Who We Are
Get to Know Us
Berks Youth Chorus is a choral and music education organization with a strong focus on community, friendship, and music performance.
Since 1992, the chorus has provided young singers the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues from nursing homes and churches, to concert halls and hospitals. Originally a classical organization, Berks Youth Chorus has expanded its repertoire to include music from a wide array of cultures, time periods, languages and religions. Our singers embrace that music is a celebration that connects people globally and crosses all boundaries.
Our rehearsals and offices are located in Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pennsylvania. We love being surrounded by extraordinary artists, dancers, and arts leaders, and we’re always looking for new, fun, interdisciplinary collaborations to share with our audiences.
The mission of the Berks Youth Chorus is to enrich our community by fostering and promoting choral excellence in young people through music education and quality performances.
We prepare young singers to serve as community leaders and contribute to a world that is inspired by and connected through music.
BYC was founded by Donald Hinkle in 1992 as Berks Classical Children’s Chorus (BCCC). His vision, leadership and dedication to the musical education of youth in our community led him to serve as Artistic Director until 2005. On April 3, 2020, Berks Youth Chorus was sad to announce the passing of Mr. Hinkle. Our members, alumni, and friends recorded and dedicated a virtual performance of Blessing by composer Katie Moran Bart in his honor.
Originally, Berks Youth Chorus offered two ensembles: Prep Chorus and Chorale, for children in grades 4-9. In 2005, the Chorus moved to the GoggleWorks, and in 2012 it became Berks Youth Chorus (BYC). Over the years, BYC expanded to serve children up to grade 12.
BYC now hosts three ensembles for grades 3 to 12: Choristers for grades 3-4, Chorale for grades 5 and up, and MasterSingers for grades 8 and up.
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chorus reinvented the choral experience by instituting new virtual programs and bringing a new dimension to all the programs with an emphasis on personal growth and leadership. These programs are now our core experience called Chorus for Causes, now in person. In Chorus for Causes, student singers research and select a local cause each season to inspire advocacy and service. Through Chorus for Causes, singers are making a tangible impact in the community by supporting advocacy for causes they have researched and selected.
BYC strives to cultivate leadership, confidence, friendship, creativity, and joy for choral singing in young singers through diverse programming and musical excellence. We provide our singers with opportunities to lead and learn to lead while exploring the world through music. At every rehearsal and performance, we encourage singers to set and meet challenges for their own musical and personal growth. We call upon our singers to work together to solve problems, design creative solutions and explore perspectives they haven’t heard or considered before.