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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Singing & Choral Groups, Youth Development Programs

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.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Former '80-'81 OYC member here, hadn't heard the choir in years and last Christmas 2011, as a birthday treat from my mom, my 2 pre-teen daughters, 75 yr old mom and I secured the last few tickets available to the holiday concert at First Presbytarian Church in Oakland, (where we had practiced way back then). I was first of all overwhelmed by the packed sanctuary that I walked into, secondly entertained by the long and diverse holiday program all these children and directors had prepared, and thirdly, as my repeated appreciation goosebumps and tears came forth through so many of their songs, their young voices and message was very touching. I am thrilled to see this urban city choir still being supported beautifully through all that goes on in life. Family and community support shining Oakland pride for sure!

Mikki M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have many friends who went through this program when they were teens back in the 80's and when my daughter was old enough I was proud to have her join the choir. OYC provides much-need support for Oakland Youth, giving them a place to spend their time and energy, and focusing them on an idea that is bigger than them, at a time when it is easy to forget the needs of the world around you. When my daughter was singing with them, she was exposed to the compassionate outreach to young children in public schools with little to no musical education, she sang at fundraisers and events supporting other non-profits, and committed her time and energy to a goal greater than her own teen mind could have conceived. As an adult, she now speaks passionately and persuasively about the value of musical education for children, understands the connections between the individuals efforts and the group well-being, and really sees the value in investing in a diverse educational experience for children everywhere. OYC takes something fun and lets it teach our children to be compassionate AND passionate about their beliefs. I love OYC. Thank you for all you have done for our family!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Lana S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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keri 10/17/2012

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!

Ruth S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They bring music to hundreds of children who would otherwise get no exposure to this curriculum. They do not dumb it down or only do what's popular. These kids get classical, jazz, spiritual and world music. They sing in multiple languages and learn about the world.

Micky D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter sang with Oakland Youth Chorus for 5 years. The leadership is wonderful and inspiring. They teach a very diverse range of Oakland youth who learn how to make wonderful music together, but I the Chorus leadership also has a strong sense of integrity and a moral base of what are good ways to live and they teach that in many different ways to the children.