Berks Youth Chorus Announces Interim Director

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Interim Director

Reading, PA, June 27, 2017 Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) proudly announces the appointment of James K. Wilson as Interim Director of Chorale.

Mr. Wilson first began his work with Berks Youth Chorus [then Berks Classical Children’s Chorus] as a Staff Assistant in 1992, the year the chorus was founded. From spring 1994 through spring 1995, he directed the Choristers [then Prep Chorus]. In 1995-1996, he took time off to complete a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, but returned to direct the Choristers in fall 1996. In spring 1997, he was appointed Director of Chorale, a position he held through the fall concert in November 2003. In 1998, Mr. Wilson conducted the Chorale in a performance for the Eastern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mr. Wilson is listed in the 1994 edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and was a 1990 nominee for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. In June 2017, he retired from Schuylkill Elementary School in the Phoenixville Area School District near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, after a career of teaching there for 36 years. His school choir performed at the 1991 Eastern Conference of PMEA/MENC [Pennsylvania Music Educators Association/Music Educators National Conference]. His article “What Do They Hear? Can We Really Make Beautiful Music?” appeared in the PMEA News in May 1994. Since 1999, Mr. Wilson has served as the Choir Director at Christ Episcopal Church, Reading, Pennsylvania, and, since 2011, he has also served as organist at the church.

Mr. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Music degree in Music Education from West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania. He earned a Master of Music degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. He has received certification in Kodály musicianship and methodology.

BYC is a premier choral ensemble that offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth in grades three through twelve who want to learn to sing – or just sing better. Members enjoy the company of dozens of singers from throughout Berks County. They perform classical, musical theater, and world music under the guidance of professional musicians, study vocal technique, and learn sight singing, study skills and music theory.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Offers Free Summer Day Camp

Berks Youth Chorus Offers Free Summer Day Camp

Reading, PA, May 26, 2017 Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) is pleased to announce that it will offer its ninth annual Summer Sing, a week-long day camp for school children who have just completed grades 3 through 6, Monday through Friday, June 12 – 16, 2017, at Hope Lutheran Church, 601 N. Front Street, Reading. A mini concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 2:30 pm, Friday, June 16 at the church.

Summer Sing is offered for children who want a fun summer experience with other children who like to sing. No auditions or prior musical training are required. The focus is on choral singing and musical training for young voices. Summer Sing is offered free, except for a $10 registration fee.

Summer Sing combines traditional camp activities and serious music making such as large and small group singing, and classes in recorders, sight singing, and voice. Songs include a variety of world music. BYC provides all music and education materials, a daily snack, and an official Summer Sing t-shirt to each child. Hope Lutheran provides a daily lunch.

Berks Youth Chorus has strong relationships with inner-city Reading and suburban school music educators, private teachers, and churches throughout Berks County, and works closely with them to recruit Summer Sing singers.

Berks Youth Chorus is a premier choral ensemble that offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth who want to sing and expand their musical horizons. For more than twenty-five years, BYC has given its youth a voice. Singers, from a diverse cross-section of neighborhoods, cultures, religions, and economic strata, come together, make music, and make friendships that last a lifetime.

With its headquarters and many rehearsals located in Reading’s geographically accessible GoggleWorks, and through community engagement projects such as Summer Sing, BYC is dedicated to making life-changing musical opportunities accessible to all children. Singers represent school districts, private schools and home schools throughout Berks County.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Auditions for Life-Changing Music Opportunities

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Auditions for Life-Changing Music Opportunities

Through a generous scholarship program, dozens of young people receive needs-based tuition awards, making it possible for them to participate as members in the Chorus.

The Chorus will hold open auditions in May for membership in 2017-2018, its twenty-sixth season. Children and youth entering grades three through twelve in September 2017 are eligible to participate. Auditions will be held at the GoggleWorks, 201 Washington Street, Reading, on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Tuesday, May 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Chorus recommends that singers call 610-898-7664 to schedule an audition time slot or to schedule an audition at another time.

The audition process, which lasts about a half-hour, includes singing of a familiar song like “Happy Birthday” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and a melodic and rhythm assessment. Singers who are in high school may be asked to sight-sing a simple melodic passage. Singers do not need to bring a prepared piece or an accompanist. There is no audition fee.

BYC is a premier choral ensemble, which offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth who want to learn to sing – or just sing better. Members enjoy the company of dozens of singers from throughout Berks County. They perform classical, musical theater, and world music under the guidance of professional musicians, study vocal technique, and learn sight singing, study skills and music theory.

During its twenty-sixth season, BYC will present three concerts and will perform with Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir and Reading Pretzel City [Barbershop] Chorus.

Members rehearse weekly from September to May at convenient locations including GoggleWorks in downtown Reading. MasterSingers (high school singers) attend rehearsals on Sunday afternoons; Training Chorus and Chorale (elementary and middle school singers) rehearse on Monday evenings. MasterSingers also attend a weekend retreat in late July; Training Chorus and Chorale also attend a week-long day camp in mid-August.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Healthy Singing with Christianne Knauer Roll

Healthy Singing with Christianne Knauer Roll

Presented by Berks Youth Chorus and Reading Music Teachers Assocaition

  • Saturday, March 25, 2017, 12 noon – 6 pm
  • Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Join us for an informative and entertaining afternoon led by BYC graduate Christianne Knauer Roll. All events are free and open to the public. You are welcome to attend any or all events.


Solo Vocal Workshops

  • 12 noon – 1:30 pm (7th & 8th grade singers)
  • 1:45 – 3:45 pm (9th – 12th grade singers)

Dr. Roll will provide coaching on vocal production, style and presentation to individual young singers, working with each singer for 15 to 20 minutes. Repertoire will include musical theatre, music from the great American songbook, and popular music.

Singers interested in participating in the workshops: Complete participation form (download here) and submit with music scores of songs you would like to perform. Submit by February 1, 2017 to: Berks Youth Chorus, 201 Washington Street, Suite 529, Reading, PA 19601

  • Participants and repertoire will be selected by BYC directors in conference with Dr. Roll.
  • Participants will be notified by March 1, 2017.
  • An accompanist will be provided, if requested, for the workshops.

“The Evolution of the Female Broadway Belt Voice: Implications for Teachers and Singers”

  • 4:00 – 4:45 pm

Dr. Roll previously presented this article, based on her doctoral dissertation, at The Voice Foundation’s 44th Annual Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, on May 31, 2015. The Voice Foundation is the world’s oldest and leading organization dedicated to voice research, medicine, science, and education. The article was also published online August 18, 2015, in the Journal of Voice, the publication of The Voice Foundation. Q & A time is included.


Refreshments

  • 4:45 – 5:15 pm

“Musical Theatre Love Songs”

  • 5:30 – 6:00 pm

Dr. Roll will conclude the afternoon by performing a program of her favorite “Musical Theatre Love Songs” accompanied by her mother, Lucinda Knauer.


For More Information

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Holiday Concert

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Holiday Concert

Reading, PA, August 2, 2016 Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) is pleased to announce the second concert in its 25th Anniversary Season. A Light to Lighten – Music and Readings of the Season will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, December 9, 2016, at Atonement Lutheran Church, in Wyomissing, PA.

Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir joins Berks Youth Chorus in this concert which features choir selections and audience carol singing, interspersed among secular and sacred readings. The BYC MasterSingers (high school girls and boys with changed voices) and Training Chorus (children in grades 3 and 4) will be featured choirs. The BYC Chorale (children in grades 5 -8) will join in the carol singing.

Christopher Hoster, the newly appointed Director of the BYC MasterSingers, and Founder and Director of Opus One, developed the concert program which traces the path of light from “Starlight,” “Candlelight” and “Night to Day,” to “Light Breaking Forth.” Choral selections include the ever popular “Choose Something Like a Star” by Randall Thompson and “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter, and, less familiar but equally beautiful, late English Renaissance compositions, “Almighty God, Which by the Leading of a Star” by John Bull and “O Nata Lux” by Thomas Tallis.

Guest readers will be: Rev. Jack Abel, Director of Spiritual Care, Caron Treatment Centers; Kirsten Heim, BYC Alumnae, Reading School District English Teacher; Levi Landis, Executive Director, GoggleWorks; Dr. Khalid N. Mumin, Superintendent, Reading School District; and Pastor Julie Recher, Associate Pastor, Atonement Lutheran Church.

Tickets are $25 for VIP seats, $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 610-898-7664 or, as available, at the door.

Founded in 1992 as Berks Classical Children’s Chorus, the chorus changed its name in 2012 to Berks Youth Chorus to reflect its membership and activities. With its headquarters and rehearsals located in Reading’s geographically accessible GoggleWorks, and through community engagement projects such as Summer Sing, BYC is dedicated to making life-changing musical opportunities available to all children. BYC provides a safe, nurturing environment where singers achieve, become engaged in a community of fellow singers, and are nourished artistically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The Chorus works with area public and private school music teachers to recruit singers for membership and for Summer Sing. Singers represent school districts, private schools and home schools throughout Berks County.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org

Announces First Concert of 2016-2017

Announces First Concert of 2016-2017

Reading, PA, August 2, 2016 Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) is pleased to announce the first concert in its 25th Anniversary Season. New Beginnings will be held at 4 p.m., Sunday, November 13, 2016, at Atonement Lutheran Church, in Wyomissing, PA.

The concert features musical masterpieces that marked the beginning of new styles in their day, such as selections from the opera, Dido and Aeneas, by the great 17th century English composer Henry Purcell. Other music includes contemporary American masterpieces such as the charming “Galop,” written by the American composer Ken Berg, and the traditional Jewish song “Bashana Haba’ah,” beautifully arranged by John Leavitt.

The concert will include performances by auditioned members who are placed in one of the three levels of the chorus: MasterSingers (high school girls and boys with changed voices); Chorale (children in grades 5 through 8); and Training Chorus (children in grades 3 and 4).

Another BYC “new beginning” is marked by two new directors leading our singers: Christopher Hoster, Director of MasterSingers, and Mark Helms, Director of Chorale.

Tickets are $25 for VIP seats, $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 610-898-7664 or, as available, at the door.

Founded in 1992 as Berks Classical Children’s Chorus, the chorus changed its name in 2012 to Berks Youth Chorus to reflect its membership and activities. With its headquarters and rehearsals located in Reading’s geographically accessible GoggleWorks, and through community engagement projects such as Summer Sing, BYC is dedicated to making life-changing musical opportunities available to all children. BYC provides a safe, nurturing environment where singers achieve, become engaged in a community of fellow singers, and are nourished artistically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The Chorus works with area public and private school music teachers to recruit singers for membership and for Summer Sing. Singers represent school districts, private schools and home schools throughout Berks County.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Two New Directors

Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) proudly announces the appointment of Christopher Hoster as Director of MasterSingers and Mark Helms as Director of Chorale.

Christopher Hoster is responsible for the curriculum of the MasterSingers, the BYC top level ensemble, with girls in grades 9 through 12 and boys with changed voices. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir and the Choir Director and Organist at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Reading, PA. He previously served as Music Director at Fleetwood Community Theater, Fleetwood, PA; Director of Choirs and Music Instructor at Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA; Concert Choir Director and Conductor at Reading Area Community College, Reading, PA; and Choir Director and Organist at Nativity Lutheran Church, Reading, PA.

Mr. Hoster, who is equally busy as a tenor soloist, is a member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus. He currently is a candidate for a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, IL), where he earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, summa cum laude, from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA.

Mark Helms is responsible for the curriculum of the Chorale, the BYC middle level ensemble, with children in grades 5 through 8. He is the Director of Music Ministries at Grace Lutheran Church, Shillington, PA. Mr. Helms recently completed his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, where he conducted the Repertory Singers and the University of Rochester Women’s Chorus. He is also a graduate of Furman University, Greenville, SC, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music, summa cum laude. He has previously served on the faculty at the New York State Summer School of the Arts: School of Choral Studies, and has worked in several churches in New York, South Carolina, and his home state of Alabama.

BYC is a premier choral ensemble that offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth in grades three through twelve who want to learn to sing – or just sing better. Members enjoy the company of more than 100 singers from throughout Berks County. They perform classical, musical theater, and world music under the guidance of professional musicians, study vocal technique, and learn sight singing, study skills and music theory.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Offers Discounted Tuition for Male High School Singers

Berks Youth Chorus Offers Discounted Tuition for Male High School Singers

Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) is currently seeking young men with changed voices to join its high school level MasterSingers in 2016-2017, its twenty-fifth anniversary season.

Through a reduced tuition of 30% off the regular tuition fee for young men who join the MasterSingers this year and a generous scholarship program, the Chorus remains committed to providing life-changing music opportunities to youth from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Young men with changed voices are eligible to audition. Auditions will be held by appointment at GoggleWorks, 201 Washington Street, Suite 529, Reading, PA 19601. Please call 610-898-7664 to schedule an audition time.

The audition process, which lasts about a half-hour, includes singing of a familiar song like “Happy Birthday” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and a melodic and rhythm assessment. Singers may be asked to sight-sing a simple melodic passage. Singers do not need to bring a prepared piece or an accompanist. There is no audition fee.

MasterSingers attend a Summer Retreat in late July and rehearse weekly from September to May at Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, PA. During its twenty-fifth anniversary season, performance opportunities for the MasterSingers include three BYC concerts:

  1. New Beginnings, Sunday, November 13, 2016, 4 p.m., Atonement Lutheran Church
  2. A Light to Lighten – Music and Readings of the Season with Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir, Friday, December 9, 2016, 7:30 p.m., Atonement Lutheran Church
  3. Homecoming – 25th Anniversary Celebration Concert, with Alumni and featuring graphic designs of Berks County native Chip Kidd, Sunday, May 7, 2017, 4 p.m., Miller Center for the Arts, RACC, Reading, PA

BYC is a premier choral ensemble that offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth in grades three through twelve who want to learn to sing – or just sing better. Members enjoy the company of more than 100 singers from throughout Berks County. They perform classical, musical theater, and world music under the guidance of professional musicians, study vocal technique, and learn sight singing, study skills and music theory.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Music Tones and Voices Concert

Berks Youth Chorus Announces Music Tones and Voices Concert

The Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) will present “Music Tones and Voices,” on Sunday, May 1, 2016, 4 pm, at Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

The BYC twenty-fourth annual spring concert will feature singers in four levels of choirs – Training Chorus, Choristers, Chorale and MasterSingers – and the Tone Chime Choir of John Paul II Center.

In addition to performing a set of music on their own, the Tone Chime Choir will perform the song “The Field Mouse” by award-winning New Jersey composer, Robert Cohen, with the Choristers and Chorale.

John Paul II Center for Special Learning provides unique special education and social programming for children and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Under the direction of Sue Kaczmarek, director of religious education for the three special learning centers of the Diocese of Allentown, the Tone Chime Choir performs regularly for school and community events.

BYC singers will also perform traditional songs and spirituals by American composers, including Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, and David Brunner. The Choristers will perform a set of music, Three Dominican Folk Songs, by American composer Francisco J. Núñez, in Spanish.

Tickets are $25 for VIP seats, $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 610-898-7664 or, as available, at the door.

Berks Youth Chorus is a premier choral ensemble that offers high quality vocal instruction for children and youth who want to learn to sing, or to build on their existing talent. For more than twenty years, BYC has given its youth a voice. Singers, from a diverse cross-section of neighborhoods, cultures, religions, and economic strata, come together, make music, and make friendships that last a lifetime.

With its headquarters and rehearsals located in Reading’s geographically accessible GoggleWorks, and through community engagement projects for inner-city and suburban children such as Summer Sing, BYC is dedicated to making life-changing musical opportunities accessible to all children. Singers represent school districts, private schools and home schools throughout Berks County.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.

Contact:

Dail Richie, Executive Director
Berks Youth Chorus
GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street, Suite 529
Reading, PA 19601
drichie@berksyouthchorus.org
610-898-7664

Berks Youth Chorus Announces First Concert of the 2015-2016 Season

Berks Youth Chorus Announces First Concert of the 2015-2016 Season

Berks Youth Chorus (BYC) is pleased to announce that its first concert in the 2015-2016 Season, The Beauty of Life, will be held at 4 pm, Sunday, November 8, 2015, at Atonement Lutheran Church, in Wyomissing, PA.

The concert will feature the song “The Beauty of Life,” by New Jersey composer Robert S. Cohen. The lyrics, written by Ronald W. Cadmus, include the inspirational text, “Open your eyes So life’s beauty all children may see. It’s good to be alive Where all creatures can thrive In a world that is happy and free.”

The concert will include performances by auditioned members who are placed in one of the four levels of the chorus, Training Chorus (grades 3 – 4), Choristers (grades 4 – 7), Chorale (grades 5 – 8), and MasterSingers (high school and boys with changed voices). The directors are Michelle Metz, Training Chorus; Jeffrey Brunner, Choristers; Peter S. Sunderman, Chorale; and Catherine Williamson (Interim), MasterSingers. Accompanists are Mary Bishop and Linda Ebersole.

Tickets are $25 for VIP seats, $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 610-898-7664 or, as available, at the door.

With its headquarters and rehearsals located in Reading’s geographically accessible GoggleWorks, and through community engagement projects such as Summer Sing, BYC is dedicated to making life-changing musical opportunities available to all children. BYC provides a safe, nurturing environment where singers achieve, become engaged in a community of fellow singers, and are nourished artistically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The Chorus works with area public and private school music teachers to recruit singers for membership and for Summer Sing. Singers represent school districts, private schools and home schools throughout Berks County.

The concert season is supported by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, and Reading Musical Foundation.