For Grades 5 and Up, the Performing Department challenges the student further through advanced music theory, ear training, and sight singing, along with foreign language diction, healthy vocal technique, resonance, breathing, vowel formation, performance, and storytelling.
The four Performing Department choirs - Concert Choir, Ensemble, Ecco, and Ancora - represent the pinnacle of children’s choral training and performance. The singers in these groups have studied music for several years, and are admitted into the groups by audition. In Performing Choirs, promising young singers reach new heights of personal expression; their relationship with music deepens and gains new subtlety. Singers begin to form their own musical personalities and identities, and they make deep, lifelong bonds with like-minded friends. They become proud ambassadors of the Choir through local performances, professional collaborations, and on tour at international competitions and festivals.
All Performing Department choirs perform in the Candlelight Concert in December, the Winter Concert in late January, the Historical Concert and/or New Music Concert mid-spring, the Spring Sing! in late spring, and the Bon Voyage Concert in June. Additional opportunities such as Jazz and Beyond, the Ancora Recital, collaborations and workshops, and/or working with a living composer on a new work are often undertaken by individual choirs throughout the season.
International touring and competition has been a centerpiece of the Choir's program since 1984. We believe that choir tours provide an unparalleled opportunity for young people to learn about themselves and broaden and deepen the world. Since its founding, choir groups representing the Choir have toured and performed throughout 13 states and 26 foreign countries, participating in nineteen choral competitions in Europe, Asia, and North America and bringing home twenty-five awards, including Gold Medals and Grand Prizes. Tour destinations are selected primarily on the basis of their potential for providing enriching musical experiences and secondarily for their cultural and geographical interest. While on tour, singers may participate in music festivals, community concerts, and cultural and recreational activities, and have been selected to perform for the most discerning audiences.