Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the different Choir programs?
- How often does the Choir rehearse?
- Where does the Choir perform?
- Is membership limited to just talented singers?
- Is the Choir affiliated with any religious or other organizations?
- How do we join?
- What Does it Cost to Join the Choir?
- Who funds the Choir?
- Who will enjoy singing in the Choir?
- What are the benefits for my child?
- What is unique about this Choir?
- What do parents say about membership in the Choir?
The World Children's Choir is made up of four professional vocal ensembles - Junior Choir (kindergarten - first grade), Concert Choir (grades 2 - 6), Bella Voce (grades 4 - 8), and Opera Ensemble (grades 9 - 12). Together these ensembles perform three season concerts (December, March, and May) and then sing by invitation at special event performances. The exceptional training and performing experience of the Choir makes it possible for members to participate in performances of wonderful operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan, Humperdinck's opera, Hansel and Gretel, and Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute; the musical Narnia, based on “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. All students are trained in the Italian Bel Canto style of singing, which nurtures the development of a solo quality singing voice. Opera Ensemble and Bella Voce singers are required to take private lessons.
The Choir rehearses weekly on Tuesday evenings. There are also two extra rehearsals the week before each season concert.
The World Children's Choir has performed numerous times at the White House, Capitol Hill, the Kennedy Center, the World Bank, the IMF, as well as many area embassies. The Choir has performed at benefit concerts and awards ceremonies for such organizations as UNICEF, the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, and the Children's Defense Fund. Concert tours have been made in New York City, Scotland, Canada, Ireland, and Romania. Season concerts and special event performances are given in the Washington, DC area. Musicales are also given at local retirement homes and hospitals.
We believe that, raised in the proper environment, talent can be developed in any child. Just as flowers in the garden grow, blossoming in their own time and season, so can children grow beautiful singing voices. We believe that within every child lies the voice of an angel. Utilizing the Italian Bel Canto style of singing we work with the child to reveal a beautiful voice. During this process which takes place over a number of years, the child learns and practices breathing, posture, vocal, diction, and speaking exercises as well as performance skills which nurture and develop a solo quality voice. We also teach the children that we can all use our voices to help create a peaceful, healthy world.
The World Children's Choir is an independent 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code, and is not affiliated with any religious organizations or other institutions. WCC members include children from many different faiths, cultures and countries.
- During the school year, observe a rehearsal and/or attend a season concert. Schedule a voice evaluation. Upon recommendation from Artistic Director, enroll singer for a one month trial period. The purpose of the trial period is to ensure there is a good match - sometimes children enjoy singing on their own, but not in a group. After successful completion of trial period, submit registration materials and payment.
- During the summer months, schedule a voice evaluation, sign up for the trial period — or wait to visit the first rehearsal in September, then follow process above.
World Children’s Choir does not want any singer to not participate due to the family financial circumstances. The choir has a sliding scale tuition schedule, based on the family’s taxable income (page 2 of 1040).
Tuition for Opera Ensemble, Bella Voce, and Concert Singers ranges from $100 to $950 per school year. Tuition for Junior Singers ranges from $75 to $575.
There are additional miscellaneous fees for the annual voice evaluation, registration, recordings, artistic supplies, rehearsal uniform, performance attire, concert tickets and performance attire. Many of these fees are reduced for families that qualify for a scholarship.
After the trial period, families may elect to pay in full, or for three or five month payment plans. Families enrolling more than one singer receive a discount.
The Choir's operations are supported in part by the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts, contributions from individual donors, fundraising projects, compact disc sales, performance fees, concert ticket sales, and singer tuition.
Children and teens who love to sing and perform...and whose parents value the choir’s mission.
- Provides a safe and supportive environment for children of all races, cultures, religions/no religion, sexual orientation and gender
- High level of artistic expression and performance
- Professional vocal training in the Bel Canto style which nurtures the development of a solo quality voice
- Performance opportunities
- Music Repertoire: international folk songs, peace and environmental songs, European classical vocal repertoire, opera and operetta, songs of love and inspiration, Broadway show tunes
- Discipline, focus, strong work ethic, and team spirit
- Joyful self-expression and self-confidence
- Friendship, fun, compassion and respect for others
- Personal integrity and can do attitude
- Awareness of children's issues and basic human rights, and the importance of helping to make the world a better place
The World Children's Choir has been appointed to the Artists Roster of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts.
The Choir's Artistic Directors are professional performers. Operatically trained as soloists, they received their performance degrees from internationally renowned conservatories of music. They are artist master teachers who are also recognized for their brilliant work with and dedication to children.
The Choir provides professional vocal training that nurtures the development of a heart-warming solo quality vocal instrument. Its repertoire is of an exceptionally high level of technical and musical difficulty.
Statistical evidence by regional and national organizations continues to demonstrate how important music is for children, particularly in early childhood development and education. We begin working with children as early as age four.
WCC singers learn to sing with vibrato. Vibrato is a small, even fluctuation of pitch which is very pleasing to the ear and a quality of solo vocal technique which gives character, color, and excitement to the singing voice. It is the conveyor of emotion and beauty that goes right to the heart and soul of the listener. Most choirs teach children to sing in a choral style where everyone strives to blend, to produce the same kind of sound. Singers trained in this choral style usually are not taught to develop and use vibrato.
The more we can do to bring music into the lives and hearts of our children, the more opportunities we provide them for learning and growth. The Choir's repertoire includes songs of love and peace thus affirming and supporting the boundary-less world of the child. Our children, and the children they reach, are our future. It is our obligation to teach them, and to provide opportunities for them to lead by their own example.
WCC Parent Testimonials
As a parent, it is my joy to hear my daughter sing in WCC. We chose WCC for my daughter because of its superior quality in the music and of its unique mission. WCC's members are united beyond any boundary among the people, and their harmony symbolizes a peaceful unity of the world. It is wonderful that my child enjoys and appreciates music through WCC and can contribute herself to make the world a little happier place.
- Yuki Melvin, Parent of Jamie Melvin, Junior Choir
Adam has developed some wonderful friendships through song. His WCC comrades will undoubtedly be lifetime friends. His interest in music has grown and developed over the last few years since joining the choir. He has been exposed to a variety of international music sung in many languages such as English, French, German, Arabic and Hebrew. Among the memorable places he has sung are the performances at the Kennedy Center, The White House and the National Mall. These experiences have enriched his life tremendously. The choir has been an asset to his confidence, disposition and quality of voice. Often he is asked to sing in front of an audience at a moment's notice. He always rises to the occasion and performs beautifully. We are very proud parents.
- Noha Nakib and Sakhr Faruqi, Parents of Adam Faruqi, Bella Voce
My perspective on the World Children's Choir is as a parent of an artistic child. In a society that appears to value the arts less and less, opportunities for such children are extremely limited. In schools where it would be unthinkable not to have sports or physical education, the elimination of music classes and extracurricular music and arts programs are accepted with little more than sighs of resignation. Like so many of the other families we have met, we found the World Children's Choir and, as we hoped, it has given my daughter unparalleled musical education coupled with an outlet for her drive to perform and to make music. But it has given her so much more. She has gained an understanding and respect for other cultures. She has met and befriended children from many different and diverse backgrounds. Most importantly, she has become aware of the world that she lives in and she has learned that she can and should strive to make a difference in the lives of children in circumstances far different than her own. If she never sings another note, her feet have been set firmly on the path to becoming a citizen into whose stewardship the world will be well placed.
- Palma Collins, Mother of Emily Downey, Bella Voce
My daughter Robin was just seven years old when she joined the World Children's Choir. Robin's roots had begun in a worldly enough fashion She was born in the northern part of Russia - north of the Arctic Circle. I adopted her when she had just turned one year old.
By seven, she was pretty much an all-American kid. And, like other children in this area, her world had become largely focused on the metropolitan DC area. She also loved to sing, and for that reason she joined the World Children's Choir. Little did we know at the time how much more the choir would become than just a place to sing.
The choir, we discovered, also became a place where many of Robin's closest friendships were forged. Those included both boys and girls, of all ages, and from all over the metropolitan area. Indeed, many of the friendships have become family friendships, extending beyond Robin and her peers to family get-togethers.
The choir, we discovered, also has allowed Robin's focus to move beyond Northern Virginia and out into the world. She became more aware of the world through the choir's activities. Early on after joining, for example, the choir gave a concert to raise money for a mission in Africa. The choir sang at the German Embassy shortly thereafter. She traveled to Ireland with the choir, touring the country and singing in its great cathedrals and at is colorful, local art festivals. At 8, Robin was the youngest touring member. She loved every minute of it, and I noticed how the older children took her under their wing.
The next year, Robin had some real fun - singing before 10,000 people at the McDonald's international convention in Las Vegas, where she and 6 other WCC singers were picked up at the airport in a stretch limousine and shared the stage with singers Josh Groban and Cher.
The doors of experience continued to open. The choir sang at the lighting of the national Christmas tree on the mall. The choir sang at the first-ever National Kids' Day. And the choir sang for UN head Kofi Anan. After I explained to her what the United Nations does before that event, Robin stated, "You know, Mom, that's what I love about the choir. There is always something exciting going on."
There was one event that had special meaning for Robin. The choir was asked to sing at the Russian Embassy, when former President Gorbachev was visiting. Robin was asked to sing a solo, in Russian. I explained to Robin how President Gorbachev brought freedom (and therefore American adoptions) to Russia. Robin instantly understood the significance and asked Sondra if she could say a few words to Gorbachev.
After the choir's musical performance concluded, President Gorbachev joined the choir on stage. Robin presented Gorbachev with the choir's "Voices for Children" award, honoring him for his contribution to freedom and peace for the world's children. But first she spoke (in Russian and then in English) the words she had chosen for the occasion: "I'm from Russia. Thank you for making America and Russia friends." President Gorbachev beamed and kissed her on the head. As the choir filed off the stage, Robin gave a little wave to Gorbachev. He winked back at her. It was their own private moment in a very public event.
The Washington Post wrote a story about the event, focusing on Robin and the choir. Needless to say, Robin enjoyed the attention. And the press was good for the choir too. Part of her pleasure, I think, was that Robin was thrilled to have made a personal connection with this former Russian president who changed the world so dramatically. But I also think part of her pleasure was seeing that having a different background from her peers could be such a positive attribute.
Through all of this, Robin's voice has grown tremendously, under the teaching of Sondra Harnes. I am awestruck every time I hear Robin sing. Honestly. I just never thought a child could sing with bravado - until I heard the members of the World Children's choir sing.
And, it is not just Robin who can sing like this. I'll never forget when we were on tour in Ireland. I was standing outside the chapel at Trinity College. Our concert was about to start and a professor was asking me what was going on. I explained to her that the World Children's Choir from America was about to sing. The choir started to sing - that beautiful sound that only the choir can make, in this case augmented by the wonderful acoustics of the Trinity Chapel. The professor gasped and exclaimed, "But that cannot possibly be the sound of children's voices, can it?"
It is the World Children's Choir.
- Diane Hinson