Arts & Entertainment

Performing Wonders: Kids Make Their Mark Through Song

Providing an outstanding choral education program since 1983, Pittsburgh Youth Chorus (formerly Children's Festival Chorus) is the region's premier choral organization for young voices.


Monday nights when most kids are settling down to do homework or getting on line to play a video game, Will Mueller is hopping into the car to make the 1-hour drive to Pittsburgh from his family's home in Grove City. Will is a member of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus' Bel Canto Singers, and he travels two hours a week 'round trip (sometimes more) to rehearse.

If you point out to Will that two hours is a long way to travel just to sing, you'll get a "it's not a big deal" shrug. "You get to sing with people who enjoy singing as much as you do," he says with a smile. "You get more out of it than you put in. It's so rewarding."

Whether you're a young person interested in a higher level singing, a parent who wants your child to challenge themselves musically, or someone who just loves to hear talented children sing, you'll want to see what happened when Sparkt visited a recent rehearsal for PYC's winter concert "What the World Needs Now":

Pittsburgh Youth Chorus is described as Pittsburgh's premiere choral organization for young voices. It's made up of more than 200 talented singers from throughout the Pittsburgh region, who audition for the chance to join. They're divided into three groups, based on age and level of experience. The youngest are the Troubadors, starting in 3rd grade. The Talismans are the mid-level group, and the Bel Cantos are what all the singers aspire to, made up of the most experienced singers all the way up to high school age. "The expectations are high but not expectations without training," explained Artistic Director Shawn Funk. "We set the bar high but then we train the kids to get them there."

The group prepares for two of their own concerts, one in December and one in the spring. But they're performing year 'round at community events and with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, and this year, for the first time, with Pittsburgh Public Theater.

In addition to those high level performance opportunities with the symphony and opera, the group also travels domestically, and even internationally. Last year they visited the United Kingdom, performing in various venues including Canterbury Cathedral.

"It was life altering for many of the kids." PYC Artistic Director Shawn Funk of the group's 2017 performance in Canterbury Cathedral

Like what you hear? Then get involved.

Attend the group's upcoming performances . They're in the Pittsburgh Public Theater's "The Tempest" in January and February, performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony March 8, and present their own spring concert April 14, The same link also has info for auditions (in May) for next season.

Support the group with a donation if you can (all funding to support PYC's programs come from individual donors, concert ticket sales and grants). You can donate at their website .

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