Young Voices Toronto is a music performance and education program for children and youth that emphasizes the development of musical skills and understanding. Singing is the major focus of the musical experience, and it is a powerfully personal means of music expression. We hope this experience will form the foundation of a life-long relationship with music for the choristers and their families.
YVT offers different choir sections based on age/level. At each step of a chorister’s musical journey with the choir, music theory will be taught at the appropriate levels using theory books tailored especially for our choir divisions. Theory is an important component for developing each chorister’s skill and each child will be responsible for completing their theory homework.
Primo is the youngest entrance level and is made up of children aged 4 and 5. Here, the choristers are introduced to music in an entertaining and active manner, blending movement, singing, speech, dance and drama. The program encourages choristers to imagine, respond, and explore music in a meaningful and organic way, striving to instill an early love for music. The Primo choir are taught to appreciate the creative musical process using different elements and techniques in music.
A main focus is to help the choristers discover and develop their singing voice and to establish an understanding of choral etiquette and deportment for learning and performing. This program offers open rehearsals where parents and friends are invited to observe their child’s learning experience. The Primo Choir have their own performance within the year; however, it is up to the discretion of the conductor to decide if the Primo Choir is ready to perform at the spring concert.
Dolce I is our second-youngest ensemble. It consists of choristers who have an interest in singing and a desire to grow their musical voice, many of whom are former Primo participants. The choristers in this ensemble are able to match pitches and be willing to use strategies to further this skill. Choristers at this level learn increased control over their singing voice by using a variety of tools and techniques, such as breath control and enhanced listening. The choral repertoire allows the choristers to experience different genres of music. Additionally, some music theory is taught in the class to prepare the choristers should they decide to continue to participate in the choral community. They are taught “solfege” hand signs and how to read music. Dolce I choristers are encouraged to express their personal responses to music. They are taught the expectations of deportment and etiquette for performances. The Dolce I choir performs 2-4 times a year.
The Dolce II ensemble consists of Dolce I participants who have met the expectations of Dolce I. These choristers are able to match pitches and have an understanding of breath control, while engaging their understanding of the techniques and different tools that can be used to convey the meaning of the song to an audience. They are taught to use “solfege” hand signs to facilitate learning a melody or a part in choral music. At this level the choristers will learn to sing in canon and be able to learn and hold simple parts to create harmony. They will continue to develop their understanding of how to read music and navigate through a piece of choral music. They are given opportunities to express their feelings to different genres of music, and the ensemble often adds instruments to add colour to their repertoire. In this ensemble choristers are expected to master a high standard of performance by adhering to and leading in performance deportment and etiquette. This ensemble performs 2-4 times a year.
Cantabile is our intermediate ensemble for choristers who are comfortable matching pitches and holding their own part. In addition to solidifying the foundations of proper vocal technique, Cantabile choristers explore more challenging two-part music, and more advanced music theory. This choir performs up to five times per season. This ensemble participates in two-day retreats per year and various community performances, in addition to an annual multi-junior-choir workshop, where they learn from and listen to other choirs, build friendships, and work with international guest conductors.
Encore is the senior ensemble of the YVT family and choristers are expected to have an understanding of proper vocal production, a developing sense of musicianship and strong leadership abilities. Encore explores a wide range of challenging choral literature from a broad range of genres, cultures and traditions. The Encore season begins with a mandatory two-night retreat in August. This choir performs up to six times per season including the multi-senior-choir workshop held in the GTA. This ensemble is also the touring ensemble of YVT. We strive to embark on either a provincial, national or international performance tour each season.
Every year, YVT choristers elect representatives to represent the choristers and provide an important youth voice in the running of YVT. Chorister council plans special events, retreat days, and work with administration, faculty, and volunteers to build community, promote socialization, and friendships among choristers. Chorister council representatives also take on a leadership role, ensuring they set a positive example for other choristers in all aspects of chorister life. Taking on a leadership role, and setting a good example for choristers with regard to behaviour, attitude, and musicianship.
To ensure our choristers experience the most enriching music education possible, we provide a sight-singing & ear training component. All choristers in Cantabile and Encore must participate in this program which will help to further advance their sight-singing and ear training skills. This program is a drop-in program held prior to rehearsals each week and choristers receive one on one time with a sight-singing facilitator.