Students sing both classical and contemporary music written by master composers. Performing music that includes a variety of styles — jazz and gospel, sacred and secular, folk music and Mozart, — students grow in a choral setting where they are respected as young artists and perform with professional musicians. All ensembles of the Children’s Choirs sing at Powell Symphony Hall each December. Advanced choirs tour nationally and internationally, and perform as the official children’s choir of the St. Louis Symphony.
The St. Louis Children’s Choirs trains interested young singers within six progressive ensembles, offering a challenging and age-appropriate choral experience. Choirs rehearse once a week from late August through May. Beginning Music Makers rehearse for 45 minutes, intermediate levels for 90 minutes, and advanced choirs for two hours. Concert Choir rehearses twice a week. Ensembles meet in small sections at different locations and times in West County and University City.
Music Makers are usually 6 years old and in the first or second grades. Melody, rhythm, and musical form through singing games and choral music are introduced.
Children's Choir, for students in third through sixth grades, teaches the fundamentals of choral singing and beginning musicianship skills.
Chorale is mostly for middle school students who have either advanced from Children’s Choir or have demonstrated an understanding of fundamental vocal skills in their audition. Chorale offers more challenging part-singing, and sight-reading skills which include mastering the intervals in the major scale.
Choristers is an advanced level choir where members have either been promoted from Chorale or have demonstrated strong musicianship and sight-reading skills in their audition. Multi-part singing, and additional performance and tour opportunities are added for the Choristers’ experience.
Concert Choir is the top treble-voiced touring choir that typically performs with the St. Louis Symphony and participates in national and international tours. Invitation for membership is extended to those singers who, through evaluation or audition, demonstrate appropriate skill and ability levels plus the proven commitment and self-discipline necessary for participation in this ensemble. Placement is re-evaluated annually.
Young Men's Chorus is for young men with changed or changing voices who demonstrate a commitment to the art of ensemble singing by maintaining the high level of skill and self-discipline necessary to perform challenging literature. Placement is evaluated annually and by audition.
Music reading classes are offered beginning at the Chorale level and recommended for students who are in 6th grade or above. Students learn to sight-read through solfege (do, re, mi, etc.) which enables them to hear the music intervals in thought first, enabling them to then sing the intervals on the musical score accurately. Sight-reading is a different skill than playing an instrument like the piano, where the touch of the keys produces the sound. Reading music is similar to learning to speak a foreign language, and ability improves with regular practice. Music reading proficiency is required for placement in the advanced ensembles - Choristers, Concert Choir, and Young Men’s Chorus. Students must pass a proficiency test in both Chorale and Choristers in order to move up to more advanced ensembles.