Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chester Children's Chorus Honors MLK at Calvary Baptist Church Fri Jan 17

Chester Children’s Chorus Honors Dr. King’s Legacy

Popular children’s group kicks off local celebrations with a public performance at historic Calvary Baptist Church in Chester PA where Dr. King began his legacy on Friday, January 17, at 7p.m.

Chester, PA, January 10, 2014 – The Chester Children’s Chorus (CCC) @ Swarthmore College, a co-ed chorus of 140 talented youth, offers local children aged 8-18 an opportunity to achieve musical and academic excellence.  To celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and draw attention to ongoing civil rights struggles, CCC will perform at Chester’s historic Calvary Baptist Church, 1616 W 2nd St, Chester, PA 19013 on Friday, January 17, at 7 p.m. The performance will kick off local Martin Luther King Day celebrations and will feature original music and a special tribute to Dr. King.

Founded in 1994 by Dr. John Alston, The Chester Children’s Chorus provides members with singing, music theory, dance, and instrumental instruction and spans classical, gospel, and other musical styles. In recent years, CCC performances have become a popular weekend ticket, attracting standing room only and racially and economically diverse audiences throughout Delaware County. CCC student and Chester resident Rashad Rawls, 11 ascribes CCC’s popularity to members’ dedication to each other and love of good music. “We sing really good music that brings people joy and that’s why so many different types of people see us. We sing everything from pop to classical and people know that we’re a family.” Dr. Alston adds, “When our children sing, they know that their excellence makes their community a better place. And when people hear us sing, they know that excellence is possible in Chester.”

Dr. Alston knows first hand the power of music and the arts in transforming lives. He comments that his own life was transformed when he joined the Newark Boys Chorus as a youngster. Because the city of Chester, near Swarthmore, reminded him of the tough neighborhood where he grew up, Dr. Alston was determined to use his talents as a teacher, conductor, and singer to offer the children of Chester the same opportunity to change their lives through music that the Newark Boys Chorus had given him.

Empowered by his personal history, Dr. Alston has emerged as a respected advocate for art instruction in schools and the improvement of Chester - Pennsylvania’s oldest and most impoverished city. In 2005, Dr. Alston, joined by several members of the Swarthmore community, established The Chester Fund, a non-profit organization committed to expanding arts instruction in Chester’s schools. In September 2012, The Chester Fund opened the Chester Charter School for the Arts, a K-7 school committed to arts-infused education.  For Rev. Dr. Bayard Taylor, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, the CCC’s Friday performance at his church is inspiring and historical. “I truly believe the social consciousness of the Civil Rights movement began right here at Calvary Baptist Church in Chester. This event reminds our children of the significance of Chester and introduces them to the reality that they may be the next Dr. Martin Luther King or Barack Obama."

For more information on Chester Children’s Chorus Tribute to Dr. King and future events, please contact Kirsten Halker-Kratz at(610) 328-8180 or email

The Chester Children’s Chorus @ Swarthmore College: The Chester Children’s Chorus uses music as a vehicle to offer children who live in the Chester-Upland School District the opportunity to expand their intellectual and cultural horizons and strengthen their life skills. 

The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts: The mission of The Chester Fund for is to provide children in Chester with a world-class education:  one that combines academic rigor with artistic creativity; encourages personal responsibility; and addresses the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of each child.

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