Hocking County Children's Chorus - Community based, non-profit organization

It’s moving day for Hocking County Children’s Chorus!

Although Monday was a cold wintry day, it was a very exciting day for Therese Karnes, Executive Director of the Hocking County Children's Chorus — it was moving day!

"I'm beyond excited about this day and this opportunity we have for our children and community," Karnes told Logan-Hocking Times.

The Hocking County Children's Chorus moved into its new space on the third floor of the Logan Theater & Community Arts Center, formerly known as the Chakeres Theater.

Karnes has been the executive director of the Children's Chorus for six years, starting out at The Bowen House, then moving to what is now the Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce building after outgrowing The Bowen House. The past several years, the HCCC has made its rehearsal home above Saving Hardware.

"It was clear to me the very first year when I saw the response from the community, the children and families, and every year we've seen the chorus grow," she commented. "This year of course is unusual due to the pandemic, but last year we had almost 80 children registered, and it's clear that we needed a bigger space — a permanent space.

"We're acquiring over the years through grants and so forth some nice equipment and all of that, and we really needed a place where we could have all of that," she reiterated. "The wonderful thing about this space in the theater is not only do we have a very nice large clean brand new space, but it's a space that others in the community — other youth — can come in and use our facilities. To me, it just seems like a wonderful opportunity for growth and investment for the children and families of our community."

There are 42 children registered for the HCCC this year, with the largest group being the senior group. HCCC is open to children in grades two through 12. This includes children in public school, private school, digital academy, and those who are homeschooled.

"That's very low, but it's much higher than I thought it would be," she added. Karnes said she understands the low numbers due to COVID-19 because some children may have asthma or other underlying medical condition that could be considered dangerous if they were to come in contact with the virus.

However, in spite of the pandemic, rehearsals will begin Monday, Jan. 25 for the upcoming musical while following all COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. The children wear masks and social distance six feet apart.

The Chorus' first musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is slated for March 20-21 at Logan High School, but it all depends on the pandemic.

"The reality is nobody knows what this year will bring," Karnes stated. "In a perfect world our children will be vaccinated, and I'll be vaccinated and we can have somewhat of an audience in attendance."

Prior to the musical, Karnes must submit a plan to the Logan-Hocking School District Superintendent Monte Bainter and Hocking County Health Commissioner Doug Fisher.

According to Karnes, since the pandemic broke out, there has not been any outside events allowed at the high school.

"We would be the first one that they are considering, and we really appreciate their kindness and generosity. It still may not work in March," she remarked.

Karnes further noted if the musical cannot happen in March, she will continue and hope that later the children would be allowed to perform at the high school, or she would figure out a way to host the musical at the new location in the theater — of course following all COVID guidelines.

"We're trying to do two things," she continued. "Number one always is the safety of our children and families, and then number two keep hope and keep the music going. The children and parents are so enthusiastic and we want to find some way to keep it going."

Karnes thanks Logan's Rent-to-Own for supplying the manpower for the move — Dustin Butcher and Cody Broughton, who worked in the snow and cold to move everything into the theater.