Choir and Music Program
We have three after-school music teachers, two of whom play in the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra, who help out with the choir and instrument lessons (which include guitar, piano, violin, and voice). The IHMS Children’s Choir is composed of second through eighth grade students with ages ranging from eight to twelve. The members who joined the inaugural year had no prior choral background and had very limited musical skills. However, their dedication, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn caught the attention of their director who was convinced of their potential and vowed to train them. Under the auspices of the choir’s founding artistic director, Christopher Avendaño, the children underwent trainings that developed their vocal skills and fostered their love of choral music. It was not long before the fledgling choir was transformed into a dynamic youth ensemble with a diverse repertoire. In addition to the classical and traditional church hymns, the choir now sings
contemporary and popular pieces as well.
In November 2011, the IHM Children’s Choir was invited to perform at the First National Assembly of Filipino-American Priests held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. While remaining an integral part of the church’s liturgy, the children also find time to share their talent with the community by performing in various festivals, conventions, and fundraising events. The children were also involved in benefit concerts aimed at helping the less fortunate. In December 2011, accompanied by the acclaimed Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), they performed in a fundraising concert coordinated by ABS-CBN Foundation in Panorama City that raised funds for typhoon victims. They were again invited to be one of the special guests in a similar concert on February 2012 in the City of Cerritos, this time performing with the renowned Colburn Chamber Orchestra.
The IHM Children’s Choir competed at the Seventh World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio in July of 2012. The World
Choir Games, which was formerly known as the Choir Olympics, is the largest choir competition in the world and it was the first time that the United States hosted this event. In April 2012 issue of St. Anthony Messenger, the widely circulated national magazine featured the IHMS Children’s Choir on its front cover and centerfold. The accompanying article highlighted them as the “only U.S. Catholic elementary school that will compete in this summer’s World Choir Games.” The students won two silver medals for the categories of Young Children's Choirs and Music of Religions. Immaculate Heart of Mary School believes that choir activities promote Christian values and has acknowledged the children’s choir as an important component of its music program.
School plays are performed three times a year. In December, Kindergarten through Third Grade students participate in the Christmas play. Fourth through Eighth Grade students sing Christmas songs at the end of the play. For Holy Week, the
Seventh and Eighth Grade students participate in the Passion Play. Fourth through Sixth Grade students participate in a spring play. Theater and drama help in developing public speaking skills, improvisational skills, leadership, and self-confidence.