Building bridges with the Fox Cities Choral Music Festival

Each year the Fox Cities Choral Music Festival provides three local high school choirs the unique opportunity to share in an educational journey together and to experience the joy that spurs from the creation of art. Under the guidance of nationally recognized conductors, the students learn, collaborate and create beautiful music together.
While we often focus on the amazing experiences these students receive throughout the day, there’s also an amazing performance available to the public at the end of the night displaying all of their hard work and providing the community an opportunity to share in their joy.
This year, a special group of patrons who will be watching will be from the Fox Valley Memory Project.
The Fox Valley Memory Project (FVMP) is a group that strives to create a community where people with dementia can be accepted, understood and supported. Lynn Ann Clausing Rusch, a program coordinator who organizes social activities for the organization, reached out to the Center requesting scholarship tickets (available by request to the Center to assist those who may not be financially able to enjoy these arts experiences) to a performance featuring music.
“The ability to enjoy music by singing or playing and/or listening remains long after many other abilities diminish as dementia progresses” Rusch said. “Music is an excellent way to reach beyond dementia and make a personal connection.  Music evokes emotion and often triggers long term memories. It is a moving experience to witness the emotions and personal connection as care partners share the joy of music with their loved ones as they sing along, tap their foot or smile.”
Rusch will bring a group of approximately 20 from FVMP to see the 13th Annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival.
“In addition to the great music and the opportunity to listen to our talented youth, we appreciate the opportunity to attend as a group,” Rusch said. “Many of our participants have formed special bonds of friendship and support each other throughout this life journey.  Just like everybody else, it is always more fun to attend an event with good friends.”
“We are thrilled to be able to provide the Fox Cities Choral Music Festival not only as a learning opportunity for students, but also as a dynamic performance in our season for the community,” said director of programming and community engagement Amy Gosz. “The arts have the amazing power to build bridges between different segments of our community so everyone can come together and share in an exceptional experience and this year is another demonstration of just that. We are excited to welcome the Fox Valley Memory Project as just one group of many that will join us for this year’s culminating performance featuring talented local high school students.”
This year’s performance features students from Kaukauna, Neenah and Oshkosh North High Schools performing pieces as individual choirs and ends with all three schools performing pieces together under the direction of guest conductor Francisco Núñez from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
“The opportunity to listen to young performers gives our group both joy and hope. Seeing these young people perform may bring back memories of our own youth,” Rusch said. “This experience will also allow us to see the potential in our young persons and feel positive about the future of our community.”
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