“The Children’s Chorus of Washington is the shining jewel in our cultural life here in Washington, and spreads a light that shines around the world.”
–Norman Scribner, Founder, Choral Arts Society of Washington
This season, the Children’s Chorus of Washington (CCW) celebrates 20 years of choral excellence and the vision of founder Joan Gregoryk.
Widely recognized as one of the country’s leading youth choruses, CCW provides outstanding choral music education to young vocalists, ages 6-18, from throughout metropolitan Washington, DC, regardless of their background, economic status, or prior experience. From its first year as a single chorus of 70 children to its current configuration of five auditioned performing ensembles comprised of 165 students, CCW has provided exemplary choral music training to more than 2,500 young people. Emphasizing artistic excellence, personal responsibility, and teamwork, CCW’s choral programs foster students’ growth as young musicians and leaders.
CCW provides the best choral music experience to young people in the nation’s capital through exceptional educational programs, performance opportunities, and community partnerships. From CCW’s beginning PREP Classes to our advanced performing ensembles, students learn how to use their singing voice in a healthy and artistic manner and are taught to read music through the Kodály-based pedagogical approach.
Founded by Joan Gregoryk in 1995, CCW made its debut at the Kennedy Center in November 1996 in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with The Washington Chorus. The next year, CCW performed the Washington and New York premieres of Gabriel Pierné’s The Children’s Crusade, with the National Symphony Orchestra, The Washington Chorus, and members of the Chevy Chase School Chorus at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall under the baton of Leonard Slatkin.
CCW performs frequently in self-produced concerts and at a variety of public and private engagements throughout greater Washington, DC. Recent performances include a concert at the White House for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, Made in America, Celebrating American Choral Music, with the Choral Arts Society, Great Noise Ensemble, and The Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, Tribute to Leonard Bernstein, with the Washington Master Chorale, Do You Hear the People Sing? with Steven Reineke and the NSO Pops, and the National Anthem at National’s Park.
CCW has made important contributions to the evolution of youth choral repertoire. In 2004, CCW commissioned Imant Raminsh’s opera, The Nightingale, a challenging work for children’s ensembles. For the tour to China in 2013, CCW commissioned Ta Qing (Wonderful Day Out With Nature) by Emmy Award-winning composer Nathan Wang, which was written and sung in Mandarin. CCW has also commissioned pieces by Ysaye Barnwell, Stephen Hatfield, David Brunner, and Olli Kortekangas. CCW has commissioned a work by Andrea Ramsey in honor of Joan Gregoryk that will receive its premiere in May 2016.
In 2012, CCW launched three programs designed to expand our engagement with a broader community of young singers and music teachers throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. CCW addresses the tremendous need for high-quality choral music education in DC’s under-resourced schools by offering SING DC!, an introductory vocal music program provided at no cost to the students or host schools. PREP Classes are designed for children ages 6-9 who love to sing but are too young to join CCW’s performing ensembles. Teacher Workshops offer professional development, best practices, and peer mentoring to area music teachers who want to enhance the choral ensembles in their schools. CCW offers scholarships so students who wish to participate in our performing ensembles are able to do so regardless of their family’s financial resources.
CCW is one of a handful of children’s choruses that tours internationally on a regular schedule. Through the touring program, all choristers are exposed to different cultures and learn to sing music in a variety of foreign languages. CCW has toured to South Africa, Italy, the United Kingdom, Argentina, and Brazil. In the summer of 2015, CCW toured to France, where the group performed at La Madeleine, the Normandy American Cemetery Memorial, Chartres Cathedral, and sang mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Children’s Chorus of Washington has been selected for the 2015/2016 Catalogue for Philanthropy as “One of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region.” CCW was recognized by the Washington Area Music Awards (“Wammies”) as Best Choral Group in 2012 and received the Greater Washington Area Choral Excellence Award for Best Educational Outreach in 2012 and 2014. CCW was honored to receive the 2014 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline.