He moved to Rexburg and thought he'd start a small children's choir. Then 100 kids showed up. - East Idaho News

He moved to Rexburg and thought he’d start a small children’s choir. Then 100 kids showed up.

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REXBURG — Step into the Rexburg Tabernacle on a Tuesday night and witness a stage full of beautiful children singing beautiful songs.

It’s the Rexburg Children’s Choir and while it sounds like the kids, who range in age from 6-18, have been performing for years, this musical group is only three months old.

“I like coming because you get to practice and you get better every week,” says 10-year-old Macy Dean.

Conductor Ben Watson moved to Rexburg from Montana earlier this year. He works full-time at BYU-Idaho and volunteers his time, money and talents to make the choir work.

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Conductor Ben Watson started the Rexburg Children’s Choir earlier this year. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

“I moved here in January and I was looking for a choir for my kids. I couldn’t find one so I thought I would start one,” Watson tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Music is really important for kids. I think there’s a way that music can help kids disconnect from their mobile device and connect with each other.”

When Watson announced the choir would be starting, he expected a few dozen children might show up. But on the first rehearsal date, over 100 kids and their parents were ready to participate.

“I’ve actually been looking for a choir opportunity for one of our daughters for a long time,” says Sarah Dean. She has two daughters in the choir and they drive from Rigby every week for rehearsal.

The choir has learned a variety of songs ranging from The Sound of Music’s Edelweiss to Josh Groban’s hit You Raise Me Up to the children’s classic Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree.

In addition to singing, every child was taught sign language for one of their numbers and each of them is learning to play the ukulele.

Every child in the choir learns to play the ukulele in addition to singing. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

“When I taught music in Montana, I introduced the ukulele program into the high school and it was really popular,” Watson says. “It’s easy to pick up and the kids like it.”

Dean adds, “My daughters really enjoy learning to play the ukulele and it’s fun for me because it’s just low key and they learn it all basically here.”

Children learned sign language for one of their numbers. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

The choir recently recorded a music video that should be released within a few weeks.

In September, Watson plans to start a second smaller choir that will require auditions and he expects the Rexburg Children’s Choir to only grow and get better.

“Any kid who wants to be part of this choir and is willing to put forth the effort, have a good time, and be diligent can be part of this choir,” he says.

Click here for more information on the Rexburg Children’s Choir.