Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Community School to debut children’s choir

August 25, 2008

Calling young singers: The NIU Community School of the Arts debuts a new children’s choir for ages 8 to13 beginning in September.

CSA to debut children's choir

Mary Lynn Doherty, faculty member in the NIU School of Music, is the choir director. Assisting and accompanying is Travis Erikson, choir director for the DeKalb High School.

The choir meets from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 17 in Room 171 of the Music Building. No audition is required.

The mission of the CSA Children’s Chorus is to develop the musical skills and understandings of children in the greater DeKalb area through the study and performance of high quality choral music of different genres. Through the choral music experience, students will build important musical and life skills.

“I enjoy seeing the excitement and joy children can have when they sing together in an ensemble. It’s inspiring to be a part of the process of introducing, learning and perfecting great music,” Doherty said. “Giving a good performance is important, but the day-to-day rehearsal process is often where you see the most growth and development in the kids.”

A children’s music specialist, Doherty has taught in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois at the K-12 and university levels. Most recently, she was director of music education and associate conductor of the Chicago Choir Academy, a charter school in Chicago. This choir school, founded by the Chicago Children’s Choir, is the only public choir school of its kind in the country.

Doherty plans to build on the past two summer choral camps she has organized at NIU in 2007 and 2008. She also will build on the work of Randy and Carol Stubbs, founders of the Northern Illinois Children’s Chorus that was retired several years ago.

“When children work together toward a common goal, they learn valuable life skills that remain with them as they grow. Not only will they develop strong musical skills; through this experience, children will have a better understanding of the world and their place in it,” Doherty said.

“Singing is an expressive activity, and allows for children to communicate with others in positive ways,” she added. “We are lucky to have excellent music programs in our schools; however, this choir will give students wonderful musical opportunities that they will not get anywhere else.”

Doherty said children will enjoy singing in the chorus because they will have the opportunity to sing interesting and challenging music, give special performances and meet other performers, all in a supportive and encouraging environment. 

The CSA Children’s Chorus is one of many ensembles and classes offered by the NIU Community School of the Arts in fall. The program is sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Teachers are faculty and students in the NIU School of Music and Art. 

For more information, call Renee Page at (815) 753-1450 or visit