Newsletter Spring 2020

View Spring 2020 Newsletter


Expressing Joy Through Music

A singer’s perspective on the JCC

My grandparents had seen information about The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and talked with my music teacher about it. He suggested that they sign me up for The Chorus. 

My first rehearsal was very good; the instructor was so welcoming. I was nervous at my first concert. I remember putting on my red JCC t-shirt, black pants, and shoes and feeling nervous. When I got on stage and started singing, the nervousness disappeared. My instructor made singing the songs so much fun.

When I joined JCC, I became more confident and made a lot of friends. JCC is like a family to me, a family full of opportunities. I have had fun traveling to North Carolina and experiencing new opportunities and meeting new friends. I have also enjoyed the summer camp [held] at Jacksonville University and the chance to further bond with chorus members from each choir. Even more, I have enjoyed singing with the celebrities and visiting guests.

As a singer, JCC has helped me a lot with my facial expressions and diction. Before I joined JCC, I did not have training in these areas, but now my words are much clearer and my expressions help me feel what I am singing.

Traveling to North Carolina was my favorite trip with JCC [for the North Carolina Summer Institute for Choral Art]. I met new people, bonded more with people I knew, learned to be more responsible being away from my family, and learned more [about music].

Tremyiah Edwards, Concert Choir Member


Feeling the Music

Grandparents perspective on the JCC

Prior to her involvement with The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, Tremyiah has always been outgoing and a leader. She loved to sing and started singing in the children’s choir at church when she was two years old. As she got older, she sang solos in church and for the programs at the summer camp she attends.

JCC has strengthened Tremyiah’s singing abilities. Singing in different languages, sight reading, and performing on stage for large crowds have enhanced her singing abilities greatly. As grandparents, we have seen so much growth in Tremyiah over the past 6 years. You can look at her and see that she is feeling the songs that she sings and pulls you into enjoying them too.

As grandparents, we have always enjoyed Tremyiah’s singing. We love to see her smiling or serious expressions on her face and her movements to the beats. She makes us proud.

Wanda & Eugene Montgomery, Tremyiah’s Grandparents


Fueling My Passion

A staff member’s perspective on the JCC

My initial involvement with the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus occurred in 2004 when, as a local private school music educator, I registered a group of singers from my school choir for the first ever First Coast Honors Choir Festival – and my students loved the experience! I continued to be involved with the Honors Choir Festival each year and attended many JCC concerts, intrigued by this growing organization. In the Fall of 2006, Mr. Dailey hired me to conduct the inaugural season of the Training Choir program: the youngest performing choir geared towards 2nd to 5th graders. Over the past fourteen years, I have been blessed and privileged to fill such roles as Training Choir Conductor, Vocal Exploration Instructor, Lyric Choir Conductor, Assistant Conductor for Concert and Touring Choir, Program Manager, and now Treble Choir Conductor. Being part of the JCC staff is professionally fulfilling, hard work at times, but always a pure joy. Working with Mr. Dailey and all of the JCC artistic staff pushes me to continue to grow and develop my craft and, in turn, makes me a better teacher, conductor, and musician. Working with these incredibly talented young musicians fuels my passion for what I do. Being able to observe many of these young people grow and develop as musicians from their beginning in Training Choir or Vocal Exploration, and being promoted through Treble, Concert, Young Men, and Touring Choirs is incredibly stimulating and exciting. As I watch these young people grow up musically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually and then perform with such passion, professionalism, and artistic excellence, I am reminded of why I pursued this career path and am encouraged to keep pressing on.

Some favorite highlights of my time with the JCC thus far have included twice (2008 & 2010) collaborating as a school choral director to bring students to NYC for concerts under Mr. Dailey’s direction, our 2018 trip to sing at the Vatican in Rome, and our 20th anniversary concert with Kristen Chenoweth. While I have seen many changes over the years as The Chorus and the organization have grown, one thing has remained constant - the focus on musical excellence. The Chorus has stayed true to its mission of providing a quality music education to all children who wish to sing. I am excited for the future of the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and grateful to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years holds in store!

Melissa Barnes, Treble & Lyric Choir Conductor


The Meaning of “Children’s Chorus”

A Donor’s Perspective of the JCC

I am writing to you regarding the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, a program directed toward all local children of diverse backgrounds, ages 18 months to 18 years. The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus was founded twenty-five years ago, and to date has successfully engaged children in music theory, voice and performance excellence, leadership skills, as well as positive character traits and personal ethics, all of which they will carry into adulthood through the love and understanding of music…all types of music.   

It is imperative we understand that “Children’s Chorus” are two words which have multiple extremely meaningful definitions. “Children” in any and every aspect of their lives may encounter ‘poverty’ or ‘homelessness’ or ‘illness’ or ‘death’ or ‘education’ or ‘health’ or… the list goes on and on and on. “Chorus” is defined as consensus, accord, concordance and one voice. If people don’t understand the meaning of these two words, then they also would have a problem with the words “giving back.” But, I know we all understand and appreciate what I am saying because you believe, as I do, that it’s all about the children. It is now, it always has been, and it always will be. I often tell people, “If you don’t understand that, then there is no need for us to be dicussing your philanthropic gifts to the agencies that support, enliven, educate, and bring forth the true meaning of life’ for children.” And I’m talking about ALL children, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or ethnicity. If you’re planning for the future, and we all should be, then never forget to include the children when making your plans. Without them, we are nothing.

The people who manage, direct, and fulfill the mission of The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus are filling just one segment of a huge program that will make a greater world for us all, and I have great respect and admiration for what they do. Supporting the agencies that are making a difference in the lives of children, such as what the JCC is doing, is not a “financial obligation” that we must make for “tax purposes”, it is a privilege. It is an honor. It is the way to educate all our children regarding the art of giving back. It is not always about the money. The young people of our Jacksonville Children’s Chorus are giving of themselves to the delight, admiration, and pride of those who benefit from their gift: the talent and beauty they express through song, for which I will always be thankful. 

Supporting children, most particularly at-risk and underserved children, is an obligation we all have to help make their lives more meaningful and our lives more fulfilling. And part of that obligation includes ensuring they are exposed to all aspects of the arts, including vocal music. I respectfully request that you consider a gift to The Children’s Chorus so we can continue the journey of bringing children closer to the meaning, understanding, and love of choral music. 

I send my “thanks” for your consideration, and best wishes for continued good health, long life, and happiness.

Lawrence J. DuBow, DuBow Family Foundation


Shout Out to Our Donors for the Cathedral District

There have been great strides made in revitalizing The Chorus’ downtown home! We have been able to improve the safety and security of our campus, as well as our overall visual appeal. Since beginning this project three years ago, we have come a long way. Lights have been installed in the trees to illuminate our parking lot and timed to turn on at sunset. Our fence has been repaired and brightened with banners to surround the parking lot with pictures and inspirational music-related quotes. And finally, newly constructed garden boxes now border our sidewalks, complete with new landscaping and plants that will continue to grow as we do! Our sincerest gratitude goes to those who labored and provided materials to bring everything to fruition: Liberty Landscape, R&D Landscape, James Wilder, All Pro Asphalt, Mass Media, Good Services LLC, Miller Electric, Holiday Technologies, Warming Tree Service, Gary Coyle & Sons, and local artists Jenny Hagar-Vickery and D. Lance Vickery.

Of course, none of this could have been accomplished without the help of our donors. We would like to extend a special thank you to the Meninak Club of Jacksonville, the Robert & Kay Onstead Foundation, Joan and Preston Haskell, Daniel Davis and Jax Chamber, David and Kathryn McGehee, Fitzhugh Powell with Cecil W. Powell and Company, Joshua Garrison with Miranda Contracting, Dane Grey with Elite Parking Services, Debbie Buckland with BB&T, JoAnn Tredennick and Jack Meeks, and Alexander Sifakis with JWB Real Estate Capital. Your support has allowed us to continue to shine as ambassadors of Jacksonville.  



“I was in the Jacksonville Children's Chorus in 1999-2002. It helped me to build long lasting friendships and a greater love for music. To this day I still remember the fun times and great concerts we did in the JCC. I think this organization is great for children of all ages, it helps build confidence and friendships.”

Bethany, Former Member

“The Chorus expands your musical horizons and helps you grow as a person. You are surrounded with other young people who have something in common…their love of music. I have learned that music does, indeed, bring people and cultures together. The music we sing brings people hope for a better future of understanding and cooperation.”

Jasmine, 16, Touring and Concert Choirs

“JCC truly embodies some of the best qualities of team sports: camaraderie, discipline, patience, persistence, and positive mentoring.”

Wali Gomes, JCC Parent

“Through music and your leadership, these children learn to perform in different languages while experiencing the diversity of an array of world cultures. The understanding they gain will serve them well as they enter adulthood.”

R. Randall Onstead, former President/CEO of Winn-Dixie

“Being a part of the JCC has not only allowed Christian to experience the fun, excitement and pleasure of singing with friends, it has also helped him to develop a sense of confidence that comes from life skills of hard work and perseverance.”

Elaine Bourne, JCC Parent