Summer performances are wrapped up and it seems like school is suddenly just around the corner! Voices for the Performing Arts is busily preparing for the new year and looking forward to welcoming back students.

On stage is the annual fall musical for 4th-12th graders. This year, VPA will present Disney’s Peter Pan Jr! In the words of J.M. Barrie the playwright, “So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!” With the help of Tinker Bell and her friends, Peter Pan and the children  cross paths with the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily and the Indians, Mermaids (you may recognize Ariel’s sisters!) and the infamous Captain Hook! But every volunteer and cast member will tell you the truly magical part is making new friends, learning songs and dances, watching confidence bloom, and being filled with happy thoughts day after day. Auditions will be September 8th-9th. Performances are October 15th-17th at the Sherwood Center for the Arts. Community volunteers for set building and other aspects of the production are encouraged to contact VPA. All you need is faith, trust, and pixie dust!

Also getting started are the year-long choir and strings programs. The choir and strings teachers are passionate about making music meaningful in students’ lives. The program offers choirs for students 4th-12th grade including an all boys choir, two traditional all girls choirs and three show choirs. Weekly rehearsals develop students’ vocal training through fun and challenging songs in a variety of genres, from Pop and Show tunes to Classical and South African spirituals. Each of the choirs have unique sounds and opportunities for growth that can fulfill student’s interests as well as complement choirs from school or church. The VPA also offers an adult choir for experienced singers to learn fun and challenging music in a relaxed community setting. Auditions for all choirs are September 10th.

The strings program has classes for violin, viola, cello, and bass. Students get to experience the joy of music while learning proper playing technique and playing in an ensemble. A recent article in the online newsletter Brain Pickings states, “Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout… And, as in any other workout, disciplined, structured practice in playing music strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities…” Sign ups for theater, choir, and strings are available at vpafoundation.org along with information about the directors and classes.