The Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami performed with gospel singer Yolanda Adams at the 2020 Super Bowl, where they sang “America The Beautiful.” The nonprofit was established in 2011 to provide children from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with superb music education. They started with 21 singers, but there are now 75 participants.
“Its programs aim to foster cognitive and social development, essential life skills, and a sense of good citizenship,” their website says. “Students are exposed to unique experiences that promote diversity, musical development, and personal growth.”
Their performance will be featured on a “revolutionary” new visual album, called Super Bowl LIV Live. It was released on Super Bowl Sunday and includes performances Demo Lovato, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. The live album is available on digital service providers, like Spotify, YouTube, Tidal and Apple Music. Each performance will be available moments after it happened live.
“This visual and audio album is the first of its kind and will allow fans to experience the greatness of the artists’ performance on Super Bowl Sunday at their fingertips and across multiple platforms anytime they choose so. We are happy to continue the way we enhance the fan experience for NFL fans everywhere,” Brian Rolapp, EVP and Chief Media & Business Officer, said in a press release. “With the abundance of technology in today’s world, it was extremely important to us that we are able to share the ground-breaking Super Bowl performances with our fans across the globe after they occur.”
To find out more about Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami, continue reading below for five fast facts:
The Chorus Aims To Empower Young Singers
Founded by Jamie Perez Sutta, who also serves as the artistic director, the Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami wants each child to be the best version of themselves. The chorus shared a “behind the scenes” video to YouTube in July where they talked about the mission of the camp.
“One of the things we strive to do through all of our activities is help the child grow and learn as a person in general—definitely in their musicianship skills—but also in their personal skills and this is something we focus on during our choral camp,” Sutta says in the YouTube video.
The children do much more than sing. They dance, they’re creative write songs, do arts and crafts and much more, camp choral director Laura Merisier explained. “We really try to give them the most well rounded musical experience we can provide,” she says in the clip.
They Make Music Videos
One of the things the students do at the camp is to learn how to make music videos. This year, they worked with musician Alejandro Elizondo, who helped the students write a song.
The day before their Super Bowl performance, the group’s Instagram page announced the video would be released soon. “We collaborated with @alejandroelizondomusic on a music video!” the chorus wrote, sharing a picture of students wearing matching outfits. “Stay tuned for the premiere and come see the full performance live at our Life in Love concert.”
The music videos are what helped get the nonprofit recognized. When Sutta helped create “Gotta Keep Reading” with her former teaching colleagues at Ocoee Middle School in Orlando, it went viral and eventually, Oprah Winfrey saw it. She featured it on her show and donated money to the school.
It’s A Place To Make Friends
The Children’s Voice Chorus isn’t just about music. During the behind the scenes YouTube video, some of the kids say they made friends while they were at the camp.
“One of the things that always amazes me about our camps every year—specifically about this camp—is how all of these kids come together. They spend so much time together that by the end of the camp they are really great friends and they’re making good music together,” Sutta says in the behind the scenes YouTube video.
A few of the students give testimonials in the video. One of them talked about friendships, saying she had few friends before starting the camp but had made many more since joining The Children’s Voice Chorus.
The Kids Got To Meet Demi Lovato
Sutta told the Miami Herald that the “Anyone” singer introduced herself to some of the students while they were rehearsing on Friday. “She [Lovato] came over to say, ’Hi!’ to the kids,” Sutta said. “That was really exciting.”
One of the students, 17-year-old Jessica Gutierrez, said she and the rest of the 39 students picked to perform were elated to perform for the millions of people who watch the Super Bowl. “I am excited. I couldn’t believe it,” said Gutierrez. “I thought she was kidding. I was nervous.”
The group shared a picture to their Instagram page that showed the group right before they told them about the Super Bowl. “Just before we told them the big news! When this pic was taken they had no idea what was about to happen,” they captioned the image.
The students, along with their chaperones, will get to watch the rest of the game at Hard Rock Stadium.
Sutta, The Camp’s Founder, Knows The Importance of Music
Growing up wasn’t easy for Sutta. She was born in New York and moved to Florida with her two brothers and single mother when she was 10. Food wasn’t always around. “There were times where we didn’t have hot water or the fridge was empty,” Sutta told the Miami Herald. “Sometimes, we would have bread and mayonnaise.”
Sutta got into the wrong group of friends and most of them started to drop out or get pregnant. When she was 13, she joined the choir and things started to change. “The program helped me obtain good grades,” she said, noting: “I was on the wrong path, when I was in high school.”
Now, she has a degree in choral music education from Florida State University and master’s in vocal jazz performance from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and is leading the nonprofit.
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