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.).
The Youth Choir is a more advanced group for singers who have vocal/choral experience and some already developed skill. There are often opportunities at this level for solos within the ensemble repertoire, although strong, blended, and nuanced choral technique is the greater goal. Most of the youth choir repertoire is in 3 or 4 parts.
The Youth Choir programs are offered in two different rehearsal locations:
Saturday mornings in Solomons (Capella)
Monday nights in Prince Frederick (Fermata)
The Youth Choir rehearses weekly and performs multiple joint concerts a year, often in collaboration with SMYOC’s instrumentalists and orchestras.
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.