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

New Children's Chorus director named

A new era is beginning for the Hocking County Children’s Chorus (HCCC) but the mission remains the same.

Therese Karnes, of Laurelville, has agreed to serve as the new director, after Judie Henniger announced her retirement a few months ago. Henniger founded the Hocking County Children’s Chorus in 1979 and has served as the director since its inception.

“We will continue Judie’s efforts in providing the children of Hocking County an introduction to choral music education and performance opportunities, as well as providing the experience of performing with children from other communities and offering a positive learning environment, fostering a team effort, building self-discipline and self-esteem,” Karnes said.

Karnes said that it was quite ironic when Henniger approached her at St. John Catholic Church and asked her if she would be interested in taking over the Children’s Chorus.

“As soon as we moved to Logan about a year ago, we immediately subscribed to the newspaper. This spring I saw the article that said Judie was retiring and I told my husband that I would love to do that, but wasn’t sure that I was qualified for the position. So, I just put it out of my mind or placed the idea on the back burner so to speak. A few months ago, while my husband, Steve, and I were performing at St. John Church, Judie marched right upstairs to ask me about serving as the new director, so I guess you could say that she found me,” Karnes joked.

The new director said that Scot Givens, of Logan, will continue to serve as the accompanist for the choral group.

“One of the changes that we are making is that we are returning to opening choir to second graders. We will accept students in grades two through eight.

“The Hocking County Children’s Chorus has provided a wonderful artistic experience for local young singers for the past 35 years and is still committed to providing quality music instruction that develops each singer’s vocal ability,” she explained.

It was noted that chorus members are exposed to many styles of choral music.

“They will develop music literacy, sight-reading skills and vocal technique, along with an opportunity to perform,” Karnes added.

Karnes said that she learned that when Henniger founded the organization, there were few opportunities for local children to experience choral music and theater.

“Now, our Logan-Hocking schools have wonderful programs for choirs for the junior high and high school students. Our goal is to build a strong foundation for the young choristers and that will be our main focus,” she said.

Karnes said that this year, thanks to a generous grant from the Logan-Holl Foundation, they were able to purchase a set of hand chimes to add to their performances, while percussion instruments will be utilized as well.

“The children have always provided Sne choral music and theater entertainment for the community to enjoy. In addition, this year we want to establish partnerships with key community businesses and institutions.

“By doing so, we strive to re-invest back into the very community that has generously sponsored our organization. For example we have partnered with Hocking College, The Bowen House and Chakeres Theatre Group,” Karnes added.

In addition to performing several concerts each year, the HCCC participates in the SEO Festival of Choirs and concludes their year with a musical theater production.

The HCCC strives to create an environment in which children can experience the joy of singing, develop confidence and become a vital part of a musical team.

Karnes said that HCCC weekly rehearsals will be held at The Bowen House, located at 196 N. Market St., on Monday evenings beginning Aug. 24. Member registrations will be accepted until that time.

The fee is $75 for the first child, $50 for the second child in the same family and $25 for additional family members. Tuition fees include all rehearsals, performances, music binders, choir uniforms and training.

“In the event a child wants to join but is unable to pay, arrangements can be made,” she said.

Brochures with registration forms have been distributed at several locations including The Bowen House, the Logan-Hocking County District Library and will be available at the open houses that will be hosted at the elementary schools next week.

Checks may be made payable to HCCC and tuition is due with registration. Registrations may be mailed to Therese Karnes, Director HCCC, 18781 Webster Road, Laurelville, Ohio 43149, or dropped off at The Bowen House.

Karnes is also looking forward to the new school year because she has been hired to serve as the first and second grade teacher at St. John Elementary School beginning next week.

Karnes and her husband relocated from Dublin to the Hocking Hills last year following her husband’s retirement.

“I was born and raised in Lancaster, and a graduate of Fisher Catholic High School. I earned my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Dominican University. I have been involved in choirs for almost 50 years, first as a chorister and later as a director.

“I have worked with music and education for over 20 years with most of the years as a teacher or music director for Diocese of Columbus, or as an instructional coach in inner-city schools in Columbus,” she said.

The couple has five adult children.