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Local Chorus for Children and Teens Seeks New Members

Auditions for the Children's Chorus of Sussex County are now open. Credits: Melanie Vanni

The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County (CCSC), a comprehensive choral music program which serves children and teens in northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania, is seeking new members.  CCSC features a Musikgarten program for children ages 5 and 6, the Bella Voce choir for beginning singers ages 7 - 13, and the Concert Choir for advanced singers ages 12 - 18.  A Young Men’s Ensemble was launched last season for boys, grades 7 – 12, with changed voices. 

Rehearsals for Musikgarten, Bella Voce and Concert Choir ensembles take place on Wednesdays at Christ Church, 62 Main Street, in Newton; the Young Men’s Ensemble and the Concert Choir meet at the same venue on Sunday evenings.  Auditions are not required for the Musikgarten program, although they are required for participation in Bella Voce, Concert Choir and the Young Men’s Choir.  Auditions are open by appointment through September for the Young Men’s Ensemble, Concert Choir and Bella Voce. 

Interested participants are invited to attend an Open House to learn more; the Concert Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble will host an Open House on Sunday, September 24th, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.  Bella Voce will host an Open House on Wednesday, September 27th, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.  A free Musikgarten class will be held on Wednesday, September 13th, 5:30 – 6:20 p.m.

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Founded in the fall of 1990, the CCSC ensembles are known for their dedication, teamwork and artistic excellence.  The choristers pursue an ambitious schedule, performing at a variety of venues throughout the area; students in the Concert Choir have also traveled extensively throughout the Americas and Europe. 


Musikgarten, an early childhood music and movement program for five and six-year-old children, is held on Wednesday afternoon. Classes are scheduled to start on September 27th; a free music class will be held on Wednesday, September 13th for children ages 4 – 6 who are interested in sampling the course.  Parents are encouraged to participate in the last ten minutes of each class. 


The Musikgarten program will be directed by professional pianist and early childhood music and movement specialist Diana Greene.  The Young Men’s Ensemble will be directed by former music educator and longtime professional choral conductor Joe Mello.  All other choirs are directed by CCSC Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Mello.


The various ensembles which comprise CCSC pursue an ambitious schedule.  During the upcoming season, Bella Voce will participate in the Children’s Choir Festival at Montclair State University alongside the Newark Boychoir, Princeton Girlchoir and the New Jersey Youth Chorus.  Bella Voce will also perform John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas” with the Celts at the Newton Theatre in December.  All choirs will perform at a holiday concert in December and at a spring concert in June.  In addition, several singers have been selected to perform with the American Choral Director’s All-Eastern Honor Choir.  Both the Young Men’s Ensemble and the Concert Choir will be on tour during the summer, 2018.


CCSC has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Washington National Cathedral, and at the White House.  The choirs have also toured internationally, with performances at Smetana Hall, Prague; San Severin, Paris; the American Ambassador’s residence, Brussels; The Vatican, Rome; and St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, among other locales.


Funding for the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County has been made available in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Block Grant Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council.  To register a child for the Musikgarten program, or to schedule an audition for the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, contact Deborah Mello at 973-383-4323 or at  For information about the organization, visit

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