Community Choir Spotlight: Allegro Choirs of Kansas City


Since its creation in 1999, Allegro Choirs of Kansas City has grown from one youth choir of 38 singers to over 250 singers in six ensembles. Today, the singers represent students in grades 3 through 12. Drawn from across the Kansas City metro, these talented young singers come from private, public, and home-schooled environments. Allegro Choirs delight audience members each year – locally, nationally and abroad – with their varied repertoire and heartfelt singing and this year will enchant audiences as they perform at the ACDA National Conference in Kansas City.

The Allegro singers come from a variety of backgrounds but share an important common value as the singers work together to achieve one sound: Every Individual Voice Matters. These singers are proof that “lives are changed through song” as individual character, standards, and friendships are molded for life.

Every individual on the Allegro staff believes passionately in Allegro’s standard of excellence, methods of instruction, and the untapped potential of each singer who walks through the door. The Allegro staff has been hand selected so that every member brings a level of excellence and utmost professionalism to their position, combined with unbounded creativity, inspiration, and a desire to teach.

Inspiration within Allegro is contagious, and the organization strives to make a difference in our community and our world. Allegro partners with foundations such as HALO as well as providing special performances for those in need, knowing that doing so not only transform the lives of the singers and directors but positively impact those around us through service, soul, and song.

In addition to providing a wonderful musical environment that promotes life values, friendships, and a love of music that last a lifetime, participation in Allegro ensembles also teaches an appreciation of fine arts, self-discipline, teamwork, self-expression, confidence, skill mastery, an understanding of one’s self and how we relate to the world, respect, compassion, commitment, the ability to self-assess, emotional maturity, musicality, an understanding of diversity, community, and service, the importance of hard work, and self-esteem.

The choirs that make up Allegro are:

Directed by Christy Elsner, this ensemble is composed of a select group of outstanding singers from Brio and Spirito. This small ensemble of high school young men and women serve as our ambassador choir in the Kansas City metro and is available for hire, performing concert sets of up to 30 minutes in length. Brillante will delight any audience with a variety of repertoire and gorgeous sound.

Allegro Con Brio
Directed by Christy Elsner, this ensemble is recognized nationally and internationally for its exceptional technique, colorful rich tone, and artistic expression. The high-school-age ladies “wear the pearls” and come from a wide variety of backgrounds, talents and interests, but all have the same goal of singing challenging repertoire with excellence. They have graced the stage of the Myerson Symphony Hall in Dallas, Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Kauffman Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, the White House in Washington, D.C., St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy and many other incredible venues in the United States and abroad. They are featured on many recordings on the Santa Barbara Music Publishing website as well as other publishing companies. Brio offers advanced choral training and vocal development; singers learn at an intense pace.

Allegro Con Spirito
Directed by Dr. Christopher Smith, this is an energetic ensemble for young men with changed and changing voices. Spirito rehearsals are fast-paced with a focus on vocal development and musicianship skills. Spirito performs a wide variety of music from numerous styles and periods. The young men of Spirito pride themselves on being a brotherhood of first-rate showmen and positive role models. Spirito men are fiercely proud of their exceptional artistry and consistently wow audiences with their combination of power and sensitivity.

Allegro Con Moto
Directed by Christy Elsner, this ensemble is structured for singers who have a passion for singing and a desire to perform at a higher musical level. Rehearsal techniques are innovative and learning is fast-paced with a focus on building reading skills, developing the changing voice, boosting confidence, engaging in proper vocal technique, and teamwork.

Vivo Allegro
Directed by Gretchen Harrison, this ensemble is for treble singers in grades 5–7. Vivo provides vocal training in an energetic, loving atmosphere. Basic theory, music reading skills, head tone, vowels, breath control, and performance skills are taught through unison and two-part music.

Poco Allegro
Directed by Kellyn Harrison, this is an introductory “get your feet wet” choir for grades 3–5. Good vocal singing habits, basic performing skills, and music theory are introduced through age-appropriate classical voice training in a fun, high-energy environment.

The Allegro Directors and Staff:

Christy Elsner – As Allegro’s founder, Christy loves standing before young singers as proof that dreams come true with hard work, elbow grease, persistence, and a passion for your chosen field.

Gretchen Harrison – In addition to working with Allegro, Gretchen is currently responsible for the vibrant choral program at Frontier Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kansas.

Kellyn Harrison – A singer for eight years, Kellyn has grown up in the Allegro family. She is energetic, smart, and funny, loves to sing, and plays a mean French horn.

Dr. Christopher Smith – Chris brings plenty of experience as a mentor, conductor, art director, and pianist. He leads our young men with positivity and encouragement.

Jamea Sale – Jamea is a singer/soloist with the William Baker Festival Singers of Kansas City and serves as associate director at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Dr. Andrea Ramsey – Dr. Andrea Ramsey enjoys an international presence as a composer, conductor, scholar, and music educator. Andrea has been composer-in-residence for Allegro for over fifteen years.

Lori Egan – Serving as our administrator, Lori works hard to help educate and develop the brains and hearts of Allegro’s young singers.

Repertoire of Allegro Con Brio: Dixit Dominus, Baldassare Galuppi; Sing Me to Heaven, arr. Paul Carey; Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ, arr. Jim Leininger; Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down, arr. Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory; No Time, arr. Susan Brumfield; Fecit Potentiam, ed. Ralph Hunter; El Desdichado, Camille Saint-Saëns; Lineage, Andrea Ramsey; Nada te Turbe, Joan Szymko; They’re Red Hot, arr. Moira Smiley; A Witness to Majesty, Andrea Ramsey; Will the Circle be Unbroken, arr. J. David Moore; Lullaby from Cantata “This Day” Ralph Vaughan Williams; Mele Kalikimaka, arr. Briana Swift; Christmastide, Tom Shelton; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Traditional; Morokeni arr. Bernard Kruger; Nisi Dominus, ed. Kevin Padworski; Romance, Claude Debussy; Captivity, arr. Mark Herman & Ronnie Apter; Shifting the Sun, Lee Kesselman; Tha Thin Tha, Lisa Young & Ben Robertson; Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, arr. Alice Parker; Bright Mansions, arr. K. Lee Scott; Banjo Pickin’ Girl, arr. Andrea Ramsey & Tim Sharpe; No Hiding Place and Ride the Chariot, arr. Marilyn Epp; I Cannot Dance, Kurt Knecht; Heart, We Will Forget Him!, James Q. Mulholland; Tecum Principium, arr. Christy Elsner; Even When He Is Silent, Kim André Arnesen; Hold On, arr. Stacey V. Gibbs; Cantate Domine, Heinrich Schütz; Trillo, Traditional Swedish Folk Song; She, arr. Andrea Ramsey; Jerusalem, arr. Michael McGlynn; Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, arr. Doug Claybrook; Sleigh Ride, arr. Hawley Ades.


Repertoire of Allegro Con Spirito: Zion’s Walls, arr. Aaron Copland; Down in the Valley, arr. George Mead; Vive l’Amour, arr. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; Gentle Annie, arr. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; Swing Down Chariot, arr. André Thomas; O Sing to the Lord, Dan Davison; Dominus Vobuscum, Jacob Narverud; O Sole Mio, arr. Jacob Narverud; Bound for Jubilee, Joyce Eilers; Stitches, arr. Jacob Narverud; The Ballad of John Henry, Neil Johnson; Who Is He in Yonder Stall?, Robert H. Young; Baba Yetu, adapted by Derek Macha; Brothers, Sing On!, arr. Howard McKinney; Journeyman’s Song, Braeden Ayres; For My Brother, Andrea Ramsey; O Captain! My Captain!, John Leavitt; The Star-Spangled Banner, arr. Paul Tucker; Chester, William Billings; The Mansions of the Lord Randall, arr. Benjamin Harlan; Blow Ye the Trumpet, Kirke Mechem; Until I Found the Lord, arr. André Thomas; Der Herr Segne Euch, Johann Sebastian Bach, African-American Spirituals from the Justice Songbook: Hold On, trans. Justice Choir; Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round, arr. J. David Moore; In Flanders Fields, Kolby Van Camp; Stars I Shall Find, Victor C. Johnson; The Circus Band, Charles Ives; Schön Blümelein, Robert Schumann; Dúlamán, Michael McGlynn; The Longest Time, arr. Roger Emerson; Jingle Bells, arr. Michael McGlynn; Riu Riu, arr. Michael McGlynn

Repertoire of Allegro Con Moto: Badgers and Hedgehogs from Bless the Lord, Andrew Carter; Agnus Dei from Coronation, arr. Jerry Harris; At the River, arr. Aaron Copland; Shady Grove, arr. Betty Bertaux; I’m Goin’ Up Yonder, arr. Martin Sirvatka; Esurientes, Antonio Vivaldi, ed. Janet Galvan; Fairest Lady, Nick Page; Sesere eeye, arr. Matthew Doyle; There Has to be a Song, Andrea Ramsey; Lullaby from Cantata “This Day” R.Vaughan Williams; Chorale on “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, arr. Glenn Wonacott; The Christmas Song, arr. Kirby Shaw; Morokeni, arr. Bernard Kruger; But a Flint Holds Fire, Andrea Ramsey; Let the Sea Make a Noise, arr. Jacob Narverud; Olaré, arr. Daisy Fragoso; Shine, arr. Christy Elsner & Jon Young; Ton Thé, arr. Susan Brumfield; Crawdad Hole, arr. Mary Goetze; If It Must Be, Andrea Ramsey; Why Not?, Nathan Howe; I’m Goin’ Up a Yonder, Walter Hawkins; One Hand, One Heart, Leonard Bernstein; I Feel Pretty, arr. William Stickles; Tuli Tuli, arr. Alex Gartner; Canticle to the Spirit, Eleanor Daley; An Die Nachtigall, Robert Schumann; I Sing Because I’m Happy, adapted by Rollo Dilworth; Do Lord, arr. Andrea Ramsey; S’Vivon, arr. Valerie Shields


Repertoire of Vivo Allegro: Agnus Dei, arr. Michael Burkhardt; This Little Light of Mine, arr. Ken Berg; The Deaf Old Woman, arr. Katherine Davis; Acabaca Soda Cracker, Carey Ratcliff; Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, ed. Janet Galvan; O Give Thanks, Wayland Rogers; Step in Time, arr. Philip Kern; Good King Wenceslas, arr. Melissa Malvar-Keylock & Jill Friedersdorf; Catalonian Carol, arr. Cary Ratcliff; Sing to Me, Andrea Ramsey; Art Thou Troubled?, arr. Jean Ashworth-Bartle; Will You Walk a Little Faster?, John Carter; Annie Laurie, arr. Earlene Rentz; She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain, arr. Earlene Rentz; He’s Got the Whole World, arr. Laurie London; Old Dan Tucker, arr. Susan Brumfield; If Music Be the Food of Life, Henry Purcell; Hine Ma Tov, arr. Allan Naplan; Rattle My Rattle, arr. Susan Brumfield; Art Thou Troubled?, George Frideric Handel; Old Joe Clark, arr. Judy Harrington; The Sailor and the Sinner Man, arr. Randall Johnson; Shake the Papaya Down, arr. Ruth E. Dwyer & Judith M. Waller; Pat-a-Pan, Joan Whittemore; ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime, Sally Logee


Repertoire of Poco Allegro: All the Earth Sing Forth, arr. Hal Hopson; I’ve Been to Harlem, arr. Ken Berg; Three Quotes by Mark Twain, Andrea Ramsey; Marienwürmchen, ed. Mary Goetze; Haida, arr. Henry H. Leck; Making a Paper Airplane, Andy Beck; Holly Jolly Santa Claus, arr. Mark Brymer; Wind Through the Olive Trees, arr. B. Wayne Bisbee; O Desayo, arr. Mark Brymer; Cradle Song, W.A. Mozart; Animalia – 2. Frog 3. Turtle Tango, Earl Reisdorff; Sing to Me, Andrea Ramsey; Chatter with the Angels, arr. Betty Bertaux; Dry Bones, arr. Hal Hopson; Mrs. Jenny Wren, Arthur Baynon; When I Sing, Leeann Starkey; La Paloma Se Fué, arr. Alejandro Jimenez; This Little Light of Mine, arr. Donald P. Moore; We Are Santa’s Elves, arr. Greg Gilpin; O Who’s That Yonder?, John Wilson

Repertoire of Brillante: We Wish You a Merry Christmas, arr. Paul Carey

Shared Repertoire of Allegro ensembles: All Creatures of Our God and King, arr. Mack Wilberg; Homeland, arr. Z. Randall Stroope; Kuimba Nafsi Yangu, Jacob Narverud; Dixit Dominus, arr. Jacob Narverud & Christy Elsner; Gems of J.M. Barrie: 1. One Girl 2. A Mother’s Love 3. The Cleverness of Me 4. Teach Me, Andrea Ramsey; Children Will Listen, arr. Jacob Narverud; O Sing, My Soul!, Jacob Narverud; Noel, arr. Brad Holmes; Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy, arr. Stephen Hatfield; See, Amid the Winter’s Snow, arr. Dan Forrest; Let Everything that Hath Breath Praise the Lord, Jeffrey Ames; I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Bill Backer, Roger Cook, Billy Davis & Roger Greenaway; The Road Home, Stephen Paulus; Common Threads, Andrea Ramsey; Oz Cantata, Lee Kesselman; Khumbaya, arr. Lucas Bok; Love Unseen, Lee R. Kesselman; Will the Circle Be Unbroken, arr. J. David Moore; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, arr. Dan Forrest; Antiphon, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Walking in the Air, arr. Howard Blake; The Sleepy Shepherd Boy, Gordon Thornett; Glory to Thee, My God This Night, arr. Kenneth Brown; Silent Night , arr. Shawn Kirchner

Shop all Allegro’s repertoire

Tom Dean
Tom Dean
Tom Dean is a Choral Editor, and the Elementary and Secondary General Music Editor for J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. Prior to working for Pepper, Tom taught instrumental and choral music as well as audio engineering at the high school level in the Delaware public schools for 32 years. He is a member of the ACDA and is active in the Delaware Music Educators where he served in numerous positions including President, All-State Coordinator, Technology chair, and Composition chair, and NAfME where he served as Eastern Division President and NEB member. He also was a member of the music writing team that developed the new music standards for the NCCAS project.


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