The Official Children's Chorus of WV
To provide artistic excellence, a quality music education, and extraordinary opportunities while creating a positive effect on the lives of West Virginia's youth.
To foster the personal and social growth of choir members and promote their sense of self -worth, self-esteem, accomplishment, and pride in a loving, nurturing environment.
To offer a superior music education program for children and youth.
To attain a high level of excellence in public performances.
To maintain choir membership open to children of all racial, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.
To expose children to the values and beliefs of other cultures and societies.
To contribute to the cultural life of Charleston, the state of West Virginia, and the nation.
To support choral singing in area schools and churches.
ACC is a special learning environment designed to provide a rich and rewarding musical experience for each child. The children study and perform a variety of music from simple unison folk songs to the more challenging classical and multi-cultural repertoire.
Masterpieces of music from all styles and periods form the foundation for musical learning and the basis for the curriculum. We believe that "children should be led to musical masterpieces by means of musical masterpieces" (Zoltan Kodaly). Since the best musical experiences for children are inherent in great music, ACC's repertoire includes the music of Bach, Handel, Schubert, Britten, Copland, and Mozart among others. Folk, popular, secular, and sacred music are also included.
In ACC, the music experience is all about the song. Singing is a powerful, personal means of musical expression. We hope this experience will form the foundation of a life long relationship with music for the choristers and their families.
Children are taught the systematic use of their vocal instruments through exercises, posture, breath, and tone production. The essence of musical experience is based on pitch and movement as it is "felt" and heard. Because the body is the instrument in singing, musical relationships are internally experienced and are likely to be "felt" and heard by the young child. We feel musical recreation through vocal performance is a way of experiencing and expressing music, unlike any other activity. The ability to hear music, to conceptualize music, to perceive and respond musically develops naturally from the human voice.
Singing skill and musical understanding are essential components of the creative process and a fundamental resource basic to music education. ACC believes that through singing, children can experience the "inner life" of music in a way that transcends the surface of notation and words. Singing is a way of "touching" music and of being "touched" by the music.
Nestled in the oldest range of mountains in the world lies a city called Charleston, the birthplace of the Appalachian Children's Chorus (ACC). ACC began in 1990 with the fundamental desire to be a community-based children's chorus that would provide opportunities for children to experience music in ways that are unusual and rare in their offerings. The choir began under the baton of its founding director, Selina Midkiff, as the University of Charleston Children's Chorus. Its initial membership of 12 children started a tradition of solid music education, disciplined environment and community involvement that has today merited the organization with many awards and numerous opportunities to perform in a whole plethora of musical events.
Whether performing for heads of state or local audiences, the choir's notoriety is not only for musical excellence but for its ability to touch the hearts of their audiences. In 1995, the term "The Treasure of West Virginia" was added to the choir's calling cards. The chorus changed its name to the Appalachian Children's Chorus in 1996 to better represent the regional nature of the choir. Its membership, at that time, drew from as far away as Ohio and 14 counties in West Virginia. During this transformation, the choir added to its staff the talents of the founder of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, Rebecca Thompson, as assistant director. Other notable directors have included Joann Cordell, Danielle Milam, Emily Capece, Noel Hardman, and Brian Vannoy.
In 2003, ACC was named the official Children's Chorus of West Virginia by then-Governor Bob Wise and Secretary of State Joe Manchin. In 2006, the chorus was named The Ambassadors of Music for West Virginia by Governor Joe Manchin in recognition of the chorus for representing the state, its friendly inhabitants and the state's wonderful lifestyle to the nation and the world.
The children have performed in the following locations and countries:
ACC has performed in nine international cathedrals and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. ACC frequently performs with famous artists, including Larry Groce of Mountain Stage, Ethel Caffie-Austin, Bob Thompson, John Rutter and Kathy Mattea. The choir has performed for governors and presidents and other heads of state as well as three performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. In June 2010, the choir embarked on its first ever solo tour to Ireland. ACC also hosts a national children's choir festival, the Appalachian Festival of Young Voices. The event is held every other year. The festival is a celebration of folk music in mountain tradition. We celebrate the young and the music within them. The chorus's history is rich with tradition, replete with spirit and ably representative of all that is good about the State of West Virginia.