In June 2018 twenty DCC singers accompanied Music Director, Lisa Cameron, on a life-changing trip to Cambodia. They visited the ancient ruins of the world’s largest spiritual monument, Angkor Wat and learned about the country’s tragic genocide by visiting the Killing Fields. Most importantly they experienced a musical connection with the children and volunteers at Pour un Sourire d’Enfant. This French School (PSE) serves 2000 children a day in Phnom Penh and Houses 1000 orphans who have been rescued from the garbage dumps in the outskirts of town.
“I loved that the kids wanted to teach us their Khmer songs even more than they wanted to learn our English ones,” said singer Rachel Hilbert. Director Cameron remarked that it was so terrific to “connect with children who don’t need cell phones, TVs, treats, or presents to be happy.”
The DCC’s bi-annual tour program offers important opportunities for meaningful cultural exchange and collaboration. For many of our singers, these tours are the first opportunities they have had to travel outside of the Denver metro area, and tuition assistance is made available to any child who needs it to participate. Past tours have included a Civil Rights Tour to the Deep South and visits to New York, Iowa, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Canada, France, Germany, and a combined tour to Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. In addition to performing independently and with local children’s choirs on these tours, our singers can sightsee, stay with local host families, and experience for themselves the truly universal language of music.
The Cambodia Service Tour included our Fourteeners (advanced female choir) and Mountain Aires (advanced male choir). Together, these two groups are known as Thin Air, our advanced ensemble performing a diverse repertoire for mixed voices. The singers are 12-18 years old, have strong backgrounds in choral singing, excellent vocal technique, and advanced sight-singing and musicianship skills.
The mission of the Denver Children’s Choir is as important today as it was when we began in 1995. Each year, we deliver choral programs in select schools and community-based settings throughout Denver to children ages 7-18 of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Children learn to sing and read music while they develop self-confidence, build relationships, strive for excellence, and gain appreciation and respect for one another.