a show choir comprised of members from the various club locations will soon launch.

Around six students from VocalMotion have agreed to head the project. The students will come out twice a week to teach the club’s young members. A tentative plan has already been outlined. One day will be devoted to vocal training. The other will focus primarily on dance and placing the two elements together.

The high school students will act as the directors of the club show choir.

Students Kasey Torbett, Owen Coop and Chelsey Herron spoke positively about their time at the club.

“It has been such a blessing,” said Torbett. “It is just amazing. All of these kids are just so full of energy and so eager to learn.”

Herron added, “It has been really sweet to watch them just not care, like, in front of all of their friends. They just dance and do what they love. Some of them aren’t crazy about it, but, like, they still just laugh and have fun with each other.”

Coop described show choir as a large family.

“Once you start getting along, it becomes a family. Music is pretty much something everyone enjoys,” he said. “Everyone can get a lot on that level because music is kind of a spiritual thing. It is emotional.”

Phillips said she has seen the positive impact show choir has on students.

She highlighted the fact the group gives the students a place to belong.

“High school now is hard,” Phillips said. “Being a part of not only show choir, but any fine arts program ... gives them the opportunity to work together with this group of people. We like to say we have become family.”

The high school director explained the students practice from July through February for a 20-minute show. The work is strenuous and filled with ups and downs. She said the students fight like siblings. They also come together when one of them is in need.

Phillips noted the choir plants the seeds of goal planning and working hard in its participants. She said she enjoys “helping these high school kids see the big picture and see the value in sharing a positive message.”

Everyone gathers together to discuss potential songs prior to a selection. VocalMotion members seriously consider the message they will send with each song and dance.

“I look forward to them having those conversations with the Boys & Girls Clubs kids, using song and dance as avenues to communicate positive messages,” she said.

DeBusk agreed the experience could have a positive impact on his club kids.

“I was always afraid to be in front of people,” he said. “The more and more we put them in front of people at 6 years old, when [in the future if] they have to get in front of people to give speeches and presentations, it will be that much better.”

The show choir is tentatively set to start later in August at the Tucker Unit.

“It has been great,” DeBusk said about the entire experience so far. “The kids have loved it. [VocalMotion] enjoyed it as well as our kids have enjoyed it. [It was worth it], even if all we got out of it was the [high school students] were able to see they can put back into the community.”