Youth Chorus


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

To open the program, gifted conductor James Bagwell took his Youth Chorus through three pieces in the tradition of the Anglican Church….The singers' well-trained voices were ideal for Britten’s hymn of praise. - Janelle Gelfand Cincinnati Enquirer


Sign up here to register for our next open audition dates.

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 to perform masterworks of the choral repertoire with the May Festival Chorus, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and internationally renowned conductors and soloists. In addition, the chorus presents its own concert series and collaborates with cultural institutions and organizations throughout greater Cincinnati. Notably, the May Festival Youth Chorus is tuition-free.

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. Additionally, the Youth Chorus is featured in Cincinnati Pops recordings on the Fanfare Cincinnati label. The chorus’s extensive performance history includes a 2007 appearance on NPR’s From the Top, the preeminent showcase for America’s best young musicians. Alumni of the chorus perform as professional and avocational singers in Cincinnati, across the country, and around the world.

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 concert repertoire ranging from the Medieval era to contemporary commissioned works. A complete repertoire list is available here.

Youth Chorus director Matthew Swanson is always pleased to hear from young musicians with an interest in singing. 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. Currently, singers rehearse Sunday afternoons from September-May at Knox Church in Hyde Park. At the end of each season, the chorus awards a scholarship to a graduating member with plans to pursue musical studies at the university level.

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:, or click here to sign up online.