WELCOME TO THE BIJA CHILDREN'S CHOIR!
Our Spring Session Is currently underway, finishing on June 4th and culminating in a free outdoor SUmmerfest performance on Sunday June 7th at ives park, 4pm, sponsored by whole foods market in sebastopol. Hope you can make it!
And for those interested in our first annual BIJA CHOIR SUMMER MUSIC CAMPS in July and August, please contact director at MariaBija@gmail.com to request more information or to sign up for Bija Choir Summer Music Camps online (early registration is strongly recommended as space is limited), click HERE
ABOUT THE BIJA CHILDREN'S CHOIR CLASSES:
The Bija Junior Choir is open to ages 5-6 without audition, and offers an introduction to the choral setting through the full body approach of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Junior Choir students perform for their families at the end of each session, and the emphasis is on developing music listening skills, introducing students to basic elements of music theory through movement, and cultivating a joy for singing in ensemble. Classes are Thursday afternoons at the Sebastopol Ctr for the Arts.
The Bija Preparatory Choirs are open to ages 7-12 without audition, and introduces children to basic choral concepts of solfege singing, multicultural repertoire, simple rhythmic dance choreographies, and developing a beautiful unison sound. Preparatory Choir students perform for their families at the end of each session and occasionally join the Concert Choir in community performances. Rehearsals are Thursday afternoons at the Sebastopol Ctr for the Arts.
The Bija Concert Choir is open to ages 8-14 by audition or invitation, and works with multicultural repertoire in two and three part harmonies, as well as movement choreographies and rhythmic percussion accompaniment. Theory principles such as meter, phrase, notation, and form are taught through the movement principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Concert Choir students perform in annual Story Concerts each Spring and collaborate from guest artists from the Bay Area, as well as perform for various other local community events. Rehearsals are Thursday afternoons at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Please email email@example.com for questions about placement.
The Bija Vocal Project is for ages 13-18 by audition or invitation, performing world music for community benefit projects. Rehearsals are Thursdays 5:15-6pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Teen choir members also have opportunities to mentor the younger Concert Choir students by helping out at performances or during rehearsals, for which volunteer credit hours are awarded.
To register for Bija Children's Choir classes, click here.
ABOUT FOUNDING & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, MARIA BIJA
Maria Bija is a classically-trained musician with a passion for world music and dance. Born in Boston, MA to an Italian mother and English American father-- both very musical parents with great rhythm and perfect sense of pitch and harmony, Maria began singing at her earliest age and showed natural abilities at the piano. For eight formative years she studied with Polish concert pianist, Ronald Kmiec of Carlisle, Massachusetts.
By her teenage years, Maria began her vocal career, recording commercial jingles and singing popular, jazz, country, and folk styles, with her major influences at the time including Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bonnie Raitt. Later in her college years, Maria studied abroad in Italy, India, Ghana, and Brazil, and sang with a samba band in Boston, paving the way to her lifelong love of Brazilian music.
Maria earned her Master's of Music degree in Dalcroze Eurhythmics in 1997 under the tutelage of Lisa Parker, and has since incorporated Dalcroze movement-based teaching principles in her music classes for all ages and levels of ability. Understanding the crucial role of movement in teaching/learning music, she honors the belief that the first instrument is the body.
Over the past decades, Maria has recorded numerous albums, one of which won a Parents Choice Award ("World Family Folk Celebration", available on CDBaby) and another went under contract with Challenge Records of the Netherlands (Blue Brazil: Gema). As a mother of two, she created the Musical Mothering program for young families in Napa Valley, and world music ensembles such as Twin Souls, Blue Brazil, and recently a trio project in the greater SF Bay area. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Bija Children's Choir nonprofit organization in Sonoma County. Maria plans to travel abroad once again in the coming years and collaborate with musicians internationally, while at the same time continues to nurture her home community in Sebastopol, promoting local sustainability in the way she creatively and thoughtfully leads her life in the performing arts.
OTHER TEACHERS IN THE BIJA CHILDREN'S CHOIR:
Colleen Toner-Rogers, Class Assistant
Colleen Toner-Rogers is the Bija Children's Choir's Class Assistant. Outside of class, she directs of the West County Music Together program, and has many years of experience with children and music, in addition to performing with the women's vocal ensemble, Kindred Voices. She assists in the Bija Preparatory Choir class as an extra set of hands, and a contact person for parents at drop-off/pick-up. She also leads the alto section of the Concert Choir classes, assisting in the development of harmony skills.