The mission of the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus is to provide a high-quality, choral music education for children of diverse backgrounds, fostering teamwork, self-discipline, accomplishment and pride while filling an important cultural need in the community and sharing the beauty of the choral art form through artistically excellent performances.
In 1995, several colleagues at Jacksonville University met to discuss the possibilities of making a shared dream come true. Local conductor Jim Taylor, with guidance from University President Dr. Fran Kinne and vocal conductor Dr. Jon Carlson, drew up the framework for a Jacksonville University Children’s Chorus. The program’s first choir served sixteen children, but through word of mouth, the program grew, and in 1998 Taylor and a brand-new Board of Directors worked to incorporate into The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus.
The Chorus has grown to serve approximately 450 First Coast children. Its performance choir program includes over 220 talented young singers ages seven through eighteen. Participating children come from a diversity of racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds, hail from five counties in Northeast Florida and represent over 100 schools. More than 25 percent of the members receive scholarship support.
Since 1995, the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus has evolved into a multi-faceted community music program providing the social and cognitive rewards of vocal music and choral participation to area children. Beyond the performance choir program, The Chorus reaches out to the community through a variety of programs, including weekly Vocal Exploration music classes and the First Coast Honors Choir Festival for area 4th - 6th graders who are nominated and recognized by their teachers for talent, hard work and dedication.
- A chorus of sixteen singers is founded at Jacksonville University.
- The Chorus is named “the designated children’s chorus of The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.”
- Outreach programs are added with the Mid-Winter Music Workshop for area music educators.
- The Concert Choir performs in its first opera, the JSO’s production of Tosca.
- The Chorus produces its first large-scale benefit concert in Jacoby Hall.
- Concert Choir performs in the JSO production of Carmen earning excellent reviews.
- The Chorus hosts a new outreach program: The First Coast Honors Choir Festival, for 75 talented fourth and fifth graders nominated by their music educators.
- The Chorus adds a third (Treble) Choir in response to increased auditions and performance requests.
- The Chorus is featured as the lead Chorus in the World’s Largest Concert, broadcast nationally on PBS.
- The Concert Choir performs in its third opera, the JSO production of La Boheme.
- The Chorus adds preschool music classes weekly at the Children’s Commission’s new Don Brewer Center for Learning and the Sulzbacher Center, serving over 120 at-risk and disadvantaged children.
- The Chorus performs in Carmina Burana and in the Symphony’s first professional recording.
- The Chorus announces the appointment of Darren Dailey as its new Artistic and Executive Director.
- The Chorus inaugurates a Training Choir program at Hyde Park Elementary School.
- A Scholarship endowment fund is opened through a major donation from Wayne and Delores Weaver.
- The Chorus expands the Training Choir program with a satellite Training Choir at Brentwood Elem.
- Chorus hosts and performs in concert with the African Children’s Choir.
- Tour choir performs at Carnegie Hall with Darren Dailey conducting.
- Satellite Training Choirs expanded to include four sites.
- Concert Choir performs for Florida American Choral Directors Association and in JSO’s Turandot.
- Two recordings, with Roseanne Cash in “How Many Christmases” and Voices for Voices holiday CD.
- Tour Choir returns to New York for a June Lincoln Center performance.
- Produced the first annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration in Jacoby Hall with guest choirs representing the community.
- Inaugurated a Vocal Exploration Class program for younger children who are not ready for the demands of a performing choir.
- Held free preschool music classes for children ages 18 months through three years, using a Kindermusik format of parent and child participation.
- Enrolled more than 250 children in Training, Treble, and Concert Choir programs.
- Produced the second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration in Jacoby Hall with Edward Waters College Concert Choir, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Concert Chorale, University of North Florida’s Perfect Fifths, Bethel Baptist Institutional Church Choir, First Coast High School Men’s Chorale, and Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church Choir joining The Chorus on stage.
- Inaugurates a Young Men’s Chorus for boys experiencing voice expansion
- Concert Choir performs at American Choral Directors Conference.
- Performs at Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
- Tour choir performs in Ireland with the National Children’s Choir of Ireland.