Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MMUS)




Music educators have emphasized the need for making children's choruses available to all children. Mary Goetze, music director of the Indiana University Children's Choir states, "If we are to avoid our mistakes of the past, children's choruses must be accessible to all children." (Goetze 17) Linda Parreira, conductor of the Cumberland Children's Chorus states, "Singing is basic to the education of our children, and we must continue to be unrelenting in our pursuit of excellent music experiences for all children." (Farreria) The purpose of this study is to identify strategies used by selected community­ based children's choirs to make their programs available to underserved children. Five choirs were selected for this study: The Boys Choir of Harlem, The Chicago Children's Chorus, The Colorado Children's Chorale, The Phoenix Boy Choir and the Trenton Children's Chorus. The selection of these choirs was approved by Barbara Tagg, Chair of the ACDA National Committee of Children's Choirs. Each choir was asked fourteen questions which included a description of its choral program, how each identifies underserved children and strategies used to include underserved children in its program. The returned questionnaires, telephone interviews and additional literature provided by the choirs were incorporated to yield the results f this study. These results produced both important similarities and distinctions between each choir's approach to underserved children. All choirs studied actively pursue the membership of underserved children in their organization. The inclusion of multicultural music in their repertoire was common to all choirs, although none of the choirs changed repertoire or standards in order to include underserved children in their program. Lack of previous musical training did not prevent the membership of underserved in their organizations, except in a few cases of honor or advanced choir membership. Musical training is a part of the musical program of each choir. Common strategies include outreach concerts at targeted schools or churches to expose underserved children to the choral program. Also, contact with music teachers in the schools and clergy in inner-city churches was used to reach the underserved. Financial support for economically disadvantaged children was also common to each choir. This study provides proof that efforts are being made to make children's choirs available to all children. The work of these five choirs, along with others nationwide, will continue to make the goal of outreach to underserved children a reality.


A Treatise Presented to the Department of Music and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Music University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1995 Teresa Lesiak Paal.