There are lots of opportunities for kids to express themselves musically in South Texas, but the Texas Children’s Choir places equal emphasis on something that parents may value as much as the discipline music studies bring—service. They’ve sung at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at Carnegie Hall, and have provided music for military celebrations and ceremonies far and wide, including the 70th anniversary of D-Day in France.
Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Hardaway instills the value in the kids as much as he does the notes on the page. It “puts a different spin on things,” he says. Throughout his career, Hardaway has emphasized service, and rehearses choirs “not just to put on a good show, but because they owe it to the people that request them to provide music for a military command event, or a civic event, or a charitable organization.”
He says over the years, the students in his choirs “began to feel like they were contributing toward somebody else’s mission, and that became their mission…in the process they got trained to do music and execute it as well as possible.”
Hardaway formed the Texas Children’s Choir in 1989, and moved his operations to San Antonio in 2002 after retiring from the military. The group trains singers as young as 8 or 9 years old, with most of the children ranging from that age to early high school.
This Sunday, December 13, they’ll be performing their annual Christmas Concert in the Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake University. The performance starts at 5:00 p.m., and will include traditional Lessons & Carols selections such as performed by the Choir of King’s College in Cambridge, as well as some instrumental music, including a brass ensemble from Steele High School and a selection from Louis Vierne’s “Organ Symphony” played by Texas Children’s Choir alum and pre-med student Ruby Gibson.
Hardaway says it’s an ambitious program, and the kids are “really excited” about the performance, which also features traditional songs like the “Carol of the Bells.”
Two other holiday opportunities the hear the choir are December 14 at Air Force Village, and December 19, when the choir will entertain holiday shoppers at the Walmart on 1603 Vance Jackson Rd. The 10 a.m. performance will undoubtedly be a hit with shoppers starved for the holiday spirit amidst the consumer frenzy the weekend before Christmas.