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 daughter became involved as a part of the group when she was quite young and sang as a part of the chorus from 1987 to the present (she is now part of the old-timers or graduates group). She also got a chance to travel to Jamaica and Japan when the group was able to afford to travel overseas. Many of her fellow singers are still her valued friends. She also was able to work with many skilled musicians who were her teachers while she was part of the chorus. It has been real pleasure seeing the growth of these young people and to see how this experience has helped them to grow and thrive. This is a community asset which should be treasured and nourished for the City of Oakland.

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

the effect belonging to it has helped my own daughter as well as other children.

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

contribute at least a million dollars so that they could not be on the brink all of the time and possibly reconstitute their wonderful travel program so that they could experience musical programs all over the world.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was a member of the Oakland Youth Chorus as a teen, from 1986 through 1991. The group provided a brilliant musical curriculum, as well as giving me many close friendships which have lasted to this day. I returned to work for OYC from 1998 through 2006, and the son who was born that year is now in OYC through the expanded programs they now provide in elementary schools! As arts programs are being slashed in the schools, it is wonderful to know that kids still have access to a good choral program with an extremely flexibly tuition schedule.

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

Solid musical background. Was able to tour as a teen with the group to Canada, Jamaica and Japan. I have made lifelong friendships, and am very much enjoying being on the team, and working with my young son on his music. Choral music is under-appreciated, and it's delightful to see what these kids can accomplish, and to watch their very professional shows!

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

I would work to engage families to spend more energy volunteering, and being really attached to the group. It's difficult to volunteer when times are tough, like now, so I think that very specific outreach to make parents get it just how important their input and help are would serve the OYC well. A staff member who did ONLY that would free up the operations and musical staff to spend more time doing what they do so well.

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Rating: 5 stars  

OYC has made a tremendous difference in my daughter's life! She has aspergers and social networking with neurotypical children and teens is not always easy for her. Singing in the OYC choirs has given her a real sence of acceptance. She ahs been in OYC since 5th grade and is now a senior in high school. She has even recieved a special award as OYC cheerleader!

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

I have seen what this experience has done for my daughter. I have experienced her happiness and acceptance within this organization.

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

try to figure out how they could get better funding so they can continue to reach out to more children in Oakland!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Our son is a kindergartener in an Oakland Public School (Chabot). We signed him up for an aftershool chorus class last fall not knowing what a fabulous organization we were going to get to become a part of.
Oakland Youth Chorus is well run, spirited, and inspirational, giving children something big to be a part of from their first day. The concert performances display an impressive range of hard work, talent and commitment. It's also great to see children of all ages singing together.
Our son's self confidence and knowledge of music has grown tremendously over the year. It's truly been a pleasure.
Keep up the great work OYC!

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

See review. My son's confidence has grown along with his feeling of being a part of the community at large.

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

none

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Rating: 4 stars  

In spite of the dramatic drop in public funding, this agency forges ahead in its commitment to provide music education and ensemble opportunities to kids who want this option but cannot or choose not to participate in more classically oriented choruses. It boasts a corps of professional, performing artists who teach and mentor participants at school sites. The all-city middle and high-school choruses are vehicles not only for a musical education, but present an opportunity for students from all parts of Oakland to work and learn together. OYC has been around for 35 years and has been credited with providing a life changing experience for thousands of Oakland school children. It could use an infusion of new energy and vision, to bring it current with the needs of children who have limited access to this low-cost program and to cultivate the continuing, active support of chorus parents, chorus alums and the general community. OYC has the potential to make a significant difference - it needs folks to know about it and to care.

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

knowing people who have been participants and hearing their stories of how important the experience of singing in the choruses and the friendships that they made have enriched them.

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

Focus energy on developing a wider base of support. I think this is key to attracting singers to the program and to building consistent sources of support for funding, for strong community relationships and for sustaining and advancing the excellence of the music program.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Participating as a member of the Oakland Youth Chorus was one of the greatest experiences of my childhood. It gave me the experience and confidence to pursue a career in music. It also provided a great opportunity for developing community, especially among at risk kids. It is a wonderful organization that kids can participate instead of staying at home playing video games or getting into trouble.

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

I was a member of that organization for about 4 years when I was in junior high and high school in Oakland.

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

I wouldn't change a thing. It is a very well run organiation.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have attended Oakland Youth Chorus concerts over the past six years. When I see these children perform, it is evident to me that the alumni and music teachers give them 100 percent in teaching and mentoring them. I can feel the love and support of the parents and extended family when I am sitting in the audience.

On a personal note, I have seen some of the kids transition from being not so sure of themselves into becoming very self-confident and thus helping to develop their self-esteem.

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

I have personally experienced the results of OYC through a young lady I have known since pre-school and is presently in her freshman year of high school. Prior to her joining OYC, she was shy and did not feel good about herself. During her first school year with OYC, she got involved with her peer group and developed her singing voice. Her self-esteem and confidence are strong. She reaches for the stars by applying herself academically and is a great team member on her swim team.

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

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would want to make sure that all children K - 12 in the Oakland Public Schools are aware of OYC and have the opportunity to participate, It is my understanding that only a select group of schools are invited to participate in OYC.

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Thank you for this review! We would love to have programs in more schools in OUSD - it is more a matter of balancing what we can do well as a small organization to ensure that all of our singers and their families have the highest quality experience we can provide. Being able to expand responsibly to reach additional schools and children, especially those who otherwise lack access to music education, is a goal we are working toward one school at a time!

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Oakland Youth Chorus is amazing! As a lifelong musician and music educator with experience in arts administration, I have seen organizations of this type from many sides, and I've never seen an organization quite like OYC. A top-notch administration inspires well-treated and respected educators to provide a high-quality product to a LOT of happy clients. The students deliver truly fabulous performances in a polished, well-oiled setting, giving them not only a solid musical education, but unforgettable performance opportunities that set the bar high for self respect, responsibility, and professionalism. In a city where schools have lost most if not all funding for the arts, OYC comes to the rescue of vocal music, drumming, and dance and fills in that gap.

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

I remember my time working for OYC as a highlight of my teaching career. From the communications in planning and the respect afforded to employees all the way to the final product of the performances, OYC does it right.

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

Fund the heck out of it.

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Rating: 5 stars  

OYC is wonderful. My daughter's been a part of it for years. They have energy, passionate teachers, terrific diversity of musical selections ... and anyone who loves to sing can participate (talent optional!). The concerts are always fabulous. One of the gems of Oakland!

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

Oakland, CA

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

extend it to more Oakland schools.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Our daughter has been a member of the Oakland Youth Chorus for the past eight years. During that time she has become a confident young woman and performer and a competent musician through her experiences with OYC.

The Oakland Youth Chorus taught as part of the after-school program at our daughter's elementary school. She studied for four years with an outstanding teacher who during this time, instilled in our daughter an appreciation and knowledge of music.

During Middle School and continuing into High School, the Oakland Youth Chorus has continued to foster development and growth in their singers. They provide them with a solid, well-rounded program, regular performances with the entire chorus, and most importantly, performance and competition opportunities throughout the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Through these events, the singers have continued to learn more about the professionalism that musicians must embrace, as well gaining experience in performing before different types and sizes of audiences.

The real strength of the program at this level though comes through the Chorus Director. She not only prepares her students for performances and other events, both musically and professionally, but she leaves a lasting impression on her students in terms of life's lessons. She is a compassionate teacher and mentor who supports her students through all of their ups and downs, both musically, and personally. In Middle School and High School there are plenty of "ups and downs" that these busy teenagers encounter. Through it all, the Director demonstrates patience, and a firm, but loving hand of guidance. These teenagers are better for having been in the Oakland Youth Chorus.

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

The confidence that our daughter has gained through her association with the Oakland Youth Chorus has been invaluable.

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

The Oakland Youth Chorus needs to be able to market themselves more and reach out to more students in the Oakland Community. They do a fabulous job in the schools that they currently serve, however it would be great if they could add more schools to their programs. In this way, they could then reach more children in Oakland and expose them to music and song.

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