The Children’s Chorus of Washington provides the best choral music experience for young people in the nation’s capital through its exceptional educational programs, performance opportunities, and community partnerships.
Artistic Vision Statement
High quality choral music should be accessible to everyone.
All children can and should experience the power and joy of singing.
Music education and performance experiences are essential to the development of a high personal standard of excellence.
The chorus experience develops strong character and builds community leaders through self-discipline, confidence, commitment, teamwork, and respect for others.
A choral organization is a community of individuals that feel they are valued and work together towards a purpose. Through this kind of community, we feel connected with others, physically and emotionally.
Founded in 1995 as a single chorus of 70 children, Children’s Chorus of Washington (CCW) was led for its first 20 years by founder Joan Gregoryk, who established the organization’s reputation for artistic excellence. Over the years, CCW has provided exemplary choral music training to more than 2,500 young people. Now in its 23nd season, CCW has embarked on a new era under the artistic leadership of Margaret Nomura Clark, who continues the mission of providing outstanding choral music education to vocalists ages 5-18 in metropolitan Washington, DC.
By emphasizing artistic excellence, personal responsibility, and teamwork, CCW fosters students’ growth as young musicians and leaders. Students learn how to use their singing voice in a healthy and artistic manner, and to read music through the Kodály-based pedagogical approach.
Our choristers perform frequently at public and private engagements with top ensembles (National Symphony Orchestra, The Washington Chorus, Choral Arts Society, Cathedral Choral Society), and at some of the nation’s most prestigious venues (The Kennedy Center, Washington National Cathedral, Lincoln Theatre). Recent appearances include a concert at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama; Der Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach; and the National Anthem at Nationals Park.
One of a handful of children’s choruses that tours internationally, CCW exposes choristers to different cultures, and to music in a variety of foreign languages. Past tours have included China, Italy, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, and France. In summer 2018, students traveled to South Africa.
As a commissioning body, CCW has made important contributions to the evolution of youth choral repertoire, including Imant Raminsh’s 2004 opera The Nightingale; Ta Qing (Wonderful Day Out With Nature) by Emmy Award-winning composer Nathan Wang in 2013; and works by Ysaye Barnwell, Stephen Hatfield, David Brunner, and Olli Kortekangas.
In 2012, CCW launched SING DC, PREP Classes, and Teacher Workshops to expand our engagement with a broader community of young singers and music teachers. SING DC provides choral music education in under-resourced schools at no cost to the students or host schools. PREP Classes introduce our youngest students to music and choral singing. Teacher Workshops offer professional development, best practices, and peer mentoring to music teachers who want to enhance the choral ensembles in their schools.
CCW received the Greater Washington Area Choral Excellence Award for Best Educational Outreach in 2012 and 2014; the 2014 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline; and an Increased Access to Music Instruction grant from the DC Deputy Mayor for Education in 2016. CCW was selected as “One of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region” for the 2015/2016 Catalogue for Philanthropy.
Joan Gregoryk, Founder and Artistic Director Emerita
Joan Gregoryk, Founder & Artistic Director Emeritus of the Children’s Chorus of Washington (CCW), is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of children’s vocal music. Ms. Gregoryk taught for many years at Chevy Chase Elementary School where her work with the school’s chorus won her considerable acclaim within professional music organizations, as well as invitations to perform throughout the United States and Europe. She prepared members of the Chevy Chase Chorus for the Grammy Award-nominated CD and film soundtrack recording of Mussorgsky’s Boris Gudunov with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra. Building on these accomplishments, she founded CCW in 1995 with the goal of developing the top children’s vocal ensemble in the Nation’s Capital. Since then, Ms. Gregoryk has prepared choristers for performances with leading conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Julian Wachner, Leonard Slatkin, Scott Tucker, Norman Scribner, John Rutter, Valery Gergiev, and Philip Glass.
Ms. Gregoryk is in constant demand as a workshop leader and guest conductor in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She has conducted numerous district and state children’s honors choruses and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Children’s Chorus in the Southern, Southwestern, and Eastern Divisions. In 2017, she will conduct the National Honors Children’s Chorus at the ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis, MN.
A leading authority on children’s vocal development and children’s choruses, Ms. Gregoryk has taught numerous courses and authored formative texts and publications on these subjects. She has received many honors including Outstanding Arts Educator in the United States from the Rockefeller Brothers Funds Awards in Arts Education, the Washington Area Music Award (Wammies), the Greater Washington Choral Excellence Award, the Maryland Outstanding Elementary Music Educator Award, the Conservatory Medal of Excellence from Shenandoah University, and the 2015 DC Area Choral Excellence “Ovation” Award for her outstanding contributions to choral music. Ms. Gregoryk has been named a 2015 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine.
She holds both a Bachelor of Music from St. Catherine University where she received an Outstanding Alumnae Award, and a Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Maryland. Ms. Gregoryk is an Artist-Teacher Associate at the Choral Music Experience Institute founded by Dr. Doreen Rao.
Ms. Gregoryk “passed the baton” in July 2016 at the conclusion of CCW’s 20th Anniversary Season.