Ruth Datz, Dr. Richard Ingram, and Dr. Donald Williams – all leaders in the choral community – founded the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale in 1987. Their purpose was to provide excellent, affordable choral training and performance to a diverse a group of talented children. They believed that the music should reflect this diversity by representing a variety of cultures, languages, styles, and periods. Their purpose was not to compete with but to supplement school programs.
Shayla Hottinger Powell has led Descant Choir since she established it in 1991. Since 2006, Bonnie Kidd has directed Concert Choir.
Through the years, AAYC has partnered with a long list of prominent performing arts organizations, including the Ann Arbor SymphonyOrchestra, Arbor Opera Theater, Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus in Toronto, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, International Advent Festival in Prague, Peter Sparling Dance Company,UMS Choral Union, and University of Michigan choirs and orchestras. As these collaborations would suggest, the AAYC choirs are highly valued for their professionalism, careful preparation, and exceptionally beautiful singing.
AAYC’s excellent reputation has brought invitations from near and far to study, compete, and perform. We have visited exciting venues, including Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium, Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, the Whiting in Flint, and Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. We have sung at Disney World, with the Chicago Children’s Choir, the MSU Children’s Choir, and with choirs in Cincinnati and Princeton.