Butte County Student Choirs Unite to Inspire a Devastated Community
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Voices Strong Chorus to Perform at Benefit Concert to Raise Money for Fire Relief

In a community ravaged by the Camp Fire, where over 5,000 students have been displaced from their schools, young people are lending their voices to bring a message of hope and resilience to their peers.

Sam Gronseth, retired Paradise High School Choral Director, is bringing together over 150 students from Butte County schools--Paradise High School, Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, Pleasant Valley High School, Chico High, and Achieve Charter--to perform for elementary children whose schools were most affected by the fire. This newly assembled Voices Strong United Choir has been rehearsing diligently to be ready for upcoming performances. Because they are on separate campuses, students use their phones to listen to recorded versions of the songs, learn their parts, and memorize lyrics.

On Friday, December 14, students from all five choirs will come together for the first time for a morning rehearsal, running through three songs chosen for their hopeful themes: “You Will Be Found” from the Dear Evan Hansen musical, “Beautiful City” from Godspell, and Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” They will then perform for elementary students from Paradise charter schools relocated to the CORE Butte Charter School site on the Neighborhood Church campus. Next, they will travel to Durham Elementary, where they will sing for Ponderosa Elementary students. Finally, they will sing for students from Paradise Elementary, relocated to the Bird Street school site in Oroville.

Gronseth, who formerly taught students from elementary to high school ages in Paradise schools, says of the Voices Strong United Choir: “I am excited to work with students already trained in choir who just want to heal and inspire our community.” He says that even in this busy time, with finals looming and busy schedules, almost 100% of students from these choirs have expressed a willingness and an excitement to be part of this unified effort.

Community members who would like to hear the Voices Strong United Choir will have the opportunity, not just to experience their inspiring performance, but also to contribute to the fire relief effort by attending the Camp Fire Benefit Concerts at the El Rey Theater in Chico. Concerts will be held December 19-21, and students perform at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19.

For more info:

Sam Gronseth
Director, Butte Strong United Choir

Becky Brown
Director, North State Arts Education Consortium