Can you believe how much we’ve grown in the past 22 years?! Here at Milwaukee Children’s Choir, we have come a long way since we were founded in 1994. That year, we started with 35 choral students whose only goal was to sing. Now, we have over 200 students who have traveled all over the world to share their vocal talents.
When we first opened our doors to Milwaukee’s youth, MCC hadn’t gone on any international tours, only local and regional tours; however, 22 years later, children in our choir have traveled to Japan, Austria, and everywhere in between!
Our first international tour was to Chiba, Japan in the year 1994, to participate in the Chiba People’s Day Festival, as part of the Wisconsin Cultural Delegation to Chiba. A few years later in 2001, Milwaukee Children’s Choir had the honor of singing in the Fifth Annual International Children’s Choir Festival in Canterbury and London. From there, MCC ventured to Italy in 2004, where our students got to perform at Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Not many people can say they’ve been asked by St. Peter’s Basilica to perform!
Following those three international tours, we kept our next tour close to home in 2005, by traveling to the Midwest Children’s Choir Festival in Ames, Iowa. The national tour theme continued that year when children from Milwaukee Youth Chorale and Concert Choir went to New York City for a performance at Carnegie Hall. This was a once in a lifetime experience, and more experiences like that are possible at MCC.
A few years later in 2007, our students were invited to Toronto to perform in the Toronto International Choral Festival. They had a wonderful time getting to explore the lands of our next door neighbor, Canada, while sharing their vocal talents at the festival. Another international tour kicked off that year at the Rhapsody International Children’s Music Festival. Members of our Cantorei and Chamber Cantorei choirs flew to Central Europe and visited Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. What a year it was for our international tours!
Unfortunately, after 2007, we had to take a break from going on tour with our choral students, due to the economic downturn. We also experienced a shift of staff members during this break, and welcomed our current Artistic Director, Marco Melendez in 2012. Once Marco came on board, he wanted to get our students back out there to share their voices with the world. The following year, Marco put together the East Coast Tour, and traveled with our students to Washington, D.C., Manhattan, and Princeton. As you read in our blog last week, our most recent tour was to the Southwest, where our choir toured from the Gateway Arch, to the Grand Canyon, to the Golden Gate Bridge.
You may not know this, but Milwaukee Children’s Choir didn’t become a nonprofit until 2000. By becoming a nonprofit organization, we were able to receive grants to continue our choral education for local Milwaukee children. Since our humble beginnings in 1994, our goal at MCC has always been to make choral education achievable for all children. Becoming a nonprofit has opened the doors for children in the Milwaukee are to get access to a musical education, expand their horizons, and grow as individuals.
We are extremely grateful for our choral students who make this choir so special. It is the children in the Milwaukee area who understand the importance of choral education who continue the success of MCC. Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in the choir over the years… we couldn’t have done it without you!