This Saturday at 3 p.m., nearly 300 children and teens will come together from Dorchester and greater Boston for the Boston City Singers’ year-end finale performance at the Strand Theatre. The young people, representing over 70 schools, will perform a wide repertoire of music, including traditional folk songs, dance, percussion pieces and contemporary music written in collaboration with Boston City Singers members. Young Dot-based Training Chorus members make up the ranks of the “BCS Orchestra,” a collaborative program with Community Music Center of Boston.
Over 120 performers in Singing All Together live in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park including graduating seniors Emily Gaylord, Deanna Biddy, Gwen Paradis and Dayo Hall, who have each been a member of Boston City Singers for more than 10 years.
Gaylord, a 12-year member of the choir, explained the impact the group has had on her life.
“Because of Boston City Singers I have sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park, I’ve sung with celebrities such as Livingston Taylor and Joey McIntyre, performed at the Wang Theater as a cast member in a touring musical and I’ve gotten the chance to work with incredible conductors and composers including Andre Thomas and Jim Papoulis,” said Gaylord. “Boston City Singers gave me knowledge and experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life!”
Boston City Singers perform dozens of events each year to benefit both the community and the chorus and youth development programs. Recent events in Dorchester include Children Sing for Peace, a benefit concert for the victims of the marathon tragedy, and a performance at the Dorchester Chili Cook-Off to raise funds for the Dorchester Day Parade. In April, the 15-member World Rhythm Ensemble staged a flash mob performance at the Ashmont T station to bring Senegalese drumming rhythms to an enthusiastic crowd as part of The Boston Foundation’s “Expressing Boston” series.
Boston City Singers also performs at prestigious events with top musicians, with this year’s schedule including fundraising gala performances to support Massachusetts Eye and Ear with New Kids on the Block’s Joey McIntyre and Children’s Hospital through One Mission. Wide-ranging collaborations offer young people opportunities to work with adult ensembles, including Grinnell College, Back Bay Chorale and Harvard Radcliffe Chorus in two performances of Carmina Burana at Harvard’s Sanders Theater, and Boston Opera Collaborative in their March production of Dead Man Walking. This year’s civic engagements include performances at Fenway for a Red Sox game, at Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s annual “State of the City” address, and for the City of Boston to honor veterans on Memorial Day at Christopher Columbus Park.
The Tour Choir, made up of 40 young people ages 11-18, also shares their gift of song beyond Boston on their bi-annual International Goodwill Tours. This summer, the singers, accompanied by Boston City Singers Founder, Artistic and Education Director Jane Money and other music and youth development professionals, will embark on a 3-week tour to Argentina with stops in Buenos Aires, Tigre, Rosario, Cordoba and Iguazu Falls on the itinerary. They will visit universities and perform at a variety of local schools and community centers. The tour concludes with participation in the XVII Annual International Choral Festival in Monte Caseros. Previous international Goodwill Tours have taken singers to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Founded in 1995 in Dorchester, Boston City Singers prides itself as being true ambassadors of the City of Boston through performances for local audiences and throughout the world. Boston City Singers makes high quality music instruction available to all by bringing its programs to the neighborhoods where the singers live. The organization teaches leadership skills, teamwork, and an appreciation for diversity to over 425 singers in 11 programs for children aged 4 – 18.