WELCOME to the Bija Children's Choir, a 501c3 nonprofit program deeply dedicated to educating and inspiring young people in Sonoma County who love to sing, as well as enriching the community through quality multicultural performances. Bija is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning seed of creation, which represents the Bija Choir's mission of sowing seeds of musical capability, confidence, and creativity among Sonoma County's youth.
BECOME A FRIEND by attending our concerts, referring us to others, or sponsoring a need by clicking the DONATE button. Heartfelt thanks for your support!
The 7th Annual Bija Choir Harvest Concert & Silent Auction Social in November was a great success! Thanks to all who came to support and enjoy. Our next performance is Wed Dec 7th at Bob Burke's Holiday Benefit Dinner at the Union Hotel in Occidental at 5:30pm. Snoopy and Clo the cow will be there, along with a wonderful big dinner buffet. Open to the public!
THE 2016-17 SEASON meets at the following CLASS SCHEDULE:
Wednesdays 4:00-5:00pm Treble Choir (13+ by audition)
Thursdays 2:30-3:15pm Junior Rhythmics Choir (5-6yrs)
3:30-4:15pm Preparatory Choir (7-12 yrs)
4:30-5:15pm Concert Choir (8-14 yrs)
Thursday classes are held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 South High St., and Wednesday Treble Choir rehearses at a private studio in central Sebastopol. Students may enter beginner level classes at the start of September or January. Auditioned choirs are a full-season commitment and mid-season acceptance is at the discretion of the director.
ABOUT THE BIJA CHILDREN'S CHOIR CLASSES
Classes meet weekly, leveled by age and ability:
The Bija Junior Choir classes are open to ages 5-6 without an audition, offering an introduction to choir through the full body approach of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Junior Choir students perform three times a year at either choir-wide events or smaller occasions just for families, 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.
The Bija Preparatory Choir is open to ages 7-12 without an audition, and introduces children to basic choral concepts of solfege singing, music theory through movement, multicultural repertoire, simple rhythmic dances, and developing a beautiful unison sound. Preparatory Choir students perform three times a year at annual choir-wide events for the community.
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. Music theory principles such as meter, phrase, notation, and form are taught through the movement principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Concert Choir students perform in three annual concerts and are featured in the Spring Story Concert that collaborates with guest artists from the Bay Area, as well as perform for various other local community events.
The Bija Treble Choir is an a cappella-style singing group run privately by Maria Bija for older girls and women by audition or invitation, performing advanced-intermediate classic choral and world music arrangements for community benefit events and special projects. Music theory through Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Solfege are incorporated into rehearsals, and studio recordings and travel tours are also in the forecast for future seasons.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about placement in Concert and Treble Choirs.
To pre-register for the next session of 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 naturally- musical parents with great rhythm and perfect sense of pitch and harmony, Maria began singing at her earliest age and showed early 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 professional vocal career, recording corporate commercial jingles and singing jazz, r&b, 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 samba bands 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 spent 3yrs 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 new performance project 'ABRAZU'. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Bija Children's Choir 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.
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 classes as needed, handles registration and concert-time matters. She also works with sections of the Concert & Treble Choir classes, assisting in the development of harmony skills.