Amber, A Very Special Young Lady
For many years we have been sharing stories about the wonderful young people who have a love of music and dedicate themselves to being a part of the artistic culture of our community. What you may not realize is that for many of our singers, the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus (JCC) enriches and improves their lives beyond the world of music.
Fifteen-year-old Amber is one such singer. This season will mark her third year with JCC. She is a member of the Treble Choir. This young lady is being raised by her grandmother who is the first to say,
“JCC has completely changed Amber’s life.”
Amber has faced many challenges in her young life. She was speech-delayed and did not talk until she was four-years-old. Her grandmother took her to a speech therapist and had her tested for various developmental issues. School was a struggle. She always felt different from everyone else. But a light began to shine in elementary school when her music teacher took special note that Amber had a gift.
“I remember he called me and said he could play a song and Amber would repeat it in perfect pitch and tempo,” her grandmother said. “None of the other students could.”
When it came time for Amber to enter middle school her grandmother was concerned that she would fall behind even farther. She made the decision to enroll her in the Greenwood School where her special needs could be met. But Amber’s love of music did not waiver.
“I saw a leaflet in the school office about auditioning for the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus,” her grandmother explained. “I was worried that might be too stressful for her but Mr. Dailey was so kind. She repeated every note he gave her.”
Since becoming a part of JCC Amber has learned how to read music, she is able to focus on her school work better and she has confidence in herself.
“Before she always focused on what she couldn’t do rather than what she can. She told me one day, ‘I am exceptional when it comes to my music.’ She is so right! To see this level of self-confidence after years of feeling inadequate…it is such a blessing,” her grandmother said.
In addition to learning songs in different languages, her grandmother notes Amber is now able to control her impulses and frustrations. For the first time she is on the A-B Honor Roll and has been invited to join the Junior National Honor Society. Quite an accomplishment for a young girl who has had to overcome so much!
“When I sing I feel like I am flying,” Amber said. “I sing wherever they need me – as a soprano or another part –I can do it!”
Since Amber is being raised by her grandmother, who is retired, she is part of the 35% of JCC singers who are receiving either full or partial scholarships. This year JCC will award close to $80,000 in scholarships. Your support of this program is desperately needed to ensure that every child who wants to sing can do so regardless of a family’s ability to afford tuition.
“Amber would not be in JCC without the scholarship,” her grandmother said. “I don’t want to even imagine what her life would be like without her music and The Chorus.”