NEWTON, NJ - Bristol Glen Retirement and Assisted Living Facility residents were recently treated to a performance by the Bel Canto choir from The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County.  Bel Canto, a group composed of children in grades 1 – 4, performed a variety of pieces and encouraged the elderly residents to sing along to several more.  Many of the songs included hand movements, and 90-year-old resident Nancy Smith was even serenaded in honor of her birthday.

Performing in the community is an integral part of the experience of participating in The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, according to Founding/Artistic Director Debbie Mello. 

“This was a great experience for the kids and residents alike.  Because Bel Canto singers are young, the residents truly enjoyed interacting with them.  It was a bright spot for the residents as well as for our young singers.  Intergenerational singing is mutually beneficial to all.  It promotes comradery, provides for physical participation and encourages overall happiness.," said Mello.

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According to Bristol Glen Volunteer Coordinator Caroline Silva, the residents truly enjoyed the experience.  “Days later the residents are still talking about the children’s performance.  They want them to return again!”

The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County serves school-age children in and around Sussex County, New Jersey, by providing a comprehensive choral music program.  Interested applicants can audition for one of three separate ensembles which perform under the umbrella of the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County:  Bel Canto for beginning singers in grades 1 – 4, Bella Voce for intermediate singers in grades 5 – 8, and Concert Choir for advanced singers in grades 7 – 12. 

The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County has several exciting ventures planned for the upcoming season, including a June concert at Christ Church Newton, and a July trip to Syros, Greece to perform in the Festival of the Aegean.  Summer choral workshops for children in elementary, middle and high school will be offered August 10 through 14.  Rehearsals take place at Christ Episcopal Church, at 62 Main Street in Newton.

For more information about the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, or to schedule an audition, visit