Amarillo Youth Choirs, Inc. is celebrating its TWENTY-NINTH season. Under the direction of Artistic Director, Melanie Brooks, the “Concert Choirs” have been nationally and internationally recognized, and continue to earn performance trophies and recognition every year. The Amarillo Youth Choirs program includes the Amarillo Boy Concert Choir, the Amarillo Boy Preparatory Choir, the Amarillo Girl Concert Choir and the Amarillo Girl Preparatory Choir. The Amarillo Youth Choirs, Inc. is dedicated to the purpose of teaching boys and girls the joys of vocal music in a friendly, disciplined, and encouraging environment.
Membership in the four choirs currently stands over 200. Both boys and girls may audition for the Boy Preparatory Choir and Girl Preparatory Choir as early as the third grade. These choirs focus primarily on the fundamentals of voice and performance. Older boys with unchanged voices and older girls may be accepted in the Boy or Girl Concert Choir at the director’s discretion. Each Concert Choir provides an excellent opportunity for our young men and ladies to learn what is expected from them as choir members and to sample the enthusiastic acceptance shown to the choirs by many audiences. Each choir normally rehearses only once a week during the school year; however, the performance level is extremely high.
Three season concerts are given by all choirs in Amarillo as well as various concerts throughout the area including approximately 16 in-school concerts. Every February, AYC sponsors an annual Vocal Camp available to all boys and girls, 2nd – 6th grades. Classes offered during this camp include “See It, Sing It, Live It!” (sight-singing), “Movin’ & Groovin’,” “Performance Perfection,” and individual mini voice lessons. In August, AYC offers an annual one-week Choir Camp where boys and girls, 3rd – 8th grades can expand their musical theory knowledge.
During its history, the Amarillo Boy Concert Choir has performed with the Vienna Boy Choir, Austria’s Wiltener Boy Choir, England’s Southend Boys Choir, the American Boy Choir, the Texas Boys Choir, Tucson Arizona Boy Chorus, the Albuquerque Boy Choir, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Little Theatre, Amarillo Master Chorale, Chamber Music Amarillo, and West Texas A&M University Orchestra. In March 2013, the Amarillo Boy Concert Choir traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii where the choir gave a moving performance at Pearl Harbor as well as performed at the Kawaiaho Church for descendants of Hawaiian royalty. In March 2009, the Amarillo Boy Choir traveled to Rome, Italy to perform in the Saint John in Lateran Cathedral and at St. Peter’s Basilica. This one-week tour also took the boys to the medieval village of Orvieto to perform at the Cathedral there and to the ruins of Pompeii.In March 2005, the Amarillo Boy Concert Choir traveled to London, England. While on tour the Boy Choir performed at the Canterbury Cathedral, Church of St. Anne and St. Agnes, Westcliffe School for Boys, and in a joint concert with the Southend Boys Choir in Southend-on-Sea, UK. In the spring of 2001, the Amarillo Boy Choir traveled to Germany and Austria performing for and with the world-renown Vienna Boy Choir. The Amarillo Boy Choir was the first American boy choir to accept an invitation to perform at the Vienna Boy Choir School as well as tour its facilities.
The Amarillo Boy Choir’s performance level has been such that the Concert Choir has been awarded the distinction of “Outstanding Choir” for seventeen years at the Greater Southwest Music Festival. Other awards for the Amarillo Boy Choir include Outstanding in Class for the Cavalcade Showcase of Music Festival in 2014, Grand Champion Choir in the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival in 2010, Grand Champion Choir in the Spring in the Park Music Festival in 2008, Best in Class all male choir in the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival in 2002, the Men’s Chorus Grand Championship Award from the San Antonio American Classics Bluebonnet Festival in 1998 as well as the Men’s Chorus Grand Championship Award from the 13 week national Orlando Musicfest competition in 1997. Other past performances include St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the state capitol of Oklahoma, a Netherlands television documentary, and by special invitation for the Texas Music Educators Association’s annual convention in San Antonio, the Southwest American Choral Directors Association Convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, twice for the American Choral Directors Association Leadership Conference, and for the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Miami, Florida. The Amarillo Boy Choir has also had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City under the direction of noted composer, Bob Chilcott.
In March 2014, the Amarillo Girl Concert Choir ventured for the third time internationally traveling to England performing at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor’s St. George’s Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and in a joint concert with the Southend Girls Choir in Southend-on-Sea. In March 2010, the Girl Choir traveled to Madrid, Spain to perform in the national Almudena Cathedral. The one-week tour also took the girls to the medieval villages of Avila, Segovia and Toledo to perform in the exquisite Cathedrals there. In 2006, the Amarillo Girl Choir traveled to Austria and Germany to perform in Salzburg, Bergheim, Mondsee, Dachau, and Augsburg. Other past accomplishments and notable performances for the Amarillo Girl Concert Choir include the Texas Music Educators Association annual convention in 2008, the 2012 Festival Disney Music Festival in Orlando, Florida where they received the highest choral score for the entire weekend, the 2011 Kidz ‘N the Park Music Festival in Arlington, Texas where they received an Outstanding division, the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival in Winter Park, Colorado where they received a first division and was awarded the Best in Class trophy in 2005 and the Alamo Music Festival in San Antonio where they earned a superior rating and brought home the overall Outstanding in Class trophy in 2003.
In addition, the Amarillo Girl Concert Choir has toured Williamsburg, VA and Washington, DC, where they performed on the steps of our nation’s capitol, in Southern California performing at the internationally known Crystal Cathedral, and in New York City where they performed in the St. John the Divine Cathedral. The Amarillo Girl Concert Choir also has received “Outstanding” ratings at the Greater Southwest Music Festival for the past eleven years.
Members of “Spotlight”, a small group of our young men that features choreography and lighter music, and “Pizzazz”, a select group of our ladies that also features choreography and lighter music, rehearse extra hours to provide entertainment often requested for community functions and other special events.