Ann Usher, Director - read bio
Suzanne Walters, Assistant Director - read bio
The Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus was formed in 1967 to provide a high-quality choral group for the many orchestral works written for children’s voices, and to offer choral training to schoolchildren in the Cleveland area. Today, the Children’s Chorus performs annually with The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Severance Hall. Over the decades, the extensive performance history has included such major works as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Britten’s War Requiem, Berlioz’s Te Deum, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. The children also sing at the Holiday CircleFest each December and perform at the Orchestra’s annual Christmas Concerts. The Children’s Chorus presents an independent concert each spring featuring a diverse repertoire of children’s chorus literature and has also sung the national anthem for Cleveland Indians, Cleveland City Stars, and Cleveland Browns home games.
The Preparatory Chorus
The Cleveland Orchestra Children's Preparatory Chorus focuses on establishing a foundation of vocal technique, musical literacy, and musicianship through quality children's choir literature, and presents two concerts each season. Members of the Preparatory Chorus have the opportunity to collaborate with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus and Children's Chorus and are proived with initial choral experiences to which younger singers may not normally be exposed. By developing musical skills and performing in public, the children acquire poise, increase self-esteem, and establish a solid foundation in vocal production techniques.
The Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus is open to students entering 6th-8th grade while the Children’s Preparatory Chorus is open to 5th-8th graders. All boys must have unchanged treble voices, however 8th grade boys whose voices have completely changed are eligible to audition for the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus at the director’s invitation. Members in both groups will strengthen their vocal production and choral performance skills and learn sight-reading using movable “do” solfège and Kodály/Curwen hand signs. Students will also develop leadership skills that will help them strengthen the other choirs in which they participate. Both choruses rehearse on Monday evenings in the greater Cleveland area. The Children’s Preparatory Chorus rehearses on Mondays from 6-7:30 p.m. and the Children’s Chorus generally rehearses on Mondays from 7-9 p.m. There is a nominal cost for participation, plus the cost of concert attire. Need-based financial assistance is available by application.
Auditions for the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Choruses are held each spring. For audition dates and requirements, please call the Chorus office at 216-231-7374, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here for the most current audition information.
Suzanne Walters, Assistant Director
Suzanne Walters serves as assistant director of the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Choruses and director of the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Preparatory Chorus. She is a public school teacher and is currently a faculty member of the Jackson Local School District, where she is responsible for general music education for students in kindergarten through grade five, and also directs an elementary choir of 95 students. In addition, Ms. Walters was a special lecturer for music education at the University of Akron School of Music. She currently serves as the Elementary Choir Festival Chair for the Ohio Choral Directors Association (OCDA) and the General Music Chair for Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA). Ms. Walters holds a bachelors of music education degree from the College of Wooster, a master of music degree in music education from the University of Akron, and a master teacher certification from the state of Ohio.