It's pretty warm outside, but the Savannah Children's Choir Summer Camp has been preparing young singers for next fall and winter.
"We are having so much fun at camp," says SCC's executive director Cuffy Sullivan. "We're recording our first-ever CD of holiday music this year."
To prepare for upcoming fall and winter events, the SCC already is working on the big songs they will perform.
"We have a real good mix of some old favorites and a couple of other fun songs we're going to add to the repertoire," Sullivan says.
To celebrate, the choir will present an end of camp concert July 26. Titled "Winter in July," it will feature music the campers learned over the previous two weeks.
There are 100 children attending the camp, broken down into five classes of 20 each who are studying sight reading, music history, theory, breathing techniques and movement. There's also an elective class in music business.
"That's setting up the theme for the whole year, which is 'Careers in Music,'" Sullivan says. "They're learning how to professionally introduce themselves, how to shake hands and look the other person in the eye, how to dress, how to set a table, manners and etiquette.
"We do all these things that are much more than music," she says. "These are great life skills."
The class also is helping the students learn how to do fundraising. There will be a lot of that this year because the SCC Premier Choir will travel to Austria and Prague.
With VOICExperience and other community programs, older singers now have educational opportunities, Sullivan says. The SCC helps children get a head start.
"There's great things happening for older musicians, but none of them are teaching second-graders how to read music," Sullivan says. "I feel we're at the beginning of the continuum of creating lifelong musicians who can participate in these wonderful activities that are coming to Savannah."
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Children's Choir End of Camp Concert
When: 7 p.m. July 26
Where: Asbury Memorial United Methodist, 1008 E. Henry St.
The camp also is the audition process used to select SCC members.
"What we're seeing are the kids who are really interested and want to be here," Sullivan says. "Those are the kids who at the end of two weeks will get a letter inviting them to join the choir."
The camp is taught by instructors from colleges across the country.
"It offers the same number of instructional hours as our entire fall-to-spring choir season," says Emmy Williams, SCC's director of education.
"During this time, we're able to evaluate each child individually, not only for their musical ability but their interest," she says. "We're also able to identify which of the three choirs - Primary, Preparatory or Premier - would be the best fit should they be invited to join the SCC."
Selection of choir members will be particularly crucial this year.
"Because we're preparing to go into the recording studio this fall to record a CD of holiday music, we wanted to get a head start introducing the music at summer camp," says Roger Moss, SCC artistic director.
The SCC has launched a Kickstarter crowdsource program to raise funds for the CD.
"Our goal is to raise $5,000, and we already have a number of pledges," Sullivan says.
"We hope to have the hard costs of the CD paid for before we enter the studio," she says. "Sponsors get great perks, including the finished CD."
The SCC's 2013-14 season will kick off Oct. 18 with the Vienna Boys Choir in concert at St. John the Baptist Cathedral. Tickets are available now at www.savannahboxoffice.com.
Concerts and other benefits will take place, including "A Night in Vienna" on Nov. 16, organized by Metropolitan Opera bass/baritone Keith Miller, who will be joined on stage by mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques-Eddy and tenor Tommy Wazelle.
The evening also will feature soprano Melissa Zapin and composer and producer Dina Finai, both of whom will conduct a week-long residency focused on music business with the SCC.
"It's important for the community to come out to the end of camp concert," Moss says. "This group of campers is the very start of the choir that will represent us internationally by the end of our season. You will love their performance now, but you're not going to believe the choir they'll evolve into by next June."