National Children’s Chorus

Mission Statement

The National Children's Chorus transforms the lives of young people, empowering them to effectively lead society toward the ideals of artistic excellence, cultural openness, and social justice.

Vision Statement

A world where choral music powerfully nourishes awareness of our most important human values.

Our Story

The National Children's Chorus, under the leadership of Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s leading children’s choirs, with a set of 20 ensembles and more than 700 students, based in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Performing locally and abroad, the National Children's Chorus is one of few youth arts organizations in America to have its concert series presented by professional music halls. Its groundbreaking Season 2018/19, entitled Starlight, expands on the chorus’ recent success, featuring an array of stunning repertoire, demonstrating the organization’s firm commitment to new music, world culture and extraordinary professional collaborations. Venues since 2015 include Royce Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles; The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; as well as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, sharing the stage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale, American Youth Symphony and New York City Master Chorale, among others. At its conclusion, Starlight culminates in the NCC’s 5th major international tour to Korea and Japan.

Tracing its lineage back to the 1904 inception of the Paulist Choristers in Chicago, the National Children's Chorus, co-founded by Luke McEndarfer and Cristina Demiany in 2008, has garnered a superb reputation for musical excellence, and amassed an impressive résumé of experience. Collaborating with some of the finest music companies in the nation, the group has performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera Company, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet, the Kronos String Quartet, Center Theatre Group and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, under the direction of such distinguished conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Grant Gershon, James Conlon, Paul Salamunovich, Helmuth Rilling, John Rutter, Stephen Layton, David Alan Miller, John Mauceri, Eric Whitacre and Esa-Pekka Salonen, with whom the ensemble recorded Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the Sony Classical Label. Notable premieres have included music by composers Stephen Cohn, Ibrahim Maalouf, Eric Whitacre, Tan Dun, Sharon Farber, Morten Lauridsen, Rufus Wainwright, Sage Lewis, and soon, Meredith Monk and Nico Muhly. In addition, the National Children's Chorus has been featured on numerous movie and television soundtracks, including on screen for Paramount Pictures and its 2009 film Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy. Through the years, the group performed numerous times as the musical act on Jay Leno's former Tonight Show, and its members are regularly contracted as solo artists for professional engagements both in the studio and on stage, including principal roles on Broadway and in opera. Recent television appearances have included special features on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox networks.

Students of the National Children’s Chorus are represented by more than three hundred schools throughout its cities and meet weekly for rehearsal and musicianship study. The extensive curriculum includes college-level conducting, composition, music theory, sight-singing in the Kodály Method, and individual voice training in the bel canto style. Through a holistic approach to educating the full musician within each child, recent graduates from the program have gone on to be accepted at top schools around the country, such as USC’s Thornton School of Music, UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, UC Berkeley, the Curtis Institute of Music, Northwestern University, Indiana University, Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School, in addition to the Royal Conservatory of Music in London. Each summer, Senior Division ensembles of the National Children’s Chorus travel internationally, expanding the students’ cultural awareness and worldly experience. Since 2015, the children have performed at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and St. John's Smith Square in London, England; the Great Wall of China in Beijing and the Ancient City Wall in Xi'an, China; St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, and St. Cecilia’s Music Conservatory in Rome, Italy; the Berlin Wall in Germany and Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, as well as sites in Prague, Czech Republic and Budapest, Hungary.