The Jacksonville Children's Chorus (JCC) was founded in 1995 at Jacksonville University to fill a need for a children’s music program in the area. Led by Dr. Frances B. Kinne, then Jacksonville University president, the plan to create a local choir was implemented by Dr. Jon O. Carlson and Jim Taylor, who served as the first conductor. In that first year, JCC had only 16 voices. Since then, it has grown to a membership of more than 350 singers participating in five choirs.
JCC faced many challenges because it was a small arts organization with little financial support or visibility in the community. JCC gained name recognition in 2001, when it was named the designated children's chorus of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (JSO). To ensure diversity among its members, in 1998 JCC established a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to those families who cannot afford tuition. This year, more than 35% of the singers receive either partial or full scholarships.
In 2003, JCC created the annual First Coast Honors Choir Festival, a daylong event for area fourth through sixth grade students. A guest clinician is invited to conduct the Honors Choir, which is assembled from students who have been recommended by their music teachers from Jacksonville’s 160 public and private schools. In conjunction with this event, JCC hosts a free Midwinter Music Workshop for area school music teachers.
The Board of Directors appointed Darren Dailey as the Artistic and Executive Director in 2006. Since that time, JCC has expanded its choir programs, and has developed self-produced, sold-out concerts including the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" event, the annual Cool Side of Yuletide holiday concert and concerts featuring guest artists such as Amy Grant, Voca People and Kristin Chenoweth.
As JCC grows, it has created new choirs and new opportunities for its singers. The Young Men's Chorus, established in 2011, is designed to meet the specific needs of young men who are experiencing voice expansion. The Touring Choir, established in 2011, travels nationally or internationally in the summer after a year of hard work and performances. From 16 singers in 1995, JCC has developed into one of Jacksonville's most important providers of music education, enriching the lives of singers and audiences across the region.
- A chorus of 16 singers is founded at Jacksonville University.
- Named “the designated children’s chorus of The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (JSO). Outreach programs are added with the Mid-Winter Music Workshop for area music educators. Concert Choir performs in its first opera, the JSO production of Tosca.
- Produces its first large-scale benefit concert in Jacoby Hall.
- Concert Choir performs in the JSO production of Carmen earning excellent reviews.
- Hosts a new outreach program: The First Coast Honors Choir Festival for 75 talented fourth and fifth graders nominate0d by their music educators.
- Expands Treble Choir in response to increased auditions and performance requests.
- Featured as the lead chorus in the World’s Largest Concert broadcast nationally on PBS.
- Concert Choir performs in its third opera, the JSO production of La Boheme.
- 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.
- Performs in Carmina Burana and in the JSO’s first professional recording.
- Announces the appointment of Darren Dailey as its new Artistic and Executive Director.
- Inaugurates a Training Choir program at Hyde Park Elementary School.
- A Scholarship Endowment Fund is established through a major donation from Wayne and Delores Weaver.
- Expands the Training Choir program with a satellite Training Choir at Brentwood Elementary.
- Hosts and performs with the African Children’s Choir.
- Touring 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.
- Touring Choir returns to New York for a June Lincoln Center performance.
- Produces the first annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration in Jacoby Hall with guest choirs representing the community.
- Inauguration of a Vocal Exploration Class program for younger children who are not ready for the demands of a performing choir.
- Free preschool music classes held for children ages 18 months through three years, using a Kindermusik format of parent and child participation.
- More than 250 children enrolled in Training, Treble, Concert and Touring Choir programs.
- JCC produces the second annual Rev. Dr. 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 JCC on stage.
- Young Men’s Chorus for boys experiencing voice expansion begins.
- Concert Choir performs at American Choral Directors Conference.
- Performs at Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.
- Touring Choir performs in Ireland with the National Children’s Choir of Ireland.
- Inaugurates a Young Men’s Choral Festival.
- Performs Britten’s War Requiem with the JSO.
- Touring Choir performs in Seattle, Washington and Alaska.
- Guest conductors Dr. Rollo Dilworth of Temple University and Anne Purcell, Mairéad Déiseach and Órla Gillan of the National Children’s Chorus of Ireland conducted the 11th Annual Honors Choir Festival & Young Men’s Choral Festival.
- Produces a spring concert with Amy Grant.
- Partners with JSO for Mahler’s Third Symphony.
- Travels to Italy and Greece aboard the Norwegian Jade, where they perform at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Mark’s in Venice, St. Jacob’s Cathedral in Corfu, Greece with the Corfu Children’s Choir, and aboard the cruise ship in the Stardust Theater.
- JCC YouTube video “Oye” receives over 37,000 hits.
- Dr. Frances B. Kinne Scholarship Endowment Fund established.
- Jon O. Carlson Memorial Scholarship Fund established.
- Lindsay Joiner Keller Memorial Scholarship Fund established.
- Celebrates 20th anniversary with new logo and website design.
- Makes JCC history with sold-out, standing-room only Cool Side of Yuletide and Martin Luther King, Jr. concerts.
- Dancing with the Stars event surpasses expectations with record number of tickets and sponsorships sold ensuring JCC financial stability.
- All choirs perform spring concert with Voca People, a unique and energetic Israeli-based a- cappella sensation.
- Touring Choir performs at multiple venues in New York City; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Portland, Maine and aboard the Norwegian Gem cruise ship.