A year from now, Chloe Thomas of Etta Dale Junior High will travel to Normandy, France, with the rest of the Canterbury Youth Voices to sing at the D-Day Memorial Parade and Salute to the Veterans. This will mark the 76th anniversary of the historic event and the Youth Voices will be the official vocal music group for the ceremonies.
Along with other Oklahoma students in the group, Chloe and her family are raising money to fund the journey.
This will be the young choir group’s first trip out of the country and they couldn’t be more excited.
“France has been on my bucket list since I was little,” said Chloe.
“This opportunity is pretty awesome.”
“We're honored to have been invited,” said Pam Mowry, the group’s executive director. “This will be an adventure for us.”
Canterbury Voices is considered the state’s leading vocal choir. It’s based in Oklahoma City. The organization is divided into youth and adult programs with singers and musicians from all parts of Oklahoma.
They perform classical, folk, operatic and other styles.
The group is partnered with Oklahoma City University and shares the same art director.
During their visit to France, the group of around 100 second- to 12th-graders from the Youth Voices division will sit with the dignitaries and perform two set pieces.
These pieces will be for the ceremony and wreath-laying at the American Ceremonies in both Brittany and Omaha Beach, and the group will also perform in a feature concert.
Though the trip to France will be something new to them, the company of young singers are no strangers to performing for crowds.
They have performed the National Anthem at Thunder games and ice skating competitions in Oklahoma City.
Chloe is the only El Reno student in the group. Her parents said she has exhibited an aptitude for music since she was very young. A few years ago, her music teacher noticed her talents and recommended she join the Canterbury Youth Voices.
Chloe has been a member of the choir for the last five years and her parents are very proud of her.
“We are considerably proud of her talents and dedication,” said her parents, Cody and Jamie Todd. “Especially given how many different clubs, sports and organizations she’s involved in.
“She is able to maintain her positions and extremely good grades as well.”
Chloe is 13 and will be going into the eighth grade. The young performer is a member of the National Honor Society, junior high band and junior high vocal. She is also a cheerleader, a junior high ambassador and president of the FCCLA.
She said music is one of the most important aspects of her life.
“Music is a great way to express your feelings and emotions, and it can be a really amazing career to pursue,” she said.
“Choir is like a different world compared to regular school life. You are surrounded by other people who love music and people who love to sing.”
Chloe can also play the bassoon, piano and percussion instruments.
She and the rest of the Canterbury Youth Voices will be in France in 2020 from June 3-12.
The families of the students are currently raising money to pay for the trip.
It costs about $3,500 for each child, but the Canterbury staff is also raising money to help lower the individual cost and to help pay for the students on scholarships.
Chloe’s mother will be joining her, which adds more to the cost of travel. The goal of the family is to raise $7,500.
Money can be donated by calling Jamie Todd at 405-308-9322. Money can also be deposited into a Bancfirst savings account under the name Chloe Thomas.