“Not every singer is suited to every choir, BUT there is a choir suitable for EVERY singer!”
As part of our CHOIR IS FOR EVERYONE campaign, we wanted to highlight a few choirs who are giving voice to singers under unique circumstances in our world-wide culture. Consider the stories of these four choirs as we celebrate the joys of music making around the world:
Through community engagement and public performance, the Dallas Street Choir seeks to improve the way society views those experiencing homelessness. Our model demonstrates that participation in a consistent, structured, safe, and creatively engaging environment better equips individuals experiencing homelessness to find a job, housing and improve their overall lifestyle. For our members, we aim to provide: practical musicianship training; an environment that promotes accountability; and a community that offers compassion and hope. For those with capacity to serve—volunteers, donors, community and corporate partners—we seek to engage you in the profound experience of empowering individuals to achieve what once seemed impossible through the seemingly simple act of singing. Click Here to learn more.
Thirty years ago, Ray Barnett was on a humanitarian trip to war-torn Uganda when he gave a small boy a ride from his decimated home to the safety of another village. During the journey, the child did what he knew how to do best – he sang. That simple song of dignity and hope became the catalyst for a program that has changed the lives of thousands of children and reshaped the future of the African continent.
“When I went back to Canada and people were not very interested in Uganda, I remembered this small boy,” Ray explained. “I knew that if only a group of these beautiful children could go to the West, people would be deeply moved and would certainly want to help.” From there the African Children’s Choir® was born.
Rallying support from the West, Ray coordinated the first tour of the Choir, which successfully brought the voices of 31 children of war-torn Africa to the West. The Choir inspired audiences with their stories and raised enough funds to open the first Children’s Home at Makerere. The Home provided a stable environment and a quality education for the Choir children and additional children who needed care. The success and instant popularity of the first tour encouraged Ray to continue, and a second Choir was selected from the Children’s Home, and the African Children’s Choir began another tour.
The Choir’s success meant that it was able to provide for many children beyond those in the Choir. Over the next few years, six more children’s homes were established to care for vulnerable children, many of whom had been orphaned during the war. Additionally, the African Children’s Choir established a number of special Literacy Schools in Uganda where hundreds of children learned to read and write and gained confidence and skills that ensured a brighter future.
As the children got older, the program developed a sponsorship arm where all of the educational needs of these children could continue through secondary school, and in most cases, the children went on to higher education. Click Here to learn more.
To learn more about Easychoirmusic.com’s sponsorship of the ACC, and what you can do to help support them, Click Here.
What started out in 1982 at a Western Massachusetts elderly housing project to joyfully pass the time instead of passing before your time has developed into the stereotype-defying, generation-crossing musical extravaganza better known as the Young@Heart Chorus. From The New York Times to TIME, The Ellen Show to The Daily Show and stars of the hit Fox Searchlight documentary, Young@Heart, this group of seniors, ranging in age from 73-92, has performed from Northampton to New Zealand, Europe to Japan, on over 30 international tours proving it’s “possible to grow old without growing boring.” To learn more, Click Here.
4) THE NUMBER NINE CHORUS
10,000 people is a stadium-full. Your favorite pop performer would probably be delighted to have the chance to sing in a venue that fits an audience of that size, and yet in Japan, there is a choir with so many members they would have to perform from the seats (and presumably put a small, carefully selected audience up on the stage). The Number Nine Chorus from Osaka is a mega-choir made up of 10,000 amateur singers who get together to perform Ode to Joy, the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, every December. The song is an integral part of the Japanese Christmas, and is commonly known as daiku, meaning "number nine". The popularity of the ode came from German soldiers imprisoned during the First World War in Japan, who first performed it for a Japanese audience, and since then it has taken on the same seasonal significance we give to Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. Thankfully the Number Nine Chorus are not a touring concern - it would be financially ruinous. (source BBC)
Interested in displaying the "Choir Is For Everyone" mentality to your ensemble? Now through the end of October, receive a FREE "Choir Is For Everyone" poster any time you order 2 anthems. Click Here to see anthems available for the upcoming winter/advent season.