VOICES Boston was founded as Performing Artists at Lincoln School (PALS Children’s Chorus) in 1990 by Johanna Hill Simpson at W.H. Lincoln School, a public school in Brookline, Massachusetts. It was designed as an after-school program for Lincoln students, providing training in choral singing, dance, and drama after budget cuts eliminated the majority of arts programming from the school. From 1990-2003, Hill Simpson guided the ensemble, building relationships with leading arts organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, and Boston Early Music Festival. After Hill Simpson’s retirement, PALS extended participation to children all over Boston, continuously grew its membership in diversity and size, toured nationally and internationally, and expanded its training choirs. To reflect its broader reach and subsequent national and international collaborations, PALS was renamed VOICES Boston in 2014.
VOICES Boston continues many PALS traditions including multiple outside collaborations, the year-end operetta/musicals, and regional tours. In 2018, VOICES Boston was invited to participate in the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana, working with acclaimed conductor and composer Andrea Ramsey, and sang with choirs from around the country.
In 2020, during unprecedented times, Daniel Ryan became the Artistic Director of VOICES Boston. Acclaimed for his musical creativity, sensitive conducting, and adventurous spirit, Maestro Daniel Ryan is a prized conductor, composer, and music educator. He was able to pivot to a virtual training module and was able to secure virtual performance opportunities with White Snake Opera’s world premiere of Alice in the Pandemic, which is being archived by the Library of Congress.
Following many years of performing in Boston Lyric Opera’s professional productions, Boston Lyric Opera and VOICES Boston established an official partnership in 2016. Our collaborative education program includes audition workshops for college-bound high school students, audition workshops for middle school students, a weeklong “Create Your Own Opera” summer camp, and yearly classroom visits. When not performing in the BLO operas, VOICES Boston singers are also the youngest invitees to attend the BLO final dress rehearsals.
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.