In September of 2002 a shy 7-year-old walked into an empty room and sang Happy Birthday to a panel of people. She was timid and not at all skilled in the art of singing, she didn’t really know who she was or what she was doing in that room, and she definitely didn't know that her whole world was about to change for the better.
By Fall of 2002 the T.O.Y.S. choir, led at the time by Joy Bell and Joan Boarden, was well established within the community and sought after as a form of entertainment for events in Orangeville, and often beyond. Just a few years prior, in 1997, the choir had the opportunity to sing with Donny Osmond in the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Throughout the years this shy singer had her own opportunities to perform in front of live audiences with the T.O.Y.S. choir, including Santa Claus parades, Galas and Fundraising events, as well as the 2009 Orangeville Olympic Torch Relay Celebration. But what truly sparked this 7-year-old's passion for performance and theatre were the T.O.Y.S. Spring shows.
As the demand to see the incredible T.O.Y.S. choir grew, the need to give them their own shows on the Theatre Orangeville stage became quite apparent. Members of the choir worked hard under their choir directors to produce their own spring show featuring songs from all walks of life such as Broadway hits, Disney sing-alongs and even classic hits from current top music charts to blasts from the pasts.
From its inception in 1994 to current times T.O.Y.S. participants not only learn whole group numbers but are often split into small groups, duets, and solo acts. They learn choreography and movement that complements their songs and are given costumes and props that also help express the theme of the shows.
The choir is responsible for learning not only how to sing and perform in costumes and with props but also how to captivate an audience. In the week leading up to the performances, they work with the Theatre Orangeville professional production team to elevate the show using all the bells and whistles like by adding in set and lighting.
The spring session is a true show choir experience that not only provides the choir members with opportunities to grow their singing skills but pushes them towards a full theatrical experience on the big stage in front of live audiences! Giving them a professional look at theatre, growing their skills and uniting them as a choir as they collaboratively strive to deliver an incredible performance.
More importantly, these talented singers gain skills that will help them in many facets of life no matter where they end up. They will make memories that stick with them for 20 years and beyond, and gain friendships that last forever.
And as for that shy 7-year-old... well she's pretty confident that the above paragraph reigns true, often reminiscing on her T.O.Y.S. days and grateful for all she gained from that experience and how it has led her to where she is today. She’s all grown now, writing this blog post from her desk as Program Coordinator that she sits at to organize programs for Theatre Orangeville, one of them being the T.O.Y.S. choir.
So from a past member to hopefully a future one, I encourage you to enroll in this program and give choral singing a chance. You never know where it might lead you, perhaps in 20 years you’ll be tasked with writing your own blog post about the Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers.
For more information about the program, you can email Kait by clicking her profile below, or visit the Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers page here: https://www.theatreorangeville.ca/academy-programs/theatre-orangeville-youth-singers