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The program builds confidence for teens

August 07, 1997

By Teri Johnson

Staff Writer

Living Miracles is a diverse choir with many talents, director Doris Ortman says.

"This is a unique group of kids; they're so neat to work with," she says.

One member of the teen choir does sign language, another is blind, and the group has two sets of twins - one fraternal, one identical.

The choir is part of the leadership training program at Camp Joy-El near Williamson, Pa. The choir consists of 23 girls and 11 boys, with the membership representing 16 churches.

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There are no tryouts, as the choir is intended to build self-esteem, says Terry Ortman, Doris Ortman's husband and public relations director at Camp Joy-El.

Erin Marshall, 18, of Chambersburg, Pa., says the choir has helped her overcome shyness.

"This gives me a chance to be a leader," says Marshall, who will be majoring in psychology and elementary education this fall at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa.

Alicia Womack of Hagerstown has been a member for three years, and she says she enjoys sharing the gospel.

"It's a great way to draw people in and tell them about Christ," says Womack, 16, a 1997 graduate of North Hagerstown High School.

The choir usually doesn't travel farther than York County, Pa. - most of the churches where it performs are within a 45-minute drive until it goes on its annual tour. There is a waiting list of churches that would like the choir to perform.

The students memorize all their music. They sometimes worry they will make mistakes, but Doris Ortman says she isn't concerned about that.

"I can just see the confidence building," she says.

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