Staples of choral music in Greensboro will work together under a new name
GREENSBORO, NC – Two well-known, long-standing local choral groups are merging to better serve Triad singers and audiences of all ages.
The Bel Canto Company and the Greensboro Youth Chorus will operate under a new organization, The Choral Arts Collective, based in Greensboro. The new group seeks to celebrate excellence, diversity, and lifelong participation in choral music.
Leaders of the two organizations began considering the possibility of a merger in 2018. During the pause in live performing due to COVID-19, both organizations decided to use what might have otherwise been seen as downtime to explore a merger. A steering committee was created with members of both the BCC and GYC boards, which has been meeting for over a year to discuss the new merged organization.
Bel Canto Company and the Greensboro Youth Chorus will keep their current names and be the flagship ensembles of The Choral Arts Collective, which also hopes to create new opportunities for both professional and experienced amateur singers as it grows.
Jeffrey Carlson, executive director of Bel Canto Company, will become executive director of The Choral Arts Collective. Dr. Welborn Young, director of choral activities at UNCG, will continue as the artistic director and conductor of Bel Canto Company.
Lemar Martin will join The Choral Arts Collective as the interim conductor of the Greensboro Youth Chorus, replacing Becca Suco, who has relocated with her family to Florida for a new job opportunity. Mr. Martin is choral director at Wheatmore High School in Trinity and regularly performs throughout North Carolina with various ensembles, including as guest conductor with Bel Canto Company this May.
As part of The Choral Arts Collective, Bel Canto Company and the Greensboro Youth Chorus will continue to create engaging, inclusive, and entertaining choral experiences. Bel Canto Company’s subscription and touring concerts and the Greensboro Youth Chorus’ performance-based music education for students grades 2-12 are slated to return in-person later this year. Audition and concert schedules for the 2021-2022 season will be announced at a later date.
About the organizations:
Founded in 1988, The Greensboro Youth Chorus has offered children opportunities that enrich their lives through music education and foster inner qualities, such as personal and group responsibility, independence, discipline, commitment, and self-esteem. An outstanding music faculty empowers young musicians through a challenging, creative, and diverse curriculum of the finest sacred and secular repertoire written for young voices. Students learn music reading skills, sight-singing skills, vocal training, choral techniques, as well as experience a variety of choral repertoire from various time periods and styles.
Bel Canto Company is an ensemble of outstanding musicians dedicated to presenting exceptional, innovative, and engaging choral performances for all. Through music they strive to celebrate the entirety of human experience. Their members share a core belief in the joy of singing and the power of live choral music to entertain, inspire, build community, and express that which cannot be expressed by words or music alone. Since their founding in 1983, the choir’s hallmark has been the uniquely beautiful interpretation and sensitive tonal quality of their performances. Over 38 years as the Triad’s premier choral ensemble, Bel Canto Company has released 14 albums, presented hundreds of concerts locally and throughout the Southeast, and performed thousands of pieces of music spanning the globe and the centuries.