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Brief History

Founded in 1993 by Artistic Director, Barbara C. Beattie, the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of children and youth through music education and performance experiences for over 25 years. The WSYC began as the Stevens Center Children’s Chorus, with children age eight to 13 making up the membership. The group continued to evolve, growing in size and stature, and it became the Winston-Salem Children’s Chorus in 1997. Thanks to strong community support and interest, along with the passion and efforts of Barbara Beattie, the WSCC added high school youth in the Young Women’s and Young Men’s Ensembles. In 2009, the WSCC renamed itself the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus, to reflect the diversity in membership and age ranges, as well as the mature sound and professional quality of the group. In June 2015, Barbara retired and passed her baton on to Dr. Sonja Sepulveda as Artistic Director. Sonja brought a vast array of musical expertise to the position. In 2018, The WSYC was brought under the artistic leadership of Piedmont Opera. In 2021, after a one-year pandemic hiatus, the group emerged as The Piedmont Youth Chorus under the direction of Patrick Schell, following Dr. Sepulveda's retirement. The new name highlights the company's commitment to music education throughout the Piedmont area.

 

The WSYC has had more than 100 members in four ensembles, ranging in age from eight to 18 and representing more than 40 schools in Forsyth and surrounding counties.

 

 

The Opportunity

The Piedmont Youth Chorus is dedicated to educating the talented and diverse youth of our community in music and choral skills while offering them abundant opportunities to share their talents locally and beyond.  We offer a wide range of programs throughout the year to suit the learning needs and interests of every student. Open to any child who passes a standard audition, PYC members learn music theory, sight reading, proper vocal technique, choral style, and music in many languages within its unique cultural perspective. The PYC brings together children from a variety of backgrounds to learn teamwork and tolerance while building lasting friendships based on the universal language of music.

The PYC is known as the preeminent youth chorus within our city and our region. We enjoy frequent concert collaborations with local and regional arts organizations and have also participated in several prestigious music festivals and events.

Collaborations

Our members are frequently invited to perform with regional arts groups and professional musicians. Current collaborations include holiday concerts with the Winston-Salem Symphony and performances in Nutcracker with UNCSA. Past Collaborations include the Bernstein Mass with UNCSA, three concerts with the Piedmont Wind Symphony (including one with Neil Sedaka and one with Paul Anka), performances with the Carolina Chamber Symphony, collaboration with the Salisbury Symphony with their performance of “Carmina Burana”,  a performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthems with the UNCSA Cantata Singers directed by James Allbritten, Turandot, Hansel & Gretel, Tosca and La boheme  with Piedmont Opera, Lenny’s Spiritual Side, John Williams Returns and “Carmina Burana”  concerts with the Winston-Salem Symphony, John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Piedmont Chamber Singers, Voices United with the Winston-Salem State University Choirs directed by D’Walla Burke and several major musical works with Salem College Choirs.

Choral & Music Festivals

The Youth Chorus has participated in many prestigious music festivals, such as:

  • 14th Annual Festival of the Agean in Syros, Greece (July 2018)

  • Carnegie Hall 34th Anniversary Season in New York City (June 2017)

  • The Vienna Choral Music Festival in Vienna, Austria (June 2016)

  • The Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans under the direction of Cheryl Dupont and Bob Chilcott from England. (June 2015)

  • The Paris Choral Festival in Paris, France under the direction of Dr. Andre Thomas (July 2013)

  • The Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in Wintergreen, Virginia (July 2011)

  • The Windy City Youth Choral Festival in Chicago under the direction of Francisco Nuñez (June 23-27, 2010)

  • The  Shenandoah Conservatory Youth Choral Festival in Winchester, Virginia (March 2008)

  • The Magnolia Baroque Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (June 2006)

  • The International Music Festival in Salzburg, Austria (July 2004)

  • The Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina (May 2008, May 2002)

  • The Second Mid-Winter Children’s Choir Festival at Carnegie Hall (February 2001)

  • The Massed Children’s Choirs Festival in Winchester, Virginia (March 2000), and

  • The North Carolina School of the Arts and Salem College 25th Annual Summer Organ Academy (June 1999).

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