The Toronto Children’s Chorus consists of six choirs: KinderNotes, four Training Choirs, and the Main Choir. Within the Main Choir are the Cantare, Chorale, Chamber, and Choral Scholars. As choristers become more and more accomplished, they graduate to higher levels within the choir structure. The highest level a chorister can achieve is to be a member of the Choral Scholars.
Each child that begins the program is given a music bag with everything they need to begin their adventure as a chorister. Our artistic team leads the children’s choral movement by creating a curriculum for each choir level that is specifically suited for the child’s age and ability.
The Training Choir program consists of sequentially developed skills, ultimately preparing choristers for admission into the main performing choir of the Chorus. For example, in their first year as preparatory level choristers, children will learn several songs, the basics of rhythm, how to sing a simple pentatonic phrase at sight and to distinguish between similar melodies when they are sung.
The Training Choir program is very structured and is a tested and proven method for moving children along at a reasonable pace. The program is the result of 30 years of experience working with children, having an artistic team that leads in the world of children’s choirs, and developing a curriculum that suits their age and ability.
The choir’s goal is to nurture the artist in every child and in so doing to give that child a well-rounded musical education. The musical education offered by the Toronto Children’s Chorus develops even those children who struggle with staying on tune, giving them the tools to mature their hearing and musicianship starting at the preparatory level.
The rewards are profound. Being part of the choir is a life-enhancing, challenging and enjoyable experience. A lot is expected from the choristers and they meet these challenges because of the ineffable feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves, part of a national treasure.
Choristers are expected to attend rehearsals, practice their music at home, complete their theory homework, participate in workshops and camps, and perform at concerts. Choristers receive vocal, theory, sight-singing and ear-training instruction appropriate to their choir level. Choristers also receive the support of conductors’ assistants, volunteer parents and older choristers as they progress through the program.
The Toronto Children’s Chorus teaches and nurtures the values of discipline, maturity, independence and confidence in children because of its commitment to the highest level of artistic excellence. Children get considerable help and encouragement with their songs and assignments and are expected to learn their music and complete their assignments.
Each chorister, no matter what their age and choir level, must pay attention at their rehearsals, learn their music and complete any assignments. Of course, extra support is given to the youngest choristers but they are still expected to meet a level of responsibility. As the choristers progress to higher choir levels, they often find they have to make choices on how to spend their time so that both their school work and choir assignments are completed on time. This inspires self-discipline.
Maturity and Independence
Even as early as the preparatory level, choristers are taught to sign in, find their seat and retrieve the music they will rehearse from their bag without the help of their parents. Choristers are also held responsible for their music bag and all its contents. The Toronto Children’s Chorus asks parents to encourage their children to complete these tasks by themselves.
Choristers feel a considerable sense of accomplishment from performances and the applause of a live audience, from getting theory answers correct in rehearsal to when their conductor praises them for expressive and beautiful singing.
Friends for Life
The Chorus gives children a chance to bond through planned social activities throughout the year. The experience of performing together as a team and socializing at various events throughout the year fosters bonding and friendships that last a lifetime.
Every year, children who are in the choir re-audition to assess how they are doing musically and socially and are then placed into the level that best suits them. The Training Choir program is both age and level-based. Children stay in each level until they have acquired the skills and maturity necessary to move on to the next level. Some children will progress at a slower pace than others – there are ten-year old choristers in Training Choir II and there are some in the Main Choir.