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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Oaklnad Youth Shorus is a wonderful program for children and teens that have a passion or any level of interest in singing and performing. My daughter is a former member of the Middle School Magic and now participate in the High School chorus team. Both groups have won several awards under the leadership of LaNell Martin. Since the time my daughter has been invovled in OYC, her vocal skills have noticeably improved, as has her confidence to sing in front of others. LaNell is fabulous and works so well with the kids. She really takes the time to bond with each child and meets them at their level, which I think helps to alleviate any pressure or stress on the kids. Overall, its a great program and I recommend it highly.
Oakland Youth Chorus has been a blessing for us! My daughter and all her friends love the program! They get to learn about different cultures and languages through songs that they sing and almost without noticing they develop a sense of relatedness to the rest of the world, people and even nature! I cannot praise their teacher and all the teachers that are involved in teaching and organizing the seasonal performances - they radiate their love for children and for singing creating an environment that is welcoming and educational for all! The teachers have an undeniable talent and a pedagogical approach that works and makes the program stand out in its creativity, inclusiveness and high standards - we were completely amazed at the world class level of their singing!