PERU — Brenda Smith approached Ron Goddeau about organizing a Catholic youth choir after then-Pope Benedict XVI announced the “Year of Faith” in November 2012.
“People across the world were trying to do something unique to celebrate our faith,” Smith said. “That’s how the whole Joyful Youth Choir came to be. This weekend is a culmination of the ‘Year of Faith’ idea we have in the Keeseville-Peru area.”
The Joyful Youth Choir will give free performances at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Augustine’s Church in Peru and 7 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Church in Keeseville.
“It’s something that we’re trying to involve the youth with music,” Smith said. “To our knowledge, it’s never been done before. It’s never been tried.”
The choir began rehearsing contemporary Christian music in early May.
“We met once a week for 12 weeks,” Smith said. “The kids have worked pretty hard. I thought one of the nicest things was two young men never sang a note before they joined up. We started out with 30 kids. We ended up with 16 kids. For such a small, small group, we have enough kids for all sopranos, altos, tenors and baritones.”
Dennis Frisbie, a pianist and conductor, was recruited for dual duty for the fledgling choir.
“Dennis has worked with kids years and years,” Smith said. “He has this joyful way about him, and the kids connect with him. It seemed like it was a perfect match.”
Choir selections include “Glory Bound,” a round that weaves “This Train,” “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”
“Some of them are very inexperienced singers,” Frisbie said. “We have one or two elementary-age (students) to a senior in high school.”
The youth were challenged to prepare and give a concert before the start of a new school year.