“O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain!’’
Their voices strong and clear, members of Trinity Community Children’s Choir in Uniontown sang “America, the Beautiful’’ for an appreciative audience at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Uniontown.
Brothers Jude and Dimitri Krysak 8 years old and 7 years old, respectively, and Jack Palya, 6, all of Uniontown, enjoyed themselves as the choir recently made its first public appearance at Trinity’s Second Saturday, a casual, family-friendly monthly service that is held in the social hall with food, worship and a mission project.
Members of Trinity’s adult chancel choir sang with the youths to offer support and the children joined the chancel choir for songs that included, “Onward Christian Soldiers,’’ during this November service that honored veterans and celebrated patriotism, ending with creating care packages for the military.
The children’s choir has about a dozen members and is open to youths in first through eighth grade throughout the area.
“We welcome more members at any time because we’re hoping to grow,’’ said Brett Vanderlaan, director.
Vanderlaan, of California, who also serves as Trinity’s organist, explained the children’s choir began in 2018 under a former director of music. Vanderlaan and Bill Dreucci, current music director, began working at Trinity in December 2018 as a decision was being made to transform the children’s church-based choir into a community choir.
Flyers were distributed to elementary schools in the Uniontown area, but Vanderlaan said anyone can join. There are no auditions and no fees or dues.
“The idea is to have an after-school program to give the children some exposure to singing and learning music skills and theory in a Christian environment,’’ said Vanderlaan, noting practices include a brief Bible message or story, snack and fellowship. “Hopefully, we’re supplementing what they’re getting in school.’’
Funding is provided by Trinity, which also offers its chapel for rehearsals from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, as well as a grant from the Community Foundation of Fayette County.
The public will have another opportunity to hear the children as the choir performs during Fayette County Community Action’s 11th annual Magic and Mistletoe on Dec. 7 at the Fayette County Courthouse.
The children will perform about 6:30 p.m. at the end of the Beesontown Singers’ first set, in the hallway space of the rotunda on the second floor near the entrance to Judge Nancy Vernon’s courtroom.
Vanderlaan noted, “We are open to being asked to sing at different events.’’
The Rev. James Gear, Trinity pastor, said of Vanderlaan, “He has a great vision for this and we’re glad he’s doing it. It’s a way to bless the community with having kids sing.’’
Lacey Krysak, mother of Jude and Dmitri, said, “Everyone here is friendly. It’s nice and doesn’t cost anything. Brett is very nice with the children and very patient. They get nice feedback from the congregation.’’
Jude said, “I really like to sing and everyone here is very kind.’’
Dimitri remarked, “Singing with everyone else helps me learn to sing.’’
Lauren Palya, Jack’s mother, said, “I think it’s really cool they’re learning the old hymns and patriotic songs, and that they’re being preserved and taught to kids.’’
Dreucci said, “We’re just so pleased this is working out for Brett and the parents are responding and bringing their children. I foresee some wonderful things for the children’s choir.’’
More information is available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 724-437-2709 or Vanderlaan at 301-919-1835.