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By Maleesa Johnson
Baylor’s about to experience an influx of youth.
Starting at 6 p.m. today, Baylor will host many youth choir members for the Baylor YouthCUE Festival hosted by the Center for Christian Music Studies.
This event is expected to have nearly 400 registered singers and is sponsored by YouthCUE, the nation’s leading church youth choir organization. This will be the eight annual festival that Baylor has hosted.
Baylor graduate student Jason Sensenig who works in the Center for Christian Music Studies said he was excited for the upcoming festival.
“This event provides students and directors a place to join together and to sing music of a greater level of difficulty than they would likely be able to sing in their local congregations,” Sensenig said. “The singers will join with members of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, an opportunity which few students will ever get to have unless they sing in a college environment.”
The YouthCUE festival will come to a close with the Grand Concert on Sunday. The concert will take place at 3 p.m. in the Jones Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
YouthCUE is an organization made to positively influence youth through membership of a youth choir. This interdenominational group now has about 30,000 youth participants.
YouthCUE encompasses 10 Christian denominations and represents youth choirs from 40 states and three other countries. The organizations sole purpose as stated on their website is to “radically impact the lives of youth.” It also hopes to work to further the growth of church and school choirs and is utilized as a connection point for networking between youth choir directors across the nation.
A major part of YouthCUE is its festivals. It has several each year in different regions of the United States and Canada. Choirs from all over the country gather together to participate in these events. Choirs register and learn a common repertoire in advance. During the festival itself, choirs have multiple rehearsals, both section and mass, that culminate in a Grand Concert.
Last year, choirs from as far as California and Louisiana joined the event. Each participant will be included in the Grand Concert, singing with the Baylor Symphony Orchestra. Their fee will cover all festival activities along with several other perks, including Dr Pepper floats.
The festival also has close ties with Baylor as many current and former church music students bring their youth choirs to perform. This year’s repertoire will include songs such as “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Axtell junior tuba player Zach Bridges will join the Baylor Orchestra to play for the choir during the Grand Concert.
This is his third year to be involved with the YouthCUE festival.
“If you just want to come have fun and worship and sing hymns it’s a lot of fun.” Bridges said.
Bridges said the event is a great chance for community involvement as well as a good opportunity for choir members.
“As a middle school or high school kid involved, you get the opportunity to learn a lot of music and that’s a pretty big memory, that’s something that can stick with you for a lifetime,” Bridges said. “I really think they are a great organization and I have enjoyed helping out with my small role as a tuba player.”