Clinton Township girls to participate in children’s opera show

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published December 11, 2017

 Megan DuRocher, 12, of Clinton Township, will be part of the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus holiday production Dec. 17 in Detroit.

Megan DuRocher, 12, of Clinton Township, will be part of the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus holiday production Dec. 17 in Detroit.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Megan DuRocher started getting excited about singing at the age of 2 after receiving a singing stuffed bear from her grandma that she would sing along with.

For Ava Kern, it was her dad being a singer that introduced her to music.

Now, both middle school girls will take part in the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus’ production of “A Winter Fantasy Concert and Fundraiser” on Dec. 17 on the mainstage of the Detroit Opera House.

The production marks the 10th anniversary for the MOTCC and will include 50 area children as part of the principal chorus, as well as alumni of the organization.

“I have grown up playing pop music, so it has been interesting to learn all these types of music,” said DuRocher, 12, who is a seventh grader at Algonquin Middle School. “What I am used to singing, we don’t sing that, but I am learning.”

MOTCC Director Suzanne Acton said the organization was started 10 years ago with a grant after having children just participating with the main Michigan Opera Theatre. The organization has 80 kids between the ages of 8 and 16.

The children are all selected during annual auditions in May and June. 

The MOTCC tries to help the children develop their skills while giving them the experience of performing live.

“We instill professionalism with these kids that they can carry through with anything they do,” Acton said. “Our mission is to foster creativity and personal expression and social growth. These are talented kids in the area and this is a great home where they can showcase their talents.”

After her parents saw her singing with her bear, DuRocher said her dad started introducing her to Beatles songs and eventually branched out to a wider variety of music. She started playing the piano about three years ago and picked up the guitar last September, an instrument she said she picked because her dad also plays.

DuRocher is part of her school’s band, jazz band and pep band.

DuRocher said she has performed in front of an audience before, but never one as big as what will be at the Detroit Opera House, so she is excited to get that experience as she hopes to be an actress and pop star when she gets older.

“I still get nervous, but not as nervous as I used to,” DuRocher said. “I think I am pretty confident. I know all my parts, and I feel good about everything.”

Kern, 11, is a sixth grader at L’Anse Creuse Middle School South. She is part of the school’s choir.

Kern said she has always liked singing, but was nervous to do it until she started taking lessons. That led to her performing at a local coffee shop and breaking her stage fright.

She said her uncle told her about the MOTCC, and she was part of the prep chorus last year before being put on the principal chorus this year.

“I knew nothing about music theory before the opera house, and now I am super good at reading notes and counting measures,” Kern said. “It is like a big family with everybody being so kind and encouraging and supportive. I have totally become a better singer.”

Doors open for the MOTCC performance at 2:30 p.m., with a silent auction and raffle beginning at 3 p.m. and the concert at 4 p.m. All proceeds benefit the chorus productions for the upcoming season.

Tickets cost $30 for adults, $15 for ages 17 and under and children 4 and under are free. Box seats cost $50. Tickets can be purchased at www.michiganopera.org, or at the door.

The show will feature a handful of MOTCC alumni, including Southfield native Malaya Watson, who competed on season 13 of “American Idol.”

Kern said the MOTCC has helped her become more professional as a singer, and she has even had the opportunity to do voice acting in a commercial through the opera house. She hopes to continue to grow through the organization so she can sing professionally.

“I love singing so much, I don’t know what life would be like without it,” Kern said.