Students

GABRIEL ZIAUKAS
“Let me start off by saying that the NCC has changed my life, not only as a musician, but as a person as well. I began singing as a Boy Soprano after I saw the choir perform Handel’s Messiah, in December of 2007. Almost 10 years later, and I haven’t regretted my decision to join the NCC even for one second. I now sing Bass in the Scholars (the most advanced chamber group) and have had the best experiences of my life with this organization. I owe all the opportunities I have had as a young musician to the choir and it’s amazing teachers. Mr. McEndarfer has been a guiding light through thick and thin, and has continued to inspire me throughout all my time with the Choir. I am fortunate enough to be in my second year as an Associate Composer at the LA Philharmonic, I study Composition with the Chair of Composition at UCLA, I won a YoungArts award in Composition this past year (a program that received 11,000 applications), I have performed with LA Opera, the Kronos Quartet, the Joffrey Ballet, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Bull, the LA Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale and countless other hugely prestigious musical organization all because of NCC. The NCC offers a musical education unlike any other Choir in the world, and is headed by some of the most inspiring, smart, and best teachers you can even begin to find. It is truly amazing.”
 


KAYLA JUDGE
"The National Children’s Chorus has become such a huge part of my life over the years. Every week I look forward to Wednesday because I get to go to NCC for weekly rehearsal. NCC has such a welcoming and encouraging environment; it feels like a second home! I’ve met so many amazing people through the NCC. Even though I usually see my NCC friends only once a week, we have formed such a strong bond that we have truly become like a family! I have met so many different kinds of people, like people who have preformed in a broadway show, people who live in different states, and even people who live in my neighborhood! Although we are all different, we all have one thing in common: Music! Being around people who have the same talent and interest as I do really pushes me to try my absolute hardest. I am so lucky to go through this experience with these amazing people I get to call my friends!

Musically, the National Children’s Chorus has taught me so much! I am a completely different musician from the time I started the NCC to now. I am not only taught how to use my voice to its fullest potential, but I am also taught how to write, read, and interpret music. This is SO important for musicians. I’m very lucky to have such kind people teaching us these challenging disciplines. At the NCC, everyone gets the same amount of attention, and you never feel like a teacher forgets you! They make what we are learning is easy to understand, and if you don’t get it right away, they will go over it in every way possible until you do. Not only has the NCC taught me music-wise, they teach me everyday skills. The instructors have taught me how to walk into an audition or interview, how to dress appropriately, how to speak clearly and how to conduct myself in a professional environment. These are all important lessons of the music world. I’m so thankful that I get to be a part of this AMAZING program and am so grateful for all they have done for me."
 


BLAINE MCINDOE
"Since I began my journey in the NCC, it has been a fun, learning, growing and vocal experience. As a younger child, I was always intrigued by musical theater. I know how to sing, but I never thought I could really make something great out of my small voice. I was afraid to take risks because to me, failure was not an option. I’ve spent years training with the NCC in New York, and can proudly say that I am now a risk taker. Not only with my voice, but in my social life. I’ve started high school this year and have my branch of people I rely on. If it wasn’t for the NCC family, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even say hello to someone new. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you NCC!"
 


JADE COOK
"In 2008, I was told about the National Children’s Chorus, then the Paulist Choristers, by a professional opera singer friend of my mother’s who had worked with the Chorus before. I had an audition and was admitted into the chorus, an event which would significantly impact the course of my life. I had always been interested in music, as I have taken piano lessons since age five, yet never before had I been in an environment where music was so highly appreciated and where musical talents were so well cultivated. Not only does the chorus allow me to explore and develop my musical gifts, but it has opened me to some incredible opportunities, including performing on the Pre-Oscars 2014 on E! Network, performing in Mahler’s 8th Symphony under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel and singing the National Anthem before the Princess of Monaco at the Annual Benefit for the Colleagues in Beverly Hills. I have also been fortunate enough to study with some of the best music teachers in their fields, including Dr. Ian Krouse, chair of Composition at UCLA, and Professor Michael Dean, chair of the music department at UCLA. It is because of the chorus that I decided to apply to UCLA as a music major with an emphasis on Composition, something I never thought I would do. I am eternally grateful to Luke, Dr. Blackstone, Cristina and all of the wonderful people responsible for establishing and running this phenomenal organization. I hope to always be a part of the NCC and its mission to provide quality musical education to young people."
 


CHRISTOPHER JAMES
"First of all, I can’t imagine my life so far without NCC.

I have been a proud member of the NCC since the age of seven. Along the way, I soon discovered that I had a passion for music, and wanted to make it my career. At NCC, I not only learned how to sing correctly, but because I was exposed to the classics as well as the best of contemporary choral music, I developed my musical taste, and an understanding of music history. I was taught the fundamentals of composition, theory and sight singing – not to mention gaining valuable performing experience in professional venues throughout L.A. 

In fact, my foundation and solid training at the NCC made it possible for me to grow as an artist in so many ways. We have had amazing opportunities, such as going on tour to New York, singing on movie soundtracks, and working with Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon, and the L.A. Opera. NCC gave me the vocal technique that prepared me for my audition for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), where I am now in my third year.

Mentors like Luke McEndarfer and Dr. Blackstone have taught me so many life skills such as confidence, professionalism, and responsibility. I learned never to give up and most importantly, that by hard work and perseverance, I can not only create my dreams, but encourage everyone else’s.

Best of all, I have been surrounded by amazingly talented colleagues. We have been lucky to make music and memories together for years. I know that we will stay life-long friends, and inspire each other to be great artists and great people. I know I will have their support, and I will always be there for them, as well as for future generations of NCC students."
 


LUCY ALTUS
"The National Children’s Chorus has been valuable to me for so many reasons. The most obvious reason is that it has taught me a tremendous amount, not just about singing, but about music theory, performing, and how to read music. Before joining the NCC, I was singing improperly and was straining my voice which was potentially very damaging. I also didn’t know the first thing about how to sing opera. Luckily I joined the NCC and within a year I sounded like a completely different singer. I have made tremendous progress that sometimes I cannot even believe the way I sound.

In the NCC I also learned how to audition and how to best showcase my talents. I have learned what type of music best fits my voice and how to remain poised and in control when singing in front of an audience. These music lessons have transferred to an overall feeling of confidence and security in many areas of my life.

Most importantly, when I first started in the NCC I was frightened and didn’t think I could fit in with so many talented people. However, everyone was extremely welcoming and I felt comfortable right away. If anything, I learned from the older students and admired their talents. I always looked up to the older students and imagined myself possibly becoming like them in the future. One of the biggest reasons why I value the NCC is that I always feel like I am part of a loving and accepting community. I always love knowing that I can come to the NCC and be among others who share similar values and who I can learn and improve with. I have made some of my best friends from the NCC and always look forward to seeing them on Wednesdays. When I started high school I felt like everything was changing and I was entering a new chapter in my life. I felt lost and confused and I didn’t like how everything was different. However, the NCC was the one thing I could count on to stay the same. It was and is my constant. Every Wednesday I didn’t feel scared as I saw familiar faces. I felt automatically at home."

 


Hannah Beatrice Cohen, Sonata Level New York, age 9
My experience at the National Children's Chorus has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Everything we do here is so useful, and I have really progressed in my musical skills. Everyday I look forward to our weekly rehearsals. Everyone at the NCC always has a smile, and I feel like they are my second family. I used to not like singing in front of an audience, but the National Children's Chorus has definitely boosted my confidence. I have made lots of friends, and I really think that joining the National Children's Chorus was a great decision.
 


Cody Holmes Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 9
The NCC is a great place for children who like to sing. Children can explore the world of singing and create cherished memories. We have the opportunity to travel all over the world and have great experiences with incredible conductors like Dr. Blackstone and Luke McEndarfer. We meet many new people and make wonderful friends. Please come experience the NCC!!!
 


Pearl Steets, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 9
I wish I could buy Dr. Blackstone on Amazon. She’s the best teacher ever.
 


Pauline Sokolskiy, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 9
I love the NCC because everybody is so welcoming. At the NCC, anyone who joins can become a beautiful singer. Everybody in the world should join the NCC because it is a wonderful place. 
 


Logan Guardino, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 11
I think that the NCC is the most professional chorus in the USA, if not the world! The teachers give you information and wisdom that you will never forget. I’m very fortunate to be in this chorus.
 


Angela Zhang, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 12
True music comes from one voice of many. One voice of the NCC is our America.
 


Sophie Beveridge, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 10
I have had an amazing experience in the NCC for the past two years. The instructors are wonderful and really fun to work with. I have learned so much like proper singing technique, solfeggio and music theory. The NCC gives me confidence and other skills outside of music. Earlier this year, I tried out for the solo in my school’s program and got the part! I might not have had the same courage before my NCC training. Furthermore, the choir gives me confidence not only as a musician but as a person in general. I have been to many rehearsals where I not only learn about signing but how to exit and enter the stage and sit and stand properly. In addition I’ve had the opportunity to meet kids from all over Los Angeles and even New York. This year I had the honor of performing at Royce Hall, Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s really been a great experience, and I really love the NCC! 
 


Jaxon Glowacki, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 10
The NCC is a very inspiring place. I love coming here every Sunday and singing like there is no tomorrow! 
 


Kareem Mcleod, Sonata Level New York, age 9
I think the National Children's Chorus is great. I love the songs, and I made a lot of new friends. It brings out my voice. When I started NCC I was shy, but now I’m confident. This choir has inspired me to be a musician when I grow up.
 


Harli Edmonds, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 12
The NCC is the most amazing experience I have ever experienced!
 


Audrey Corcoran, Minuet Level Los Angeles, age 7 
I like that the NCC has all the best teachers. 
 


Benjamin Illis, Sonata Level New York, age 9
In the National Children's Chorus, there is a ton of fun to be had. During rehearsal, a bunch of friends are all standing together, singing their hearts out!
 


Stella Fox, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 12
The NCC has completely changed my relationship to music. I have grown so much as a musician and I’ve only been here a year! The students and the teachers are just like family. 
 


Sabrina Morgan, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9 
I love being in Sonata level because it feels like one big happy family. It is really fun because the songs that were doing are really nice, relaxing and fun. I thank Mr. Yraola and Dr. Hatsuyama for being such great teachers. Thank you NCC for choosing me to be in the chorus. 
 


Miette Moon-Sasik, Minuet Level Los Angeles, age 7
I like to sing and play games! It is so fun! I love this chorus, and it makes me feel good. I think all the teachers are fantastic. You guys are the best!
 


Marzhan Smiley, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 11
I love to sing, and I love the way the curriculum works at the NCC. I think anyone who wants to learn and get singing experience should definitely come here!
 


Adele Stanley, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 12
It’s my first year in the NCC, and I love it. Everyone is so supportive, and Dr. Blackstone is the BEST!
 


Jaslyne Tam, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 10
I like the NCC because they make learning to sing fun. Also, I like how the teachers help the choruses improve all the way to the performance. I also like how the teachers are so nice!
 


Monika Ekstrand, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 8
Dr. Blackstone is the most awesome teacher in the whole entire universe. She is awesome!!
 


Olive Zwicky, Sonata Level New York, age 9
Being in the National Children's Chorus is a great learning experience. It is very satisfying to know that you can learn to sing an advanced songs in German. From Ms. Meadows’ Kodaly lessons to Ms. Trotta’s wonderful conducting of beautiful melodies. If your child loves singing, he or she will definitely love being in this chorus.
 


Emily Hohmann, Minuet Level Los Angeles, age 7 
My favorite thing about chorus is Ms. Fenderson because she is so smart and nice!
 


Sydney Kim, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9 
I like NCC because Mr. Yroala is so funny and awesome, and our pianist is so amazing and filled with talent for the piano. Mr. Yraola is so motivating because he is funny and that makes you want to learn more. 
 


Gabija Zukaukas, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9
I like how everyone at the NCC works as one big team. Working as a team brings out a beautiful sound -- the sound of how hard all of us have worked. I also like all the songs we sing and our piano player Dr. Hatsuyama. She plays awesomely! We all have fun at NCC!! 
 


Ben Goodman, Debut Ensemble New York, age 9
I love this chorus!!! It’s so awesome!
 


Ilan Gronowetter, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 10
I joined the NCC hoping to become a better singer, and I got my wish. I have learned about breathing, dynamics and things I wouldn’t have known before I joined. It has been very exciting to perform in front of crowds and in school. NCC has helped me with music class a lot. I am very excited for next season in Debut Ensemble!
 


Madison Lagares, Sonata Level New York, age 8
National Children’s Chorus helped me get through all of the difficulties I had when I first got in. I’ve made good friends who are always there for me. National Children's Chorus has been and will always be a special thing in my life. I love the NCC!
 


Alisa Zusin, Sonata Level New York, age 9
The NCC really helped me to shake off my fear and shyness. When I got to the NCC, I knew that the NCC was a good place to be.

 


Henry Wu, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 9
I love the Concerto Level. It is awesome because of Dr. Blackstone.
 


Olivia Amiri, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9
I enjoy NCC because I get to learn so much about singing. The NCC has given me such a wonderful experience. Also, it is fun to sing with other kids and have a team to rely on. 
 


Leo Wou, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 12
The NCC has really changed my life. Prior to joining the NCC, I was not very good at singing. Dr. Blackstone has taught me vocal technique, and now I sound great and feel happy!
 


Zipphora Serana-Parks, Sonata Level New York, age 9
I like NCC because it is a very pleasant place to be. There are so many friendly people and the teachers are nice! The best part about NCC is that you get to improve your voice and go to all these concerts! I love NCC!
 


Anjali Agneshwar, Sonata Level New York, age 7
The National Children's Chorus is great! When you first come you may not have many friends, and you may not be a great singer. I was really shy at first. In time, I did so much better and got lots of new friends! I learned how to sing, read music using the Kodaly Method and how to perform without being nervous! 
 


Sophie Russ, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9
One thing that I really like about being a student at NCC is the repertoire that Mr. Yroala gives us. I love the songs that Mr. Y picks because they are unique, fun and in different languages. 
 


Strahlia Durr Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 9
Chorus is life; it gives you passion for singing. The National Children’s Chorus makes every singer better than they ever were before. 
 


Ava Pajand, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 10
The NCC has been an amazing experience for me. I have made so many friends, and the teachers are phenomenal. They’ve helped me build me a great musical foundation and taught me so many skills. On top of that, I’ve gotten to perform at Royce Hall. All in all, the NCC is a wonderful organization. 
 


Muccia, Debut Ensemble Los Angeles, age 10
I love the NCC because everyone is so kind, and our repertoire is very diverse. I also love that we travel to places like New York and China. I love the NCC, and Dr. Blackstone is amazing! 
 


Zane St. John, Concerto Level Los Angeles, age 12
The NCC has helped me go from raw material to a great chorus singer! Thank you Dr. Blackstone!



Shanti Phillips, Minuet Level Los Angeles, age 7 
I love the NCC because at shows, I get to make everyone happy. 
 


Finley Day, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 8
I love the Sonata Level because our teacher, Mr. Yraola is very funny. I want to stay in the Sonata Level for a while. 
 


Isabelle Fleischmann, Sonata Level Los Angeles, age 9
I really like the way Mr. Yraola has fun with us while practicing. I also like how he encourages us to do our best. I love the NCC!
 


Tali Elyse Feuer, Sonata Level New York, age 9
The experience at NCC is great! I love singing with friends and other singers. Also, it feels good to have some fun time in Kodaly! I love the fact that when I sing with other people, it’s easy to make friends.
 


Isabelle Adams, Sonata Level New York, age 9
I really love being a member of NCC. I get to do what I love. It’s like I have a whole new voice!!