Community Choir Spotlight: The Wilmington Children’s Chorus

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The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is an exceptional and diverse children’s choir that serves the greater Wilmington community of Delaware.

The Chorus was founded in 2002 through a collaborative partnership with Cityfest, Inc., led by Tina Betz under the administration of then-Mayor James M. Baker and founding artistic director David Christopher. The choir remains a project of Cityfest, the nonprofit arm of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and is supported by generous individual donors, other civic and corporate sponsors, and the Delaware Division of the Arts. The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is made up of over 300 singers ages 5 to 18 in six performing ensembles representing all genders and races. The curriculum emphasizes music literacy and beautiful singing as well as building life skills including commitment, teamwork, and leadership. The performing ensembles of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus include two Youth Choirs for treble singers that focus on building music literacy through the study of unison and two-part repertoire; the Select Choir which provides an opportunity for the treble singer to grow to a high level of skill and artistry; the Young Men’s Ensemble which is designed for boys with changing or changed voices; the Concert Choir, which is a four-part SATB choir comprising selected high school members of the Young Men’s and Select Choirs; and the Chamber Choir, an auditioned group, which comprises high school members who demonstrate a strong commitment to vocal growth and music literacy. Additionally, the Neighborhood Choir program, a collaborative project with OperaDelaware, provides free choral music education to youth from underserved communities through partnerships with three elementary after-school programs in Wilmington.

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus has collaborated with major performing arts organizations and artists, including the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware ChoralArts, Newark Symphony Orchestra, Cartoon Christmas Trio, the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble with Marcel Khalife and Rima Khcheich, Hyde Park Neighborhood Choir of the Chicago Children’s Choir, American composer Robert Powell, renowned Arabic music artist Simon Shaheen, and the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Fulda, Germany on such works as Holst’s The Planets, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Falstaff, Massenet’s Werther, and Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.

The mission of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus is to nurture and develop an exceptional children’s choir for the Greater Wilmington area and to share a love and desire to excel in choral singing, performance, and musical knowledge. They join voices to spread hope and harmony throughout our city, state, and world through a dedication to artistry, teamwork, and service to others. The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is committed to uniting diverse youth and families by providing free and open access to any qualified child, regardless of financial or social background.

As “The Singing Ambassadors of Wilmington,” the organization has shared its music, principles and accomplishments with tens of thousands of people throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

The WCC faculty are respected professionals with a wealth of experience in music education, voice pedagogy, and performance. WCC interns assist the staff by providing mentoring to younger choristers while gaining valuable leadership and education experience.

The artistic director of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus since the 2009-2010 season has been Kimberly Doucette, who has been an integral part of the artistic staff since 2005. Holding bachelor’s degrees in music education and voice performance from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Delaware, Ms. Doucette has served as a presenter, clinician, and adjudicator for the American Choral Directors Association and was the Community Choir Chair for Delaware ACDA from 2011-2018. She maintains an active private voice studio for singers of all ages and has developed a vocal study curriculum designed for younger singers that emphasizes the development of music literacy in addition to vocal technique. An active performer and soloist, Ms. Doucette has appeared on stage and in concert throughout the region, most notably with OperaDelaware, Delaware ChoralArts, and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival.

Philip Doucette has been the assistant director of WCC since 2009 and served as chorus manager from 2005-2015. Mr. Doucette is the director of WCC’s Young Men’s Ensemble and co-directs the other ensembles. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Voice from The College of New Jersey, a Masters of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Arts in Communication Disorders from West Chester University, specializing in the connections between music, language, and the brain. Mr. Doucette has presented on the development of the adolescent male singer. In addition to being a licensed speech-language pathologist employed in the Christiana Care Heath System, he is recognized in the field as a singing voice specialist and has built a reputation as a respected and versatile voice teacher.

Lianna Magerr joined the Wilmington Children’s Chorus in 2007 as a member of the choir. She spent her high school years as a dedicated member. Later, she became an intern, when she had the opportunity to share her love of education and music with Youth Choir. Now manager of operations, Ms. Magerr continues to work closely with the children of WCC, hoping to inspire the youth of Delaware to be their best selves.

 

Repertoire of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus:

December 2018: Ding Dong! Merrily on High, French carol/arr. Mager; Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, John Rutter; The Sleigh, Richard Kountz/arr. Riegger; Velvet Shoes, Randall Thompson; Marshmallow World, De Rose/arr. Gilpin; Haida Chassidic, round/arr. Leck; Con amores la mi madre, Juan de Anchieta/arr. Chilcott; Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, Provençal carol/arr. Paulus; Stille Nacht, Franz Xaver Gruber; Children, Go Where I Send Thee, African American spiritual/arr. Doucette & Bozenhard; Soon and Very Soon, Andraé Crouch/arr. Helgen; Zol Zain Sholem, Yiddish folk song/arr. Jacobson; Hanerot Halalu, Baruch J. Cohon/arr. Chass; Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child, spiritual/arr. Larson

Spring 2018: Vela, Vela, traditional; Morokeni, arr. Bernard Krüger; Ose Ayo, arr. Brian Tate; Mohlang ke kgotlelang hae, arr. Rudolph de Beer; Amavolovolo, arr. Rudolph de Beer; Hakuna Mungu Kama Wewe, arr. Kirk Aamot; Wako Wapi, arr. Tim Gregory; O Desayo, arr. Elliot Levine; Bantama Kra Kro, arr. Mark Weston; Indodana, arr. M. Barrett & R. Schmitt; Vamudara, traditional; Bonse Aba, arr. Andrew Fischer; Tshotsholoza, arr. Philip Doucette; Nda Wana, arr. Michael Barrett; Kaki Lambe, arr. Brian Tate; Si Njay, Njay, Njay, arr. Alexander L’Estrange; Lizela, traditional

December 2017: A Ceremony of Carols, Benjamin Britten; Ar Gryfer Heddiw’r Bore, Welsh carol/arr. Gwen; Good King Wenceslas, English carol/arr. Schram; I Saw Three Ships, English carol/arr. Curry; Cornish Wassail, English carol/arr. Bertaux; Auld Lang Syne, traditional Scottish carol/arr. Biegel; Somerset Wassail, English carol/arr. Felciano; Nowell Sing We, 15th-century English carol; God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, English carol/arr. Kern; Stars of Glory, Celtic carol/arr. Rouse; Hanerot Halalu, Baruch J. Cohon/arr. Chass; Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child, spiritual/arr. Larson

Spring 2017: Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg, attr. Dietrich Buxtehude; Verleih uns Frieden, Felix Mendelssohn; Sim Shalom, Jewish folk song/arr. Leavitt; Tanzen und Springen, Hans Leo Hassler/arr. Liebergen, Barcarolle from Les contes d’Hoffmann, Jacques Offenbach; Over the Sea to Skye, Scottish folk song/arr. Wagner; Avec la garde montante from Carmen, Georges Bizet; Let All the World Hear Music, Marc-Antoine Charpentier/arr. Liebergen; Music Alone Shall Live, traditional German/arr. Lopez; Ain’-a That Good News?, traditional/arr. Patterson; Die Lorelei, traditional German/arr. Doucette; Jesus Gave Me Water, Lucie Campbell/adapt. Doucette; Dry Your Tears, Afrika, John Williams/adapt. Snyder; Freedom’s Plow, Rollo Dilworth; Walk Together Children, traditional spiritual

December 2016: Kling, Glöckchen, Kling!, traditional German/arr. Sieving; La Bonne Nouvelle, traditional French/arr. Sieving; Who Can Sail?, traditional Finnish/arr. Agnestig; Ocho Kandelikas, Flory Jagoda/arr. Jacobson; Pastores á Belén, traditional Puerto Rican/arr. Crocker; Al Shlosha D’Varim, Allan Naplan; S’vivon, traditional/arr. Smith; Barechu, Salmone Rossi; Huron Carol, traditional French Canadian/arr. Burrows; Patapan, traditional French/arr. Unterseher; V lesu rodilas yolochka, Leonid Beckmann; Niño Lindo, traditional Venezuelan/arr. D. & J. Perry; Hanaqpachap cussicuinin, Peru/anonymous; Duérmete, Mi Corazón, traditional Bolivian/arr. Herrington; Bolingo, traditional Congolese/arr. Gallina; Hanerot Halalu Baruch J. Cohon/arr. Chass; Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child, spiritual/arr. Larson

Shop all Wilmington Children’s Chorus repertoire 

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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