A group of kids making beautiful music right now are not singing Christmas Carols.A multicultural kids’ choir called Heritage Youth Productions is singing a lot this time of year, but they’re original songs, not holiday carols. Founder and director Robin Jons was music director at a Des Moines church when the Columbine school shootings happened in Colorado.To do something in response, she combined the full-throated gospel choir singers with her son’s show-choir to create music. From a youth choir, Jons says it’s grown into “Heritage Youth Productions,” with a band, soloists and choreographed performances. The group’s had some good gigs.Iowa Public TV, statewide diversity conferences, churches, school assemblies and community events. Director Robin Jons says parents will come to any performance, but the group’s reputation is growing, and so is its ambition. Her vision is that they grow like the Harlem Boys Choir, and tour internationally with a message. She jokes that the group’s goals are to celebrate diversity, promote world peace, heal the planet and be on Oprah. Jons says the kids, who are ages 8 to eighteen, are a talented and multicultural group. Learning the music is discipline and teaches creative thinking, math skills, and it’s healing and helps express emotions. Jons says like sports, music can free kids from “the burden of lowered expectations.” She’s working on acquiring nonprofit status, and with a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, Heritage Youth Productions is currently recording a CD.
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