Soon the sounds of children singing will fill the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Covington, as the Oxford Singing Children and Oxford Youth Singers begin another season of rehearsals.
Choir Director Mary Lynn Luke and Assistant Director Eva Bone are holding auditions this week for the programs, which are sponsored by the Arts Association in Newton County.
Abigail Coggin, young artists program director for the Arts Association, said Oxford Singing Children began in 1991 as one of the association's original youth programs. The Oxford Youth Singers followed almost a decade later, beginning in 2000.
"The youth program has really grown in the last couple of years because we've tried to cultivate our relationship with the local school choirs," Coggin said.
First directed by Melissa and Scott Daniel, Coggin said the choirs have grown in popularity since their beginning.
"The staff members of that program just make it so successful," Coggin said.
Oxford Singing Children is open to boys and girls in fourth through seventh grades. Students in eighth through 12th grade may audition for Oxford Youth Singers.
Coggin said both programs were designed to enhance the musicianship skills taught in the schools and give talented children and teenagers opportunities to perform and explore on-stage and off-stage elements of the choral arts and theatre.
Both choirs will rehearse for a performance at the annual Christmas in Covington event scheduled for the first weekend in December at First United Methodist Church.
"They do a large variety of holiday classics," Coggin said.
In the spring the choirs collaborate on a musical. Last year the groups put on the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, "Oklahoma." This April the choirs will stage the famous Broadway and box office hit, "Guys and Dolls."
The Oxford Singing Children Rehearse from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Oxford Youth Singers rehearse from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays at First Presbyterian Church on Clark Street.
Program dues are $250.
While scheduled auditions end Thursday, Coggin said arrangements could be made by phone before the start of rehearsals on Sept. 4 by calling (770) 786-8188 x11 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.