VOICES Boston (VB) was founded in 1990 by Johanna Simpson Hill as Performing Artists at Lincoln School in Brookline, an after-school program providing training in choral singing, dance, and drama. In the following years, the ensemble built relationships with leading arts organizations and expanded participation to children throughout the greater Boston area, reflected in its renaming as VOICES Boston in 2014. Today, VB provides singing, dance, and theater education to children aged 5-14 across four ensembles: First Note (K-1st grade, ages 5-7), Melody (2nd-3rd, ages 7-8), Harmony (3rd-5th, ages 8-10) and VOICES Boston Children’s Choir (VBCC; 5th-8th, ages 10-14). All VB children perform in multiple VB concerts and an annual spring musical/operetta. In addition, VB provides unique learning opportunities by collaborating with various community and performing arts organizations. Collaborations in the past five years have included the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera (BLO), Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and White Snake Projects. VB established an official collaboration in 2016 with the BLO, including audition workshops for middle school and college-bound high school students and a weeklong “Create Your Own Opera” summer camp.
In 2020, amidst the pandemic, Dan Ryan assumed the role of Artistic Director and quickly introduced a dynamic virtual training program spanning all ensembles, incorporating high-quality virtual performance opportunities [including the nationally-recognized #ZOOMBOPPING, multiple original virtual musicals, and the world premiere of “Alice in the Pandemic” with White Snake Projects (preserved in the Library of Congress)], in addition to music technology classes.
After successfully navigating the virtual and hybrid landscape, VB returned fully in-person for the 2021-2022 season with Laura Nevitt as Associate Conductor. In the 2022-23 season the younger ensembles premiered an original musical created by Laura Nevitt and VB Program Director Emily Vincent called “The Gray Bird.” VBCC’s spring performance under Ryan’s leadership was But the Giraffe/Brundibár, combining a children’s opera originally performed in the Terezin concentration camp with an opening play by Tony Kushner.
With singing at its core and training in dance and drama, VOICES Boston changes the lives of its children, building confidence, discipline, leadership, and a love of music that lasts a lifetime.