Holy Cross Parish
Since it was created in the early 1990s, the Holy Cross Children’s Choir, along with their Marimba Ensemble and Mariachi Band, has provided young people with the opportunity to develop their musical talent and cultural awareness through music education while keeping them off the streets and positively engaged. Arts programs help by reducing truancy, improving academic performance, and building communication, self-discipline, and job skills. Artistic expression can also help at-risk young people see they have something of value to contribute to their community.
At their weekly choir practice, the 30–45 singers learn music by ear to make sure the process of learning each new song is fun and fast. The Children's Choir sings at Sunday Mass and occasionally gives free concerts around the Chicago area.
Having performances outside of the Back of the Yards neighborhood, a community that struggles with poverty and violence and has seen a 10% increase in crime in recent years, gives the young participants a vision of the possibilities beyond their neighborhood, making them aware of new possibilities that exist for their future. The choir members have the chance to see new places, meet new people, and have a variety of experiences that may motivate them to set new goals.
Along with these outside performances, parish staff and choir leaders regularly organize outings and activities for the group’s participants to keep them committed, active, and motivated. Though lively and fun, these activities are always connected to learning and development.