The Greater Richmond Children’s Choir is dedicated to bringing together boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to experience the joy of singing and to gain a life-long love for good music through age-appropriate vocal training. The GRCC strives to nurture the unique gift each child brings, to encourage all to reach for excellence, and ultimately, to create responsible and compassionate citizens of the world. Founding Artistic Director Hope Armstrong Erb has been proclaimed “a wonder” in her ability to maintain a high standard in both performance and teaching. Now in its fifteenth season, GRCC includes 65 choristers, ages 8-18 in five ensembles representing over 35 different schools in the city of Richmond and the surrounding counties. GRCC is a non-profit corporation providing need-based scholarships to over 30% of the children, and rehearses weekly at Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in the city, next door to the Landmark Theater.
The Greater Richmond Children’s Choir is multicultural in its diverse membership, its repertoire, and its audience outreach locally and abroad. GRCC choristers have sung in over forty different languages representing more than fifty different ethnic and religious groups worldwide. In June 2012, thirty-five members of GRCC’s touring choirs, Pro Arte and Cavalieri, will travel to England and Ghana on a tour designed to follow the historic slave trade triangle. The tour will include cultural exchanges and performances from Liverpool Cathedral to Cape Coast Castle. In preparation for the tour, Dr. Paul Kwami, native Ghanaian and director of the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers, taught the students Ghanaian songs he arranged especially for GRCC at our 2011 summer camp. Travel is an integral part of GRCC’s mission and in 2010 thirty-six GRCC members toured Tennessee and Arkansas where they performed at the Grand Old Opry, Graceland, The Phillips County Boys & Girls Club, and more. And in 2008, fifty GRCC choristers were warmly received by their Chinese hosts when the choir toured Beijing and Shanghai, presenting programs of Chinese and American music for and with groups of Chinese students. Prior tours have also included festivals in Italy, Canada, and Carnegie Hall in New York City where the choirs have received highest accolades.
The Pro Arte Choir of GRCC is recognized as one of the best choirs in the USA having been selected to perform at the national and regional Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. The 2011-12 season is GRCC’s 15th and in addition to the England/Ghana tour will include performances in the Lyric Opera Virginia production of The King & I, singing the national anthem at the VCU vs. UR basketball game, and several collaborations with area non-profits including an April concert at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Last season’s Virginia Commonwealth University Opera 60th Anniversary production, Hansel & Gretel, in which GRCC’s Pro Arte performed, earned 2nd place in the National Opera Association’s 2011 opera production video competition. GRCC was named Best Choir and Hope Armstrong Erb named Best Conductor in the 13th Concorso Internazionale di Canto Corale in Verona, Italy. GRCC has sung at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and performed as the featured choir in the Field Studies International Festival 2000 at Carnegie Hall, NYC.
The choir has performed to full houses and critical acclaim with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Britten’s War Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings, Doug Richards’ A Maré Éncheu and in numerous Holiday Pops concerts. GRCC members have been seen on national television portraying the “French children’s choir” in the pilot episode of “Commander in Chief” starring Geena Davis on ABC, in a state-wide commercial for the Virginia Prepaid College Tuition Plan, in a special spot on China TV during the choir’s tour which was broadcast internationally on the English-speaking Channel, live on “King Biscuit Time,” the longest running daily American blues radio show, and live last season on WCVE Channel 6 “Virginia This Morning.”
"The chorus of angelic voices soared to and through the hearts of the crowd."
- Richmond Times-Dispatch
Different Choirs of the GRCC:
The GRCC is made up of five choirs to accommodate all singing levels.
Three choirs of boys and girls with soprano and alto voices:
Treble Choir – entry level
Concert Choir – intermediate leve
Pro Arte – advanced level
Two choirs including tenors and basses
Cavalieri Choir – all-male choir of tenors and basses
Cantare – combined Pro Arte and Cavalieri Choirs
"The (GRCC) featured choir performance was truly one of the finest that I have heard since these festivals began 10 years ago."
- Linda Torres, Festival Artistic Director, Field Studies International Festival 2000 at Carnegie Hall
The Greater Richmond Children's Choir is dedicated to bringing together boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to experience the joy of singing and to gain a life-long love for good music through age-appropriate vocal training. We strive to nurture the unique gift each child brings, to encourage all to reach for excellence, and ultimately, to create responsible and compassionate citizens of the world.
Music is an expression of the human spirit; it gives voice to the divine within us. A positive choral experience creates a strong sense of community and mutual respect while promoting individual strength and self-discipline.
We strive for musical excellence. Every child has potential for musical growth, and every child has a place in the GRCC, regardless of talent or experience. We recognize that the path to excellence is through dedication, self-discipline, and teamwork. Skills developed in choral training are skills for life. Furthermore, students who study music are better prepared for academic rigor.
Music has been called the international language and has the power to bring greater understanding across cultures. The GRCC recognizes the strength to be found in diversity and therefore actively recruits singers from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Choristers experience a broad range of choral literature including classics, premieres of new music, jazz, spirituals, gospel, musical theater, opera, folk and world music. Students learn about the cultures and languages in which the repertoire was written. The choirs have sung in over thirty languages including English, Latin, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Czech, Zulu, Hawaiian, Korean, Hebrew, Georgian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Algonquin, and Elvish. Choristers receive instruction in music theory, sight-singing and ear training. Attention is given to voice placement and healthy use of the body while singing the repertoire and warm-up exercises. Music is memorized for performances.