Nonprofit spotlight: Phoenix Children’s Chorus uplifts youth through music – The Arizona Republic

Some consider music education as extracurricular. But leaders of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus have witnessed how music can impact children and their families in big ways. 

Phoenix Children’s Chorus aims to help youth develop into well-rounded community members through choral education and performances. Students grades K-12 learn vocal techniques, music literacy and performance skills. Members of tour choirs have performed around the country and in Ireland, Germany and China, among other places.

The music programs provide students a safe space where they are free to be themselves, said director Troy Meeker. He has experienced children having moments of transformation through singing and performing.

“We are more than just a choir where children sing,” Meeker said. “Through our program, both choristers and their families learn to be a part of a diverse community of people with a shared interest.

“They learn about new peoples and cultures through music and travel. They learn to be a part of a team and put the good of the whole before themselves.” 

Meeker hopes that the organization can expand its programs throughout the Valley. The priority is to ensure that families can have access to quality music education.

In 2020, Phoenix Children’s Chorus, received a $5,000 A Community Thrives grant from the Gannett Foundation. Gannett Co., Inc., owns The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. Statewide, 15 nonprofits shared more than $203,000 of Community Thrives grants last year.

What is your organization’s mission? To cultivate youth by teaching artistic, cultural and personal development through choral education and performance.

When was your organization founded? 1984.

How many individuals do you help? Nearly 400 choristers are involved in our core programming. In addition, our performances, community engagements and other activities help us to reach over 5,000 children, music teachers and community members annually.

How did you spend your Community Thrives grant? The Community Thrives grant allowed us to continue to operate our neighborhood choir program, East Valley Voices, through the pandemic. This program served over 50 families during this difficult year allowing children to experience the life-changing power of music.

How do you gauge your success? Our primary measurements of success are the participation numbers in our core program, chorister and family feedback, year-to-year retention, assessing learning outcomes and demonstration of performance skills at concerts.

What are your organization’s greatest needs? We would love the opportunity to serve more children. We want to continue to connect with diverse communities throughout Phoenix through performance and partnerships. We need community members who are passionate about music and community connection who believe in our mission and can help us to develop more collaborative opportunities.

The program has served children from diverse economic backgrounds. Children learn to build self-esteem, practice teamwork and develop a deep understanding of cultural differences through music.

Every child and family ends up becoming a story related to their mission, Meeker said. He shared a former student’s testimonial:

“Throughout my adolescence, Phoenix Children’s Chorus played a huge part in my musical and emotional development. PCC taught me to respectfully approach singing music from other cultures as well as how to be a mindful international traveler. These experiences helped me grow into a more empathetic musician and person. From a young age, PCC opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone looks, thinks and acts like me, and I am a better person today because of it.” 

More information about Phoenix Children’s Chorus online at phoenixchildrenschorus.org and facebook.com/pcchorus; Instagram @phoenixchildrenschorus; Twitter @phxcchorus. Phone: (602) 534-3788.

Reporter Roxanne De La Rosa covers Arizona’s nonprofit community. Reach her at rdelarosa@azcentral.com