February 24th, 2011

Children’s Choir

“The SVCC is completely captivating and professionally poised. In truth, the childish intonations make ‘Silent Night’ shine especially brightly as a family-friendly seasonal release. Again, Director White extracts an incredibly high level of musicianship from her young charges, and the choir sings with tremendous enthusiasm and heart.”

— Carol Swanson in a 2007 review of “Silent Night,” an SVCC recording posted at

The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC) represents one of the most widely traveled and highly acclaimed groups of musical performers associated with EMU.

It was founded in 1992 by Julia White, who remains its artistic director. It has performed for such dignitaries as Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Highlights include performances at:

  • three Southern Division ACDA conferences (Orlando in ’00 and Charlotte in ’02, under the direction of Sir David Willcocks, and Charleston, W.Va., in ’06)
  • the Carnegie Hall Children’s Choir Festival (’98 and ’07)
  • the Tuscany International Children’s Chorus Festival in Italy (’01)
  • the Pacific Rim Children’s Chorus Festival in Hawaii (’05 and ’09)
  • three occasions with members of the Washington Symphonic Brass Quintet
  • the White House, with Opera singer, Placido Domingo.

The SVCC serves young people from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding region.

Its mission is to foster artistry and excellence through musical study using weekly practices as a group and individual homework in solfege and rhythm. The training includes sight-reading, memorization, and written theory.

The SVCC program encompasses the concert choir, ages 11-18; the treble choir, ages 9-15; and the preparatory choir, ages 8-11. Admission is by audition and requires serious commitment to attend practices and do homework. Early-elementary “explorers” classes are also offered for children in kindergarten through grade 3.

No qualified, interested child is turned away. White sees that financial assistance is extended to students who need it.

A highlight in October 2011 was SVCC’s appearance with The American Boychoir, regarded as the United States’ premier concert boys’ choir. It was the sixth time this choir had performed in Harrisonburg at the invitation of SVCC.

The 74-year-old American Boychoir, a highly selective residential program based in Princeton, New Jersey, joined SVCC in performing before hundreds of young teens enrolled in local public middle schools. The audience was also invited to participate at points, enabling them to experience the joy of community singing. Joint master classes of the Boychoir and SVCC were open to the public.

White worked with the American Boychoir School in the late 1980s when she was a master’s student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has maintained a relationship with the Boychoir over the years.

The SVCC has released 14 recordings since 1996, with most still available on CD.

To hear samples of SVCC music, purchase a CD, or obtain more information about SVCC, visit