Unaccompanied Minors Dream Big

Unaccompanied Minors is a group of young teens from Scripps Ranch who are passionate about their choral education. All repertoire performed is a cappella and is an extension of the nationally ranked Chamber Choir at Marshall Middle School (MMS) from 2011-2012. My name is Samantha Cain and I am one of the 12 members of this incredible group.

I began my choral journey as a 6th grader at MMS. I always loved to sing, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to take choir as an elective. My parents insisted and I never looked back! It’s been an amazing time, and I’ve made precious memories.

As a 7th grader my advanced choir competed in a national competition in San Francisco. We scored higher than many high school groups! Because of our high rating, we were selected to sing as members of the National Middle School Choir last spring at Carnegie Hall. (April 2012 SRCA Newsletter; [www.scrippsranch.org/newsletter/archives/2012/41-april-2012/635-amazing-adventures412.html]). I was one of 60 students to receive this honor and one of the 12 original members of the a cappella Chamber Choir. Our performance in Carnegie Hall was a memorable and outstanding experience.

As my graduation from Marshall approached, I knew it would mean saying goodbye to my “choir family” that I had grown to love. At about this same time, I received the news from my choir director: Chamber Choir had been selected to perform a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome! We were stunned and thrilled! We were a group of 12- to 14-year-olds and our a cappella group was selected for this huge honor?!

We then talked about how we would accomplish such a major goal without meeting in a regular class setting. Our MMS choral director, Ms. Katherine Girvin, looked at us and said, “I guess we will have to continue seeing each other then, won’t we?” And so it began.

I am one of a dozen students who meet weekly with Ms. Girvin at one of our homes. We practice two hours a week, and we all have very rigorous schedules with school and other activities. For example, I play competitive soccer, have a load of all Seminar and Advanced classes, weekly piano and voice lessons, and regular babysitting jobs. My homework load is typically between two to three hours a day and often I arrive to choir rehearsal still in my shin guards and cleats. We each have similar stories.

Often times we can’t meet until 6 or 7 pm on a Friday night. But I, like the others, am thrilled to make our choral group our number one priority. We are dedicated and passionate about our music and talent. Representing our district and community at one of the most prestigious performance settings in the world would be “a dream come true” for us!

Recently we have realized that this venture is a burden on many of our members. After assessing the costs, we have realized that we need to raise $20,000 to ensure all members of our group can go. Because we are small and we sing a cappella, we need all our members to be successful. We decided to pass out fliers and business cards to get our name out.

In November we performed at the annual San Diego Unified School District Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) fundraiser at Madison High School. We received a huge standing ovation! We have been hired to perform at other events and our next “paid gig” is at the Manchester Hyatt on Friday, Dec. 14.

This is a good start, however, we need more help when we are planning a performance of this magnitude. This choral tour will not only include singing in St. Peter’s Basilica but also performing in cathedrals in Venice, Florence, Milan, and areas of Tuscany and Bologna.

This is a life-changing opportunity to spread our passion for music. It’s also a great opportunity to bring enrichment back to our community, and we need the help of the community to get there.

If you would like to support us or want more information, here’s how to help:

  • Please consider hiring us for events. Contact us at [[email protected]] or on Facebook, search for Unaccompanied Minors;
  • We accept checks payable to either Chamber Bravura (our formal name) or Unaccompanied Minors. Please mail to: 5410 Zeil Place, San Diego, CA 92105; and,
  • We also have a PayPal account at [www.chamberbravura.org].

Thank you for your support! If we are lucky enough to go, we will share this amazing adventure with you through the SRCA Newsletter.

Samantha Cain