SMYOC’s choral programs are designed to help singers develop their vocal skills and their passion for music in an environment that is supportive and fun while also fast-paced and rigorous. Singers are introduced to musical repertoire that celebrates the richness and diversity of many cultures; over the course of one season, they may learn and perform music of many different genres and styles, including folk, popular, gospel, spirituals, classical, opera, jazz, musical theater, contemporary, patriotic music, and more. They may be introduced to some foreign languages, learning pronunciation and basic vocabulary for every piece (including those in English!). They will also experience different choral modes, performing some pieces a capella, some with piano accompaniment, and some with instrumental accompaniment.
Through training in breath support, tone production, choral blend, and posture, singers learn how to focus their sound and gain greater control of their instrument. All singers learn Solfege, a skill used to develop aural and sight singing skills. While SMYOC does not follow a set curriculum in the instructional aspects of the program, singers develop basic musical literacy during the course of a season (ie. general knowledge of music theory, history, terminology, etc.).
SMYOC’s Preparatory Choir is open to talented youth singers ages 8 and older. (Students younger than 8 may audition and may be accepted at the discretion of the Conductor.)
The Prep Choir is a beginning choral ensemble for clearly musical but less experienced singers. The musicians learn to focus their tone and to listen carefully to others while they sing, as the group collectively strives to develop a smooth and blended ensemble sound. Most repertoire at this level is unison or two-part harmony, although the groups may progress to more harmonically complex repertoire by the spring season.
The Prep choral programs are offered in two different rehearsal locations:
Saturday mornings in Solomons (TrebleMakers)
Monday nights in Prince Frederick (Allegro)
The choirs rehearsing in Solomons are led by SMYOC’s newest member of staff, Mr. Simon Charette, who also conducts the Rochambeau Choir and the Choir of the Embassy of France in Washington. Simon is also a highly-trained professional singer and pianist who performs regularly with the Annapolis Opera.
Ms. Liesl Schiavone, director of Music Ministry at St Anthony Catholic Church in North Beach, begins her 4th year as conductor of SMYOC Choir in Prince Frederick. In addition, she is a soprano soloist with an active professional career and a sought-after vocal instructor with a thriving private studio in Chesapeake Beach.