Raising Voices

Madison Youth Choirs leads kids in the joy of singing

At first, Michael Ross’s vision sounds simple. “We want kids singing,” he says.

As artistic director of Madison Youth Choirs, he leads hundreds of seven- to eighteen-year-olds through the study and joy of music. And he’s in a unique position of knowing how complex his goal is—and how enriched Madison children would be if they all had that opportunity to sing.

Ross started this job six years ago, when the Madison Boychoir and Madison Children’s Choir merged. While it was challenging to bring together groups with long histories—thirty and fifteen years, respectively—Ross helped create an organization that focuses not solely on technique, but also on history, context and personal connections to music.

The official children’s choir of Madison Opera, the MYC performs with myriad arts groups, such as in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular this month. And the organization now shares rehearsal space with Madison Ballet, an arrangement Ross hopes will lead to future collaboration.

Additionally, Ross is helping coordinate a boychoir festival in February that will draw singers from around Dane County. He wants the event to showcase the many ways kids can get involved in singing—and become an annual celebration. “We want it to become part of the culture of singing,” he says.

Madison Youth Choirs performs in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s annual Christmas Spectacular December 4–6 at Overture Center. madisonsymphony.org

For more information on Madison Youth Choirs, visit madisonyouthchoirs.org.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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