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Press Releases

National Children’s Chorus Receives $1 Million Donation from the Tylis Family Foundation Supporting Vocal Music Education

November 15, 2023 | By Allison Van Etten
Vice President, 8VA Music Consultancy

The Gift Marks the Third Seven-Figure Donation to the National Children’s Chorus, United States of America

The Donation Expands NCC’s Scholarship Initiative ‘Project Unison’, Currently Being Piloted in Partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District

The Tylis Family Foundation announces a $1 million donation to the GRAMMY® Award-winning National Children’s Chorus of the United States of America to establish the Galina Tylis Harmony Fund for full-ride educational scholarships designed for students from underserved and immigrant communities across the United States. The fund honors the memory of Galina Tylis, mother of Al Tylis, co-founder of the Tylis Family Foundation. Mrs. Tylis was a beloved music enthusiast and piano teacher who emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1977.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, the National Children’s Chorus guides over 1,100 students to find their voice and achieve their best through unparalleled vocal training in eight chapter cities nationwide. This is the third seven-figure donation in the history of the NCC — a milestone for the organization, and the first of its kind to any independent choral program in the country. The NCC has previously received an anonymous gift of $1 million in 2016, and $2 million in 2020. The new contribution will be placed in a restricted endowment fund for scholarships.

“The Tylis Family Foundation gift is transformative. It will offer countless school students the life-changing music education available through our programs,” said NCC’s Artistic Director, President, and CEO Luke McEndarfer. “Every child deserves to have music in their life. This gift removes barriers that hold back so many of them from participating in world-class collaborations and performances. The endowment will let us continue building a vibrant nationwide network of young artists who reflect the beautiful diversity in our communities.

Last spring NCC partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country, to pilot Project Unison. The program offers the entire NCC experience —including all training and classes, concert uniforms and materials, and travel expenses — fully covered by scholarship funding to families who would otherwise not be able to participate. Students are selected by their school teachers; a sincere interest in singing takes precedence over inherent talent.

While NCC has always provided scholarships to anyone in need, the Tylis Family Foundation gift allows the nonprofit to exponentially increase the impact of its aid. The organization plans to expand Project Unison within LAUSD and also partner with other school districts and organizations in cities across the country.

“My mother loved music and it brought her so much joy to see the NCC perform. I am grateful that her legacy will be honored through this gift and will allow children, regardless of need, to benefit from the lasting positive impact provided by the NCC,” says Al Tylis. “The gift also honors our family’s experience as immigrants to this country and she would have been thrilled to provide immigrant children these incredible opportunities,” he adds.

The Tylis Family Foundation funds organizations that provide educational, recreational and health care services, as well as social projects and endeavors that make a positive, lasting impact in the lives of children and families.

Through the NCC, students connect with each other, growing as artists and as citizens. The young vocalists, ages 5 to 18, engage in a superlative regimen that includes an extensive musicianship curriculum. The organization consists of 33 choirs based in the chapter cities of Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Boston, and Chicago. Each chorister learns the same repertoire at each level and is uniformly trained so that members may participate in any concert across the nation and essentially design their own concert season.

Season 2023/24 marks McEndarfer’s 20th anniversary as Artistic Director. The NCC recently released Illumine, its first holiday album. In December, they’ll sing in festive concert appearances within the NCC’s chapter cities. In May, students of the Senior Division will join forces at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium for their annual all-city event that provides a joyous culmination of the season. During the summer of 2024, the NCC will also appear in Norway and Denmark as part of a unique cultural experience that will feature local and high-profile musical collaborations.

Last season NCC students performed concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall. They toured the U.K., joined their heroes — the hit group VOCES8 — in a joint concert in London, and recorded an album at the historic Abbey Road Studios. NCC students sang on the 2022 GRAMMY-winning album (best choral performance) Mahler: Symphony No. 8, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.



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