If you grow up in Lafayette, it seems to be the place you never want to leave.
So many stick around to make sure it stays just as they remember it. Now, a few ladies have grouped together to do just that with a children’s choir. And the result is astounding.
It started with fond memories of a community choir at UL that was done away with years ago.
“So many people have had good memories of being in the UL Children’s Chorus,” says Chorale Des Amis Co-founder Ellen McLemore. “So, we resurrected the idea with Chorale Des Amis.”
In its new birth, the community choir, now three-years-old, draws singers from second through twelfth grade and affords them opportunities they otherwise may not have.
“These kids love to sing. They are in a safe environment to perform, travel together, and do things that their school choirs aren’t able to do,” says McLemore. “Maybe the school doesn’t have a program, they’re homeschooled, or maybe they aren’t with other students throughout the day.”
“I think this is a wonderful thing for our community. Chorale Des Amis means chorus of friends, and she’s made a lot of friends,” says Chris Rader, a parent of a graduate of the program.
Parents say bonding friends with shared passions and creating a sound unique to Acadiana aren’t the only differences Chorale Des Amis has made.
“To me, the biggest thing is boosting confidence because some have never been on stage, but now, they can be on stage,” says Susan Ambreaugh, who also has a child in the chorus.
The singers say they’re getting and learning more than they could have ever expected.
“Choir means family and confidence in the way you speak and how you act,” says Timothy Sal, who is in his second year in the choir.
“I’ve only been singing for a few years, but I find it really fun, and I’ve made a lot of new friends,” says Jillian Parks.
With holiday performances just around the corner and big dreams for the future, Chorale des Amis is only getting started making their mark.