On Tuesday, November 8, while many Owensboroans were watching election results, a crowd of around 250 people had their eyes – and ears – focused on the Kentucky Youth Chorale (KYC), a children’s choir based here in Owensboro.
The concert, which was held at Third Baptist Church, was a fundraiser in support of KYC’s dream-come-true trip to sing in Carnegie Hall next May.
That opportunity came through a personal invitation by Ruth Dwyer, who conducts the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. The backstory is that Dwyer’s choir and KYC previously sang at the same children’s chorale festival in Columbus, Indiana, and Dwyer subsequently brought the Indianapolis choir to Owensboro to perform at the RiverPark Center.
When Dwyer was tasked with coordinating 120 singers to perform at Carnegie Hall next Memorial Day, (2017) she invited KYC to be a part of it. “We’re thrilled to have the personal invitation and for the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall with a symphony orchestra,” said Julie White, who founded KYC.
The music selections for the Memorial Day performance at Carnegie Hall will be patriotic songs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam conflict.
Travel is a big part of KYC. White says giving chorale members the experience of traveling overseas was one of the reasons she formed the choir. “I think it’s important for these children to see the bigger picture and experience the world beyond western Kentucky. And I believe it helps them gauge if they really are considering making a career of singing.”
This past July, for example, the group traveled to the International Children’s Chorale festival in Canterbury England where they sang at London’s Suffolk Cathedral. Since they had already committed to traveling that far, the choir decided to submit an MP3 to apply for a chance to sing at Notre Dame in Paris, France. Being accepted was a real honor and a chance KYC could not pass up.
White says she started the choir as a retirement project in 2008. “I think every community needs a fine children’s choir,” White explains. KYC now consists of 80 students ranging from 8 – 18 years old. Auditions are held in August and January.
The choir’s next performance is December 9 at St. Stephen’s Cathedral starting at 7pm with a dessert reception following. Tickets are $5.
Several KYC members will also be Christmas caroling at the Holiday Stroll December 3 while dressed in period clothing.