Student’s personal project gives ‘buddies’ a unique opportunity to share their gifts
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
A Miami University student has undertaken an initiative to share music with a demographic typically void of the opportunity. Teaming up with Miami’s chapter of Best Buddies, sophomore Kinesiology & Health and Special Education student Tanner McClellan formed the Best Buddies Friends Choir last year.
The choir, comprised of fifteen adults, ages 20 to 50, with special needs and disabilities, is directed by McClellan. Hour-long rehearsals are held every Saturday morning in Hamilton, Ohio.
“Tanner has opened up a creative process to a demographic that gets snubbed in the creative field,” senior TJ Ganser, Miami vocal student and Best Buddies Friends Choir contributor, said. “She’s good at incorporating a lot of people and making it meaningful and that plays really naturally into the Best Buddies Friends Choir.”
The choir ended last season with a performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“It doesn’t matter if we sound good and it doesn’t matter if we know all the words,” McClellan said. “It’s all about the music.”
McClellan continues to develop her vocal skills as a member of the MU Collegiate Chorale and the co-ed a cappella group, Just Duet.
“Ever since I could make noise, I was singing,” McClellan said. “My family can attest.”
The inspiration behind the Best Buddies Friends Choir lies in McClellan’s senior project, where she worked with teenagers with special needs and disabilities on choral music.
“I didn’t realize the impact singing had on me until I saw the impact singing had on the people I was working with,” McClellan said. “You can see it in their face.”
McClellan is now working to expand the choir and has gained the support of music advocators.
“I was immediately moved by Tanner’s generosity and passion to share her love of singing with others that have special needs,” Jeremy Jones, Miami professor and conductor of Collegiate Chorale and Men’s Glee Club, said. “I asked our American Choral Directors Association student chapter to help sponsor the Best Buddies Friends Choir.”
McClellan is using the ACDA student chapter’s sponsorship to raise awareness and market the choir.
“The Best Buddies Friends Choir is a really positive atmosphere,” Ganser said. “Everyone is there for the same reason: to make music. That’s what makes it an invigorating experience for everyone involved.”
Those interested in more information, donating or becoming a Best Buddies Friend volunteer can visit www.bbfriendschoir.webs.com or contact Tanner McClellan at email@example.com.