Mason Gross Extension Division at Rutgers has forged a partnership with neighboring Highland Park, moving its children’s choir to rehearse off-campus at Bartle Elementary School.

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MGSA Childrens Concert 12-18-11

 

The Rutgers Children’s Choir & Scarlet Singers, which provides vocal training for pre-college students, began rehearsing weekly in September at Bartle Elementary, 435 Mansfield Ave., Highland Park.

End-of-semester performances and special events will continue to be held on campus at the Nicholas Music Center, New Brunswick.

The partnership will make the Rutgers program more accessible to the community. In turn, Highland Park is providing a much-needed space for the Extension Division to run the program.

“We wanted to have a tangible connection to the community and this partnership provides that for us,” Extension Division Director Christopher Kenniff said. “It also gives us a quality space that we badly needed.”

For Highland Park, a municipality that embraces the arts, it was another opportunity to encourage creativity.

“We’re trying to strengthen our partnership with Rutgers and because Highland Park is an art-centric community, we thought what better way to strengthen that relationship than to connect with Mason Gross,” said Scott Taylor, Highland Park superintendent of schools. “The arts give kids the freedom to express themselves in ways they may not able to do through traditional means.”

As part of the new relationship, Highland Park Public School students will receive discounts from the Mason Gross Extension Division to participate in any Extension Division offering, including the children’s choir. The district has 1,550 students in four schools. Nearly 40 percent of the students are on reduced or free lunch program.

For Rebekah Sterlacci, the artistic director of the program, the new space now allows parents to sit in on rehearsals and watch the work their children are doing.

“This program is popular because we are a family,” Sterlacci said. “Kids grow up in the program.”

The youngest of the choir singers are the Little Knights for kindergartners through second grade; followed by Choristers, third to fifth grade; Chorale and Chamber Singers, fifth through eighth grade; and Scarlet Singers, high school.  Register for an audition here.

View video of the Rutgers Children’s Choir & Scarlet Singers in concert.

For more information or to register for Rutgers Children’s Choir & Scarlet Singers, call the Extension Division at 848-932-8616.  Or, contact us by email at extdiv.office@masongross.rutgers.edu.

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