DETROIT — Children across the Archdiocese of Detroit now have the chance to sharpen their choral prowess.

The Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit, an after-school choir program available to all children of all singing levels in archdiocese, has been established as a place for young singers to learn more about liturgical music and singing technique.

Housed at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit will train singers for the Cathedral Descant Choir and the Cathedral Children’s Choir. The descant choir is a training choir for singers of all levels, while the children’s choir will be for singers of the highest level who pass an audition.

“This is the first program of its kind in my 40 years of being in the archdiocese," said Susan Lindquist, director of the Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit. “The idea is for the Cathedral Children’s Choir to be representative of the young church in the surrounding area. Some of our parishes have very strong youth choral programs, but other parishes can’t afford them, so this is an opportunity for everyone."Lindquist explained the Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit has been a dream of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron for some time as a program exclusively for children to learn choral music and for a choir that can tour around the archdiocese.

Lindquist said the choir academy started with six singers rehearsing at the cathedral a few months ago and since then has expanded to 24 singers.

“Opportunities for kids to experience being in a children’s choir are getting fewer and fewer," Lindquist said. “It’s difficult for some parishes to have these programs, and many schools are cutting choir programs. So the need is very evident."The vision for the academy is to be open to singers of all levels regardless of their parish or family resources.

“We welcome all children; we firmly believe all children can learn to sing well," Lindquist said. “Some will come with more experience, especially if their parish has a children’s choir, but the archdiocesan choir academy is designed for anyone interested."Auditions for the Cathedral Children’s Choir will take place Sept. 10-11 from 4-6:30 p.m. Parents can call (313) 883-2867 to schedule an appointment.

On Sept. 18, the Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit will begin in earnest with the descant choir rehearsing at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and the Cathedral Children’s Choir practicing at 5:30. Rehearsals are expected to last an hour.

The Cathedral Children’s Choir will sing monthly Sunday Mass along with other liturgical events throughout the archdiocese.

Lindquist expected the Cathedral Children’s Choir to perform concerts at various venues in southeast Michigan as a tool for evangelization, highlighting all the rich music the Church has to offer.

“I think we are evangelizing the young church, and in doing so, helping others encounter Christ through sacred music," Lindquist said.