2012-06-23 / News

Florida Youth Choir Performs at Little Stone Church

By James Dau

The Bay County Christian Youth Choir stands in front of Little Stone Church after their concert. The Bay County Christian Youth Choir stands in front of Little Stone Church after their concert. Mackinac Island’s Little Stone Church Monday, June 11, became the sixth stop on the Bay County Christian Youth Choir’s 2012 tour, “On Beauty.” On the afternoon of that beautiful summer day, the choir of 30 singers, between eighth and 12th grades, assembled at the front of the historic sanctuary and performed a series of Christian hymns and contemporary songs, interspersed with readings of beauty as the creation of God.

“We want people to realize that all beauty points to God, that there is beauty because God put it there,” said Nevin Zimmerman, who founded the nonprofit choir with his wife, Gigi, in 2009, to foster a love of music in young people.

“We’ve seen that music education can be so beneficial to young people,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

The choir practices weekly at the Zimmerman home in Panama City, Florida, and represents the students of five high schools and 15 churches of various denominations. Once each year, the choir embarks on a summer tour that takes it far from home. The choir performed this year in Nashville and Indianapolis, then crossed into Michigan to perform at Zeeland, Holland, and Traverse City before coming to Mackinac Island. Following their stay on the Island, the choir performed at Cedarville before continuing to St. Louis, Missouri, Memphis, Tennessee, Columbus, Mississippi, and Montgomery, Alabama.

“It’s exhausting and crazy,” said choir chaperone and soloist Ashley Rader, “but it’s worth it, spreading our message to all these people.”

Their concert Monday was attended by many people, both residents and visitors, and the energy of the choir was evident.

“The great thing is that the kids all want to be here,” Ms. Rader explained. “We take anyone who wants to join, there’s no auditions and we never let money be an obstacle to the kids participating. We find ways to allow them to develop their musical talents.”

Following their performance, the choir spent the remainder of their day bicycling around Mackinac Island.

“Since we came here, it’s been wonderful,” Ms. Rader said. “It’s even prettier than Florida, sometimes.”

“It’s been a great tour so far,” added Mr. Zimmerman, affectionately known by his choir members as Diz, short for Dominating Zimmerman, in recognition of his skills on the basketball court. “We’ll be home again in a week, and we start rehearsals again. I’m just so proud of these kids who’ve taken one night out of each week to make this a reality.”

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