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      Choir camp teaches music skills, joys

      The Annual Amarillo Youth Choir Vocal Camp drew 140 children to The Church at Quail Creek Saturday.

      The one-day camp is held the third Saturday in January and offers classes that teach children about music- Singing As One, Moving To Music, Opera and See It, Sing It, Live It! Fourth through sixth graders spent their day preparing for the recital that was held that afternoon for parents and the public.

      "We feel like there are a lot of young, potential budding musicians here in this area," Amarillo Youth Choir Executive Director Katrina Perales said, "and, so, it is our goal that they are sparked, that they are ignited with the passion of music."

      Some of the kids learned amateur skills while others polished the talent they have had for years.

      "I want to make a career out of performing and singing and dancing," 14-year-old Cassi Gardner said. "And if I can't do that, I'd love to be a teacher and teach other people."

      Gardner said she has been singing since "before she could talk," and she hopes to pursue a career on Broadway.

      "I love it because it's a great way to escape the world and anything that I'm feeling inside I can take it out into the songs I'm singing. And it's a great way to show the feelings that I have."

      According to Perales, music plays a vital role in the lives of all who practice it, and that was the message she was hoping the camp would send to the children who participated.

      "If we can touch on that little aspect in these young people," she said, "then we create a society that enjoys music, that enjoys the performing arts and continues that tradition in generations to come."