I have always been a huge supporter of the arts. Having grown up in the 80’s, all of the schools I attended encouraged art, drama, dance, and music. I remember having a piano in one of my classes, and the teacher would actually play it daily! I had another teacher who knew how to play the guitar, and she would sing songs to us as well. Sadly, those days are long gone. Although, in the defense of many schools, music, art, and drama are still present, it’s just different now. So, sometimes if a child has a love for music or singing, parents look elsewhere for their children to develop their passion more. This was kind of the case for Eleni Stratigos.
Eleni just started as a Freshman at Pepperdine University, where she’s studying choir and vocal performance. Growing up she loved to sing. She took vocal lessons during elementary school, and then the summer before Junior High she went to a Bach Children’s Choir summer camp. She wasn’t so sure about attending at first, but with her mother’s encouragement, she went. Little did she know at the time, but that was the beginning of a 6 year relationship with the choir. I spoke with Eleni a couple of days ago, and I loved hearing her story on how she made lifelong friends through the Bach Children’s Choir.
As a hidden treasure of Fresno, Bach Children’s Choir is starting their 13th season. As the name suggests, Bach Children’s Choir is a choir that is made up of students ages 5-18. They currently have 165 students, but are always looking for more. They teach the fundamentals of music theory, matching pitch, and performance etiquette. The older students have traveled to Germany, Washington DC, and other parts of the country to perform. They have performed locally with the Fresno Philharmonic and Fresno Community Band. So what sets this choir apart from others? I would say community involvement. The choir performs for many events, organizations, and businesses around town. They’ve gone to retirement living facilities, performed for Breast Cancer walks, non-profit organizations, and even private parties. They reach out to our community, and try to uplift people through song. What’s more, is that they love to share this joy with others.
It’s the love of the community that helps Bach Children’s Choir stand out. Not only that, but they have formed a community within themselves. This is something that was important to Eleni. From the very moment she became part of the choir, she began to make friends. Over the years the relationships she formed became stronger. The choir traveled together. They went on performances, as well as retreats. Eleni said that the companionship was “most valuable” to her. Being in Bach Children’s Choir helped to prepare her for college as well. Overtime she took on leadership roles in the choir. She grew musically. She told me that she wouldn’t be the same person if she hadn’t been in the choir. The choir has inspired her for college, grad school, and her future career. This is an organization that fosters a love for music, shares that love with others, and then helps to form lifelong relationships. These are all qualities that I can wholeheartedly stand behind.
The new season for Bach Children’s Choir starts September 8th, and they are holding auditions (to get an idea for placement) Saturday the 5th, as well as throughout the next few weeks. Also, they have scholarships available for those students who need financial assistance. They are based on need and available funds. If you’re interested in enrolling your child, please call them at 226-6500. Check them out on Facebook as well, to keep up with all the latest happenings!
*I’d like to thank Suzanne for the pictures, and Eleni for sharing her story. She truly loves Bach Children’s Choir, and credits where she’s at today to the experiences she had in the choir. I’m so happy this hidden gem is here in Fresno! I’m also so happy for having met (albeit over the phone) Eleni-I love meeting new FresYes people!