/ Music Department

West Michigan Children's Choir

The West Michigan Children’s Choir (WMCC) was founded in 2012 by Sarah Cox and Jennifer Wolfe and consists of three ensembles ranging in age from kindergarten through 8th grade.

West Michigan Children's Choir logoKANTO and SHIRA are the two performance division choirs, and LARKS is the preparatory division choir.


Our Performance Division choirs, KANTO and SHIRA, welcome singers in grades 3–8 with unchanged voices. After auditioning prior to the session, singers are placed in SHIRA, our training choir, or KANTO, a choir for students who are able to confidently hold a harmony part.

SHIRA and KANTO are directed by Kristin Baron. Kristin is a 2014 Hope graduate in organ performance and music education, and associate director of music at Christ Memorial Church in Holland. Hope music faculty member Jennifer Wolfe, a founding director of the WMCC, continues to work with the group in an administrative capacity.

LARKS, a non-performing group for students in kindergarten through 2nd grade, meets on Monday evenings from 6:15–7 p.m. (at the same time as SHIRA). LARKS will focus on listening skills, musicianship, healthy vocal development and age-appropriate rehearsal skills. The director of LARKS is Amy Kate Petersen, who holds degrees in music education and church music from St. Olaf College.

LARKS do not need to audition. If you would like to know more about this program, please email Amy Kate Petersen.

Before placing singers in SHIRA or KANTO, we like to meet with each family. To set up a short, fun audition, please email Kristin Baron.

2017-2018 SCHEDULE

All groups meet and perform at the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts at Hope College. Parents of LARKS students will drop off and pick up your children at their classroom door (Room 192). Students in SHIRA and KANTO will gather in the lobby when you arrive at the building.


LARKS meets weekly on Monday evenings from 6:15–7 p.m. in Room 192. The year is divided into two 8-week sessions.

  • Session 1September 11, 18, 25; October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
  • Session 2January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19, 26

Both SHIRA and KANTO meet weekly on Monday evenings, with SHIRA rehearsing from 6:15–7 p.m., and KANTO rehearsing from 7:15–8:15 p.m. The year is divided into two 10-week sessions, with the second session beginning after Thanksgiving. There is a dress rehearsal and concert to conclude each session. Concerts are free and open to the public, and held in the Concert Hall at the Jack H. Miller Center at Hope College.

  • Rehearsal DatesSeptember 11, 18, 25; October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13
  • Dress Rehearsal: November 18, 3–5 p.m. (Concert Hall)
  • Fall ConcertNovember 19, 3 p.m. (2 p.m. call time – Concert Hall)
  • Rehearsal Dates: November 27; December 4; January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19, 26
  • Dress Rehearsal: March 4, 2–4 p.m. (Concert Hall)
  • Spring Concert: March 5, 7 p.m. (6 p.m. call time – Concert Hall)

The WMCC recognizes the musical, personal and developmental values intrinsic in quality music education. With these in mind we aim to:

  • Nurture and safely develop the abilities of children who love to sing
  • Confirm the importance of each individual singer as a critical part of our program
  • Offer quality music education at each level
  • Introduce our singers to the world’s diverse cultures through music
  • Encourage self-confidence, self-esteem and pride through musical excellence
  • Instill a love of music that will continue to grow long after our singers leave us

The most important thing about being in an ensemble is attending rehearsal. When we rehearse, we’re not teaching individual parts, but practicing how the group sounds together as a whole. Also, especially at the preparatory level, rehearsal material builds on previous skills. For this, we need everyone present, every week. To that end, we ask our singers to make choir a priority. Conflicts and illnesses will inevitably arise, but we expect that scheduling decisions will be made around your commitment to the WMCC.

If you anticipate more than two rehearsal conflicts, you should choose which activity to participate in rather than trying to juggle several. You may not miss a dress rehearsal or a concert for any reason other than serious illness or family emergency. The choir is a team counting on you, and we are less than ourselves without every voice. All conflicts and absences should be communicated to Amy Kate Petersen ahead of rehearsal. Thank you for thinking through your commitment to our choir.


Rehearsals are held at the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts on Monday evenings. SHIRA (Room 194) and LARKS (Room 192) meet from 6:15–7 p.m., and KANTO (Room 194) rehearses from 7:15–8:15 p.m. Please plan to arrive five minutes early so that you are in your seat ready to sing when the rehearsal begins. Students in SHIRA and KANTO will gather in the lobby when you arrive at the building. Parents of LARKS students will drop off and pick up your children at their classroom door (Room 192). Students in LARKS are expected to use the bathroom immediately before rehearsal. 

Parents are responsible for noting all rehearsal, dress rehearsal and concert dates on their calendars. Please allow extra time for travel in inclement weather conditions, and check your email for rehearsal updates, especially if schools are closed. Our primary concern is your safety, so we encourage you to make the most prudent decision for your family.


Tuition costs $100 per session or $180 when enrolling for the entire year. MAA awards need-based financial aid to qualifying students. There is also a sibling discount for families that enroll more than one child in MAA programs. Please see our Financial Aid page for more information.

We will provide music, which you may take home. Please write on it in pencil only so that we can use it again in future years. The music must be returned in good condition after each concert, or you will be charged a replacement cost of $10.

Singers are expected, where possible, to provide their own concert uniform: black pants, long-sleeved collared white button-down shirt, black dress socks and black shoes. We do have a few items to lend; if borrowed from the WMCC, these must be washed and returned promptly.


Like other community music organizations, we expect that our members will participate in their school music programs. We count on our colleagues in music education to support us by recommending their best students, and we hope to stretch and challenge those students so that they become leaders in their schools. In order to sing with the WMCC, you must be a member of a choir, band or orchestra in your school. This policy does not apply to members who are home schooled or who attend schools that lack a music program.