My child's elementary school in Richmond has our glee club administered by the Oakland Youth Choir, and it's fantastic. First of all, their style of teaching music is call-and-response, so as they are learning theory, they are also able to perform and learn very quickly. In addition to our weekly rehearsals and school performances twice a year, we are invited, whenever we are available, to join other schools who are learning the same songs across the East Bay to performances at community events. So the kids get to be part of this amazing larger community, all wearing their purple shirts. My kids are still small so it's all new to them, but when I look at the older students who have been singing together for 10 years and are soon to go off to college, I am floored with the emotion and the connection through music. And they sound absolutely amazing.
Mills College Children's School has been partnering with Oakland Youth Chorus for several years now. They provide dynamic, experienced music teachers who come to our classrooms and teach students about choral singing and percussion, and they organize performances for our families, too. They have been a wonderful addition to our arts program!
My daughter is now 9 and has been in chorus with OYC since she was 4.5, and it has not only increased her self esteem but been a positive thing our whole family has participated in. As a single mom they have worked with me in so many ways to make chorus a possibility for her and now her 4 year old brother! He has adored learning the songs and being involved and now he is truly a member! We love it and wish we could do more to support the organization financially!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.