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 son is in his second year at OYC's elementary school-aged Miracle Chorus. He has learned wonderful songs, in language, from all over the world: Ghana, Japan, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Israel. The kids are also learning to read music and practicing with rhythm. It's amazing what Rhonda Crane is able to teach such young children in a single semester. OYC is a very happy and fulfilling part of my family's life.

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: 4 stars  

OYC is doing an excellent job with the students at St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland. This year they have provided our school with two music teachers who are working weekly with our students. Each Monday, I can hear our students singing and it gives me chills! They sound great, they are really engaged, and they are receiving great music instruction. Thanks to OYC, we are developing the musical talents of our students! Ann Magovern, President of St. Martin de Porres Catholic School.

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

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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  

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  

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 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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