MISSION, Kan. — Wednesday nights, a small room in Countryside Christian Church is filled with the sounds of Latin America.
Voces Festivas is a Latin American choir made up of Spanish-speaking singers. However, these singers do not have to have a choral background to sing. Some cannot even read music, so director Leilani Velasco Vaughn teaches as she goes.
“[They] learn to kind of pick up the Western notation and not so much just by ear, which is culturally more relevant to the Hispanic community. So it's really cool to watch that growth and just see them combined in that way,” Vaughn said.
The group's season starts during Hispanic Heritage Month, a nod to the reason it was formed in the first place. Velasco Vaughn wants to make space for Latin American music and voices in a choral scene that can sometimes seem too formal or classic.
“Bringing in just a different texture to that choral music is a really cool way of just, you know, showing that we exist,” Vaughn said.
She directs solely in Spanish, but the beauty of the music is that listeners don’t always need to know what is being said to feel the emotion.
“Anytime we do perform, we make sure to kind of use a little bit of both languages because our goal really is to just bring it to all of the community. We want to be able to have a place for Hispanic people who do know this language and can enjoy it from that aspect but also from people who might be their first time hearing some of these songs,” Vaughn said.
Voces Festivas practices Wednesday evenings and is always looking for new members. You can find more information about rehearsals or performances here.