Youth Chorus


Dr. Matthew Swanson, Director
David Kirkendall, Assistant Director & Accompanist
Dr. Eva Floyd, Musicianship Instructor

Join the chorus today—tuition-free!

The May Festival Youth Chorus connects, inspires, and educates young people through the study and performance of choral music.  Since its founding in 1987, the Youth Chorus has appeared annually at the May Festival, performing choral-orchestral works with the May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and internationally renowned conductors and soloists.

Additionally, the youth chorus preforms a stand-alone concert series in collaboration with cultural institutions and organizations throughout greater Cincinnati. The May Festival Youth Chorus is tuition-free.

Opportunities of a lifetime.

The May Festival Youth Chorus appears frequently in concert with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras at Music Hall, Riverbend Music Center and other prominent Cincinnati venues. The Youth Chorus has been featured on recordings with the Cincinnati Pops and in 2007 was featuring on NPR’s From the Top, the preeminent showcase for America’s best young musicians.

Alumni of the chorus have continued on as professional singers in Cincinnati and beyond. Best of all, singers in the chorus get learning experiences of a lifetime.

Revealing the voice.

Singers in the mixed-voice Youth Chorus focus on developing their vocal technique and musicianship, and on their language and performance skills. This breadth of education and training helps singers master vocal works ranging from the Medieval era to world-premiere contemporary commissions.

Who should join?

Youth Chorus director Matthew Swanson is always happy to hear from young musicians who love music and have an interest in singing.

When are auditions?

Annual auditions are held in January, May and August for singers in grades 8-12, including those with changing voices. Acceptance is based solely on ability, and there is no fee for membership.

When/where are rehearsals?

Currently, singers rehearse Sunday, 2-4:30pm, from September-May at historic Music Hall.

What are the perks?

The organization provides members with music scores, folders, learning materials, parking passes, ticket discounts and vouchers to May Festival, CSO, and Pops concerts, and meals during extended rehearsal periods. The May Festival also provides two uniform shirts free of charge; members are asked to furnish their own black pants, shoes, and socks, and funding is always available to cover these costs. Youth Chorus members are also invited to enroll in private voice lessons, also free of charge, with one of the May Festival's professional voice teachers.

In addition, the May Festival awards two cash prizes at the end of each season to. The John Hauck Foundation scholarship is awarded to a graduating Youth Chorus member or members who will study music at the university level. The James Bagwell Award, named for longtime Youth Chorus conductor Dr. James Bagwell, is given to a returning Youth Chorus member in recognition of their musical curiosity, academic achievement, and commitment to the Youth Chorus.

How much does it cost?

The May Festival Youth Chorus is 100% tuition-free.

What are my next steps?

Do you know a young singer who would benefit from membership in the May Festival Youth Chorus? We want to hear from you! For information about membership and auditions, please email chorus manager Kathryn Zajac Albertson at, or click here to sign up online.