Last year, Eau Claire Male Chorus member Marty Pederson assembled a team of youngsters in order to revive the Chippewa Valley Boys Choir. Nearly 10 years after the group disbanded, a few members of the Male Chorus were reminiscing and wondering aloud whether such a project would have success today.
“In the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to teach a vocal chorus because I’ve thought they are such an amazing sound,” Pederson said. With the Male Chorus backing him, he said, he would be willing to serve as a director. Since then, the chorus has provided some financial support, parents have been promoting the group, and Pederson has done everything he could to provide a fun, educational experience for the young singers.
In the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to teach a vocal chorus because I’ve thought they are such an amazing sound.
– Marty Pederson
Chippewa Valley Boys Choir director
“We’re developing vocal skills, and having a good time doing it,” he said.
Oliver Dieringer, aged 9, joined the Boys Choir last fall after his family heard about it from a friend.
“Since joining the choir, Oliver has gained a broader interest in singing different kinds of music and musicals all around,” his mother, Katie, said. He had always enjoyed music, she said, but getting him out of his comfort zone in a fun and supportive place helped him improve over the season. He developed a sense of camaraderie with the other boys and built new friendships – and his piano teacher noticed an improvement in his playing.
Shannon Walker, mother to Lance, another 9-year-old choir member, also noticed a sense of camaraderie among the boys. “Being part of this group has fostered his social growth and confidence,” she said. Lance even joined Pederson on WEAU 13 News to promote one of their holiday shows last year.
“They have all learned so much and enjoy sharing it with others,” Katie said.
The Boys Choir performed with the Male Chorus twice last year, opening the second half of their holiday and spring concerts. After weeks of rehearsal, Pederson was confident of their ability, but didn’t know what to expect once they stepped on stage to sing in front of an audience. “I don’t worry about them because I know they’re gonna be excellent and I know they’re gonna be entertaining,” he said.
Pederson hopes that with more participation, the group can branch out to hold their own shows, or even tour area schools. This season, he says, he wants to take the group to nursing homes to perform for residents.
The Chippewa Valley Boys Choir’s second season begins Sept. 12. Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings 6-6:45pm in the Fellowship Hall at Lake Street United Methodist Church, 337 Lake St., Eau Claire. Boys between second and 12th grade are welcome to join. This year, the group will perform again with the Eau Claire Male Chorus for their holiday and spring concerts.
Learn more online at facebook.com/ChippewaValleyBoysChoir.