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New England Conservatory Announces the Formation of the National Youth Chorale Festival

July 31, 2020 | By Stephanie Janes

New England Conservatory Announces the Formation of the National Youth Chorale Festival

The festival welcomes choral students ages 15-18 to participate in 14 weeks of online music-making, theory and vocal study, and digital performances

For Immediate Release—New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory School announces the formation of a 14-week national youth choral program to take place online this fall. The NEC Preparatory School Online National Youth Chorale Festival welcomes public, private, and homeschooled students ages 15-18 from across the USA to apply for the program by August 14, 2020. Starting September 10, 2020 and running through December, the workshops and rehearsals take place each Thursday night from 7-8pm ET.

Led by Erica J. Washburn, the Director of Choral Activities and Choral Conducting at the Conservatory, the National Youth Chorale Festival will provide a multifaceted experience for choristers.

“We are thrilled to announce the 2020 NEC Preparatory School National Youth Chorale Festival happening this fall,” says Erica J. Washburn. “This new, virtual ensemble is aimed at providing high school choristers an opportunity to work on repertoire that one would typically study in an advanced regional, or state, level festival ensemble. We hope this program might help fill an absence left in districts across the country where music programs have been put on hold this year due to the pandemic. And this could be an opportunity for friends and families hundreds, even thousands, of miles apart to sing in the same ensemble!”

At the conclusion of the webinar-styled festival, choristers will gather one last time in their Zoom rehearsal space to view a virtual performance of their work, and share meaningful dialogue surrounding their experiences and accomplishments.

Students in the NEC Preparatory School National Youth Chorale Festival will gain knowledge and experience in:

  • improving their sense of individual responsibility within a larger ensemble
  • how to stay in the best physical and vocal health possible
  • fundamental skills such as rhythm, solfège, harmonic and melodic progressions, and phrasing
  • how to collaborate in a virtual environment with other like-minded students their own age

In addition, choristers will have the opportunity to participate in group classes with special guests, including:

  • Dr. Anthony Maglione, Director of Choral Activities at William Jewell College
  • Jason Alexander Holmes, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cincinnati Boychoir
  • Vanessa Breault Mulvey, Body Mapping Specialist and Flutist
  • Zach Schwartz, NEC Assistant Director of Admissions & Financial Aid and Saxophonist


  • The Festival is open to all students in the United States between the ages of 15-18, via an online application, pre-recorded video audition, and letter of recommendation.
  • Students should have access to consistent high-speed internet service, as well as a computer and/or tablet and headphones/earbuds.

Application and audition materials are due on August 14th. View application here


About New England Conservatory

New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world for over 150 years. With 800 music students representing more than 40 countries in the College, and 2,000 youth and adults who study in the Preparatory and Continuing Education divisions, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training with internationally-esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC’s alumni, faculty and students touch nearly every aspect of musical life in the region; NEC is a major engine of the vital activity that makes Boston a musical and cultural capital. With the recent appointment of Andrea Kalyn to serve as NEC’s 17th President, the Conservatory is poised to embark on a new chapter at the forefront of innovation in education and music.




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