​Conspirare Youth Choirs

Nina Revering, Artistic Director

Three ensembles, Prelude, Kantorei and Allegro, utilize a rigorous combination of vocal, theory, and sight-singing instruction in a nurturing environment where young singers can explore the depth and beauty of choral music.

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Conspirare Youth Choirs (CYC) were formed in 2005 as an outreach program of the Grammy®-winning vocal ensemble Conspirare. CYC seek and train young musicians who share a love and commitment for creating music at a high level of excellence.

The Singers Experience

CYC utilizes a curriculum that focuses on the whole artist and artistic experience. The music we study and perform includes a broad depth of repertoire, spanning historical eras from Renaissance to modern day and different styles from Gospel & Jazz to oratorio & art song literature. Emphasis is made on the connection of words to music and how together they express human emotion and ideas.

Training the young singer to use healthy vocal production is at the heart of CYC instruction. Learning to produce a consistent core sound filled with resonance, projection, and beautiful tone will be emphasized. Young singers will also learn to develop strong breath management to support their singing voice. For all singers, but particularly the boys, the changing voice will be addressed.

Teaching musical literacy is particularly important to us. Students learn sight-singing skills, the International Phonetic Alphabet (I.P.A.), Kodaly solfege syllables, rhythm syllables, and Curwin handsigns. We want our singers to be able to pick up a piece of music, understand all the symbols on the page, and translate the notation into accurate vocal production. To help develop these skills, music theory is taught using the choral-centered “A Young Singer’s Journey” music theory series. Singers complete one level of theory per year in the choir.

Above all else, we hope our singers find an appreciation of the beauty in poetry and melody. By forming a community of other like-minded young artists, we strive to make the CYC a wonderful, joyful place for exploration and belief in the arts.

The Ensembles: Prelude, Kantorei, & Allegro

Exploring the beauty and artistry of choral music in a disciplined and nurturing environment is what we do at CYC!
Founded in 2005, Conspirare Youth Choirs (CYC) is the educational outreach program of Grammy®-winning Conspirare, a professional ensemble of adult singers led by Craig Hella Johnson. CYC offers a comprehensive treble choir program for boys and girls, ages 7-18, comprised of three ensembles.

Conspirare Youth Choirs is committed to:

  • Teaching the highest quality choral literature and vocal technique
  • Development of the young musician through sight-singing and music theory instruction
  • Presenting inspiring performances
  • Creating an environment where the children of Austin can grow together in their love of music and singing
  • Molding a group of singers that represent the diversity and beauty of our city

The CYC concert season follows the academic year from August to May, and our program is comprised of three choirs:

PRELUDE (ages 7-9)

This season we are introducing a new ensemble for 2nd and 3rd graders, offering instruction in vocal technique, music theory and sight-singing in the same beautiful tradition of our family of ensembles. Led by director Nina Revering. Requires recommendation by a music teacher.

Prelude Rehearsals

Mondays*, 5:30 pm-7pm, from August to May

Rehearsals are held at First Presbyterian Church of Austin

* Additional rehearsals may be called in preparation for special events.

KANTOREI (ages 9-13)

Kantorei is the entry-level ensemble of CYC, and singers have beginning to intermediate vocal skill and experience. Focusing on the development of the whole vocalist, this ensemble provides singers with a strong background in choral ensemble experience, small group vocal coaching, music theory, history, sight-singing, and use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (I.P.A.). Kantorei performs repertoire in unison and 2-part harmony, including a cappella and accompanied choral music in English and foreign languages.

Kantorei Rehearsals

Mondays*, 5pm-7pm, from August to May

Rehearsals are held at First Presbyterian Church of Austin

* Additional rehearsals may be called in preparation for special events.

ALLEGRO (ages 11-18)

Allegro is an ensemble of singers with intermediate to advanced choral skill and experience. This ensemble focuses on the development of the vocalist at a very high level of performance. Singers are expected to have strong fundamentals in vocal technique, sight-singing, music theory, and history, and familiarity with I.P.A. Allegro prepares and performs repertoire in unison, 2, 3, and 4-part harmony in English and a variety of foreign languages.

Allegro Rehearsals

Mondays and some Thursdays*, 6:30 pm-8: 30 pm, from August to May

Rehearsals are held at First Presbyterian Church of Austin

* Additional rehearsals may be called in preparation for special events.

CYC Events Calendar

For the most current CYC Events Calendar listing rehearsal dates and performances, please click here.

Recommended Course of Study
For new singers in the 2nd and 3rd grades, ages 7-9, we require a recommendation from a music teacher (required recommendation form).

For new singers, ages 9-13, we recommend membership in Kantorei for one to three years, after which we encourage their continued study with CYC by auditioning for Allegro.

For new singers, ages 13-18, with moderate to extensive choral/solo singing experience, initial membership in Allegro will be considered.

CYC singers begin their music theory study in “A Young Singer’s Journey,” Level 1 or 2. Each level takes one year to complete, and singers typically advance to the next theory level in the following year. There are currently six levels in this theory program.

FAQ

My child loves singing but has never had voice lessons or sung in a choir before. Can my child still audition?
Yes! No previous voice training or choral experience is required for membership in CYC.
Will my child be expected to do any practicing at home? We don’t have a piano and we, the parents, are not musical?
Yes, the singers in CYC have weekly music theory homework (which has a CD and laminated keyboard included) as well as singing homework. We use the protected singer pages at this website or a practice CD to provide mp3 files of the music, whichever is more convenient for your family. The singing homework generally does not begin until the middle of each semester, as a method of reinforcing the learning and memorization of music for concerts.

Singers can expect to spend approximately 15-20 minutes weekly on theory homework, and 50-90 minutes weekly on singing practice homework. A piano is not required for theory or singing homework.

My boy is 12 years old. Is he too old for Conspirare Youth Choirs?
This depends upon whether your son’s voice has changed or is now changing. Our treble choir has had boys as old as 14. Some boys begin as a soprano-alto and then continue the season training their falsetto if their voice does change within the 9 months. Our Artistic Director, Nina Revering, would be happy to discuss your son’s vocal progress before your request an audition.
What is the audition like?
The singing portion of the audition takes place with the parents and Ms. Revering in the room. Singers will be asked to echo-sing, vocalize, and sing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (verse one only). (Please refer to our audition page for a more detailed description.)
What type of music do you sing in CYC?
We teach a classical vocal technique, and our repertoire is primarily classical in nature, spanning the Renaissance era through contemporary choral compositions. We enjoy singing music in a variety of foreign languages and styles. Please see our Past Repertoire page to view our previous concert programs.
What are my responsibilities as a CYC parent?
As a CYC parent, your responsibilities include transportation to and from rehearsals and performances, notifying the Director when your singer will be absent, monitoring the completion of homework, and reading and responding as required to weekly CYC email updates.
Can young children attend CYC concerts for free?
Children ages 5/under may attend Conspirare Youth Choir concerts for free, although a ticket is still required. Free child tickets may be requested by phone from TLC Tickets at (512) 474-5664. Please be sensitive to the performers and other concert-goers when deciding to bring very small children to the concerts.
If you do not see the answer to your question among these FAQ, please feel free to send us an email.