OAKLAND YOUTH CHORUS

Rating: 4.89 stars   37 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth

Location: 685 14th Street Oakland CA 94612 USA

Mission: Oakland Youth Chorus unites diverse communities and transforms young people’s lives through excellence in music education and community performance. OYC offers school and community based music and choral training programs for East Bay children and youth. Through our elementary in-school programs, after school Miracle Choruses, Middle School Choruses, and our advanced Concert Chorus and Chamber Singers ensembles, OYC brings access with excellence in music instruction and community building performance opportunities that increase confidence, community engagement, musical skills, and creativity. OYC was founded in 1974 to nurture the musical talent of Oakland’s youth. Since then, OYC has grown from a single community youth chorus to a comprehensive youth choral music education organization serving hundreds of singers each year. OYC trains youth in a varied repertoire, supporting artistic diversity by providing programs that reflect and contribute to the cultural richness of our region. OYC’s young people develop close friendships across lines of race, class and culture, multicultural respect, and a lifelong love of music, changing lives and our world through the power of the human voice.
Results: Dynamic concerts of world music and Broadway’s greatest hits, connecting across the Bay to support the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, the Gap Foundation, and Pier 39, and singing for some of the East Bay’s finest arts and social service organizations to celebrate their work and support our community through lifting our voices together: in the 2013-14 season, the Concert Chorus did it all! The performance season began supporting two very special organizations, helping them to celebrate milestones of their own. We lent our voices to the dedication of the new SF Boys and Girls Club Clubhouse at the GAP Foundation, and showed our love for all families in singing for Adopt a Special Kid’s 40th anniversary celebration. December was very special for the Chorus, as we were the voices for Oakland Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker with the Oakland East Bay Symphony- collaborating with organizations we treasure singing with! The spring brought us into an exciting new collaboration with a group of men who became dear friends to OYC through our joint performance of Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass in April. Our experience working with the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus inspired our singers, and in the rehearsals one of the singers’ grandmothers’ was heard to remark that history was being made with our joint performance of that work. For OYC, it meant doing what we always do: discovering the common love of music and creating new friendships and understanding of others while we sing together. Miracles’ report card (K-5): During the 2013-14 season…. 99% of singers learned songs from different countries. 90% increased confidence singing in front of others. 89% learned to read music. Over 80% performed in a concert. 91% of K-2 students could maintain a steady beat independently. 89% performed rhythmic patterns with accuracy, and 85% matched pitch. 90% of 3-5 singers accurately matched pitch for complex melodic patterns. 86% matched complex rhythmic patterns. Miracle singers supported Relay for Life, Super Stars Literacy, holiday tree lightings, workshops at the Oakland Public Libraries, and community events in recent seasons, contributing to the vibrant life of their communities through song.
Target demographics: OYC serves children and youth ages 5-19 in Oakland, Alameda, Richmond, and reaching throughout the East Bay.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 650 singers in the 2014-15 season
Geographic areas served: Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Programs: OYC produces two professional choral concerts per year for all of our singers, performs at Bay Area community events, and tours locally, regionally, and nationally. OYC’s current in-school and after-school vocal and general music training programs reach children in 15 Oakland, Alameda, and Richmond schools and community based sites.
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-2535518
510-287-9700
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

My 8 year old started oyc since she was five. So it's been three years . She loves it and I love it too! All the staff and music instructors are beyond awesome. My daughter I don't think will have stage fright. Thanks oyc for making my daughter shine.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My six-year-old started with Oakland Youth Chorus when she was just four years old because she was exposed to OYC early and said she wanted to sing with them. Knowing that OYC typically starts at Kindergarten, we told her that she'd have to wait. My wife and I were thrilled that the choral director encouraged (ok, insisted) that we bring her to OYC anyway. She was immediately welcomed with open arms by MIss Rhonda who teaches the All-City Miracle Chorus, and she has learned so much in these past couple of years. We are thrilled with her musical progress (she's now taking piano because OYC instilled a love of music and learning), love hearing her sing songs from different cultures and in different languages around the house every day and we are continually blown away by the talent of all of OYC's singers at their annual concerts. We look forward to many, many more years being a part of the OYC family.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was introduced to OYC by my daughter who sang in the chorus throughout elementary school. She had such an outstanding experience and I was blown away by the quality of the singers at the concerts. I was happy to join the board of this organization that works hard to bring choral music to children throughout Oakland and surrounding communities. The economic downturn has hit arts nonprofits hard and I am so proud to be part of an organization that continues to fulfill its mission despite big funding challenges. Our Executive Director, Keri Lindell Butkevich, joined us in June 2012 and she is outstanding! Come to a concert and see for yourself why Oakland Youth Chorus is so special.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Oakland Youth Chorus has been a shining star in the City of Oakland. As a grassroots organization this chorus has managed to remain an example of community, talent, and hard work even while the city hit headlines for much less desirable news. The kids are always well-prepared, manerable, and consistentely sound like professionals. It is hard to believe that such a magnitude of musical excellence comes from a community choir. As a long time follower and supporter, I have known youth to continue with their musical paths while in college and beyond. This small organization, led by a phenomenal musical director, makes a lifelong impact on supporters and participants alike.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My daughters are 11 and 14 and love being a part of this organization. The younger one is part of the All-City Miracle Chorus and my older one is part of the Concert Chorus. Both of these groups rehearse at the Oakland Unitarian Universalist Church. I got us involved because of its proximity to our house and convenience, but we will be staying because of the teachers and program. My kids are singing with wonderful teachers leading them. The teachers really care about inspiring kids to have an everlasting love of music and singing. They are learning songs in different languages and from a variety of cultures. The groups are welcoming to kids of all ability levels and ages but push the kids with more experience to be even greater. My 14 year old has sung with many different groups, but she loves this one and is invested in it because she feels respected and appreciated in this group. I can't wait for the Winter Concert on December 15th. It should be amazing.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was in the Oakland Youth Chorus when I was in my second year of college in 1998. It was the most challenging and exciting musical experience I had experienced to date. The music we learned was exceptional, the director was motivating and inspirational, and the group of volunteers were helpful and encouraging. I wish I lived closer so my children could participate!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1998

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Rating: 5 stars  

Oakland Youth Chorus responded with amazing speed and resources after my school reached out to them about bringing their program to our students. We have been amazed by their ability to provide high quality services and how resourceful they have been about securing funding to make their work possible. The staff, both direct service and administrative, are very responsive and easy to work with.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have two daughters who participate in the Oakland All-City Youth Chorus. They've been playing instruments for a couple of years. Adding OYC to their repertoire has added a crucial key to their musical journey. Their teacher gives them not only vocal and theory lessons, but she puts the history behind the songs into perspective, which allows the children to put real emotion and expression in their performance.

For children who haven't sang before, working in unison with other kids is invaluable. The Oakland Youth Chorus builds self-esteem and provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing my children flourish and work alongside other children.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

create opportunities for the children to get together outside of choir practice.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Referred by a professional musician who spent her high school years singing with OYC

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Rating: 5 stars  

Oakland Youth Chorus provides inner city children from the Bay Area's poorest neighborhoods with the opportunity to learn to sing with a large group of similarly situated children. With budget cuts affecting music programs in all schools, this is one of the last chances for underprivileged kids to experience the beauty of making music. And that they do: they are wonderful to hear and experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the impact which this training has on young people, some of whom have developed enough musical skill to get scholarships to college.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to get sufficient funds for an endowment.

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Rating: 5 stars  

OYC is an excellent program for children in the Bay Area. They are trully providing an outlet for children to learn in a safe environment. OYC is at the center of Oaklands heart.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways. I was once a child in OYC. At the time they were taking arts out of the public schools. OYC provided a place that my parents knew that I would be safe. OYC taught students how to respect others and their difference and to trully creat Harmony with the voices and in the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like for them to have more public concerts.

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