In the News

Jax chorus director working for Clay's cultural future

Friday, April 25, 2008

Darren Dailey hopes budget cuts don't dampen enthusiasm for the fine arts

When Darren Dailey became director of the Jacksonville Children's Chorus, he envisioned conducting a world-class choir in a metropolis ripening into a cultural gem.

He left Boston in 2006 after being bedazzled by the 4-year-old $22 million Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts in Orange Park, with its 1,750-seat auditorium. He turned down other job offers and moved his family to Eagle Harbor in Clay County for its reputable schools and quality of life.

But now he's second-guessing everything.

"The current climate worries me," said Dailey, who is cringing as cash-strapped schools throughout Northeast Florida consider slashing music programs and the state considers eliminating its Division of Cultural Affairs to meet budget.


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“Music plays a major role in the full development of a child. Not only does it enrich lives, it also serves as a pathway for students to express themselves and explore new ways to communicate with others. For 20 years, kudos to the JCC for molding the lives of young artists, and I look forward to the next 20 years.”

Tim Cost, President, Jacksonville University

“Through music and your leadership, these children learn to perform in different languages while experiencing the diversity of an array of world cultures. The understanding they gain will serve them well as they enter adulthood.”

R. Randall Onstead, former President/CEO of Winn-Dixie

“I was in the Jacksonville Children's Chorus in 1999-2002. It helped me to build long lasting friendships and a greater love for music. To this day I still remember the fun times and great concerts we did in the JCC. I think this organization is great for children of all ages, it helps build confidence and friendships.”

Bethany, Former Member

“JCC truly embodies some of the best qualities of team sports: camaraderie, discipline, patience, persistence, and positive mentoring.”

Wali Gomes, JCC Parent

“The JCC is more than just a chorus; it is truly a life-changing experience. The Chorus has opened me to new experiences, provided me with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and helped me discover singing is not just one of my interests but rather a lifelong passion.”

Emma, 17, Touring and Concert Choirs