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Teacher, Kids Make Beautiful Music in Choir

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Morgan Morse comes from what he calls a musical family. His parents always encouraged him to sing, which is why about nine years ago he followed his brother into the Fairfield County Children’s Choir . Since then, he’s honed his skills and traveled the globe.

“It teaches you to be a very good musician — you have to be a good musician to handle it,” Morse said. “It’s challenging, you make lots of friends and it’s fun.”

Holland Hill Elementary School teacher Jon Noyes started the choral group 17 years ago with the help of the parent of one of his students. He now directs a choir of nearly 300 kids in Grades 4 to 12 from 18 towns in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties.

Noyes, also an adjunct professor at Fairfield University , says he finds the range of age groups “very rewarding” as a teacher. “I consider it the best of both worlds,” he said. “With the younger kids, what you’re teaching them is so crucial to their musical development. And with the older kids, the focus is on higher-level repertoire, which is a lot of fun for all musicians.”

The choir’s musical selection runs the gamut as well. Noyes trains his students in styles ranging from Baroque and classical to Broadway, jazz and gospel. He is so fond of his group’s unique choices that he can’t say whether he loves his students or their performances more.

“It’s the combination of the kids and the music,” Noyes says. “It would be impossible to choose one over the other.”

His group was ready musically to go international in just about four years, starting with a trip to Canada in 1999. Over the past five years, he has taken them to England, Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic, along with many spots in the United States.

But even more than its international pedigree, Noyes says one of the greatest trackers of his group’s success is the singers' dedication. Over the last 17 years, he has had many students earn the Choral Scholar Award, given to those who stay with the program for the full nine years.

Also, many of his graduates come back from college to say they have formed their own a capella groups or that they have gone into music teaching. “It’s not the goal for our members to go onto music as a career,” he says. “But it is rewarding when they do."

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