York County Honors Choirs
Date: November 24, 2011
Category: Community Choirs
Location: York, Pennsylvania, USA
Since the first concert for York County's (PA) 250th Anniversary Celebration in 1998, the York County Honors Choirs have celebrated the county's rich diversity through the voices of its youth. This ad hoc choir's great success during the supposed one-time performance inspired Director Randy Yoder and the Advisory Board to establish a permanent choir of students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades from the many school districts of York County. Now known as the York County Senior Honors Choir, this group of 110-120 singers has received accolades for its fine performances, bringing beautiful choral music to a variety of venues each year, including York County, Washington, DC, New York City, and beyond.
In 2002, Director Donna Knott, again with support of the Advisory Board, founded the Junior Honors Choir, for young singers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades from throughout York County. This Choir, 100+ singers strong, has received high praise for its singing around the York area, and in other places such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Annapolis, MD.
Today, both of these Choirs plus two smaller performance ensembles serve as choral ambassadors of York County, presenting up to 20 concerts annually. The Junior Honors Choir was invited to perform for the ACDA Eastern Division Conference in Philadelphia in 2010. The select group from the Senior Honors Choir, the Concorde Vocal Ensemble, was one of two high school groups in the nation to be chosen for Carnegie Hall's National High School Choral Festival in February, 2011 where they performed the Berlioz "Requiem" with members of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Concorde has also been chosen to sing for the ACDA Eastern Division Concerence in Providence, RI in February of 2012.
Students audition each year for a position in the Choirs, and they consistently report that the benefits of participating in the York County Honors Choirs have provided them with much more than just musical opportunities. Choir members develop their music reading skills and vocal technique through continued choral education, of course, but they also learn compassion, respect and leadership. This unique collaboration with choral directors, private music instructors, and families from all over York County gives students the opportunity to reach out and share their talents with others who have the same love of music and level of dedication. As the students return to their home schools and neighborhoods, they serve as leaders and positive role models, and they develop an appreciation for community involvement that extends far beyond their school years.