First time around

tporter@lsjournal.comJuly 12, 2013 

Chris Munce is excited about the possibilities.

What has the artistic director of the Kantorei of Kansas City choir all ga-ga about the future?

That would be the Kantorei’s Summer Choral Institute.

The intensive, one-week camp for youth choral performers drew more than two dozen college-age performers representing 13 schools this summer in its inaugural year. Next year, plans call for the organization to include a camp for middle school and high school age students.

“One of our goals since we founded our organization in 2011 has been to branch into youth and education outreach,” Munce said July 10. “We also have an adult professional choir that performs, but we want to have this other aspect to what we do.

“In other words, we have this full gamut of adults who are musicians for a living and they perform and teach professionally, but we also want to instill that love for music in the youth of the community as well. This allows us to serve the whole age range.”

The summer program was highlighted by a vocal performance June 29 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit.

“It was great,” said Munce, who is also director of choral studies at Lee’s Summit High School. “We had a much larger turnout than we expected for our first time around. We also had a fantastic group of young, talented kids involved. Anytime you try to start a program like this for the very first time you expect it to be kind of small and not a lot of people knowing about it, but we outdid ourselves, I think.

“We had about 120 people or so in the audience and we had 26 college students signed up for it who performed. It went very, very well.”

Added Lee’s Summit High School graduate and current Pepperdine University student Leah Owen, a participant of the summer institute, “It was really great. That was the second time that I have gotten to perform in that space and it’s a great space to sing in. It was just really awesome to be able to sing in front of all those people. We had a really great audience and I think everyone enjoyed it a lot.”

Owen, 19, described the camp leading up to the performance as challenging, but one of fun.

“It’s a great way to catch up on some singing that we don’t normally get to do in the summer,” she said. “It was wonderful. It was fast-paced. We got to use our skills really quickly and learn the music. It took a lot of skill, which was a really good learning experience.”

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