I’m not sure why I had my daughter audition for the Boston Children’s Chorus. She was so shy, she could barely look at an adult during a conversation. She wasn’t a great singer, she knew very little about music, and she had absolutely no desire to perform.
But I insisted. I wanted her to be a part of a diverse community, to spend time with kids she wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. I thought it was important for her to learn to read music and sing songs from different cultures. Most of all, I was hoping she would gain confidence – she was such a bright and capable kid, but she hadn’t yet found her voice.
What a difference two seasons in the Boston Children’s Chorus can make.
Weeks after she started rehearsals, I could see a difference in my daughter’s confidence. By the end of the first season, although she was among the youngest there, she felt comfortable enough to stand up in front of her entire choir of 50 kids and suggest that everyone “bring in a buck” so they could win the choir challenge for 100% participation in a Chorus fundraiser. In the time between, she:
Sang for hundreds of people in performances all over the city.
Felt the pride of seeing a picture of herself in the newspaper and reading about her choir’s participation in a local Martin Luther King Day celebration.
Spent her school vacation week learning a song in Russian so she could audition for a small group performance.
Watched a clip of herself singing with the Chorus on national television during a segment about the impact that founder Hubie Jones and the Boston Children’s Chorus have had on bridging racial divides in Boston.
She was starting to read music, meet new kids, and most importantly, she was finding her voice. This year, she has continued to develop confidence and grow as a musician, and has taken more of a leadership role in her choir. I have seen the effects rippling into other areas of her life; a willingness to try new things, speaking up, making new friends, and viewing herself as a leader.
There are many reasons why parents want their kids to audition for the Boston Children’s Chorus – discipline, confidence, diversity, community – yours may be similar to mine, or you might have completely different motivations. Whatever your reasons, I recommend giving it a try. The audition is short and simple, and a prepared piece is not necessary. Your child could become part of an organization that is over 500 hundred singers strong; kids ranging in age from 7 to 18, from all around the Boston area, and from all walks of life. When these kids stand shoulder to shoulder and make music together, it is nothing less than magical. Take a look for yourself at one of these videos or attend one of BCC’s upcoming performances.
The structure of the Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) enables singers to come in with very little training and move up over the years into the more advanced choirs. There are eleven choirs that make up the larger chorus. Most children start in a training choir, where they learn musicality and develop maturity as performers. They have between five and seven performances a year, all in the Boston area. At each level, the kids learn more skills, take on additional leadership roles, and have broader performance opportunities. The most advanced groups even perform internationally: Over the past ten years, BCC has traveled to Mexico, Japan, Jordan, England, Southeast Asia, and various cities around the United States.
An audition is the first step toward joining in the celebration and becoming one of BCC’s “Ambassadors of Harmony”. The audition information can be found here. If you have questions about the audition process, email the BCC Program Manager. If you want to know more about the Boston Children’s Chorus from a parent’s perspective, feel free to add a comment/question to this post.
Photograph courtesy of Julie Sterling
Originally published April 2012; updated August 2014