Unity brings city youth together
Arts foundation accepting singers into youth choir
Unity Performing Arts Foundation is looking to make their voices heard.
The organization dedicated to developing leaders through the arts is accepting new students for their award-winning Voices of Unity Youth Choir until Monday, Oct. 31.
“We’re more than just a choir,” program manager Mikki Curry said.
Building a foundation
Though it was officially established in May 2000, the seed that would grow to become Unity was planted in Marshall White’s mind in 1993. Noticing a lack of Black students taking part in arts programs in schools, he set out to create something that would attract young people from all walks of life.
Following meetings and committees, Unity was formed and was given rehearsal space for the youth choir at what was then IPFW, before being granted permanent space in Rhinehart Music Center in 2008.
Since the Unity Voice Choir was established in 2001, its first concert being June 16-17, Unity Performing Arts Foundation has only grown, adding creative writing, dance, public speaking, piano, and step programs, which are operated out of the Ivy Tech Community College’s North Anthony campus.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for parents,” Curry said.
Rising with purpose
Realizing the important work they do, Unity continued to reach out to youth during the pandemic, but like so many organizations, enrollment suffered.
“We continued to work with kids, but I think we were all in a place where we were unable to do what we wanted to do for kids,” Curry said. “We still continued, doing a hybrid kind of thing, but we lost several of our students, just like a lot of (organizations) did.”
Looking to recharge, Unity is making a push to fill their programs.
“We have a new theme this year, which is Rising With Purpose,” Curry said. “It’s kind of a rebuilding initiative, a plan to kind of fuel the renewal of Unity.”
Enrollment began Sept. 6, with an annual fee $60 giving students much more than music lessons.
“They provide that positive and empowering environment,” Curry said of the organization. “We have a saying, ‘Excellence and nothing less.’ We use that a lot, because it’s so important.”
Numbers bouncing back
Curry said the latest enrollment drive is doing well.
“We are seeing an increase,” she said. “Our numbers are steadily going up, and that’s a very good sign. We’re looking to really build up our numbers so we’re really able to perform and sing again, like we’re used to doing. We’re in the process right now, but we’re still looking for those awesome, talented students. Those students that have a love and a passion for music.”
Curry said choir rehearsals are on Saturdays and Sundays. Parents are encouraged to hang around.
On top of rehearsals, the children also have plenty of opportunities to engage with one another and learn good character traits along the way.
“We have lots of activities and lots of events to be able to give our students a base to come and enjoy and make connections that are very important,” Curry said.
“There are weekly rehearsals, which are awesome and have a standard,” she added. “Parents are allowed to be a part of those. We have seats for parents to come in. Also, at the end of this month, we’re having a Harvest Party, which is a dance party. We’re going to be giving away some cool prizes for most popular costume and various things like that.”
For more information or to enroll, go to upaf.com.