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The Bennington Children's Chorus was started in 1987 by Barbara Kourajian. Kourajian had been an accompanist to a children's choir in Montana as well as a high school choral director there before she moved to Vermont in 1985. While working in admission at Southern Vermont College, Kourajian found she really missed music and, with the help of the van der Linde family, she recruited students for a children's chorus. The Bennington Children's Chorus met for its first rehearsal in February of 1987 and gave its first performance three months later.
Kerry Ryer-Parke, who majored in music at Bennington College, took over as director in 1995. She continued Kourajian's tradition of emphasizing quality music, including classical, fold and traditional pieces, written for treble voices. With both junior and senior ensembles, the chorus has performed hundreds of songs in multiple languages in dozens of venues. Countless children between the ages of seven and eighteen have been introduced to the intricacies of rhythm, the beauty of lyrics and the joy of mastering a challenging series of notes during their time with the Bennington Children's Chorus.
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