The Hamilton Children’s Choir has existed for nearly 40 years. For the first 25 years, HCC consisted of a single performing ensemble, but since 2001, the organization has grown gradually up to five choirs as the age range and educational needs of our singers have expanded. Just as adolescents discover their identity as they grow, so too has the choir’s growth uncovered a new understanding of its identity, and new names for its choirs.
Don’t worry, the “Hamilton Children’s Choir” name is staying put – representing our tradition, our pride in our geographic home, and our essence.
Our choirs’ names are in the language of Esperanto. Esperanto, translated as “one who hopes”, is an international language, designed to be politically neutral and easy to learn. Esperanto, it was hoped, would transcend nationality and foster peace and understanding amongst all people.
The language of music, just like Esperanto, can achieve these noble goals of peace, international understanding, and opportunity for all. The Hamilton Children’s Choir, through its education, touring, and music, hopes to instill universal values of compassion, personal growth, appreciation for diversity, and the power of teamwork, in all our choristers. Each choir within the organization is connected by these values but also has its own focus and character:
KinderSing – While not Esperanto, KinderSing seems to be universally understood. Kindersing, is our program to get young children involved in music through ear training, play, and teamwork.
Komenci – “Begin” – Once youngsters can read, they are ready to truly “begin” their musical journey with HCC. Singing mostly in unison, and sometimes in two parts, choristers are taught the foundations of music theory and choral singing.
Esplori – “Explore” – After choristers are confident in matching pitches and holding their own part, choristers can now use their skills to “explore” more music and dive deeper into more challenging two and three part music, and more advanced music theory. Choristers also “explore” through participation in a weekend multi-junior-choir workshop, where they can hear other choirs, build friendships, and work with guest conductors.
Esprimas – “Express” – When choristers can confidently sing in two and three parts, and when they are ready for two rehearsals per week, they can now place more attention on how to “express” themselves through more mature emotions and more complex musical themes. Choristers must attend a season kick-off camp in August, where they grow as a team and focus on individual skill development. During the season, Esprimas also participates in a weekend multi-senior-choir workshop, and adds a touring component to better prepare singers for the highly demanding schedule of Ilumini.
Ilumini – “Brighten” – When choristers have demonstrated their knowledge of musical theory, a strong individual command of their voice, and a high level of musical and interpersonal maturity, they are ready for Ilumini, HCC’s primary performing and touring choir. Expectations on choristers are high, and include choir camp in August, two rehearsals per week, ability to learn lots of repertoire and choreography for a heavy performing schedule, and an annual international tour. Although the work is intense, the rewards for choristers’ intensify with their efforts; choristers brighten their minds, bodies, and voices, creating dazzling spectacles for audiences, and an experience for themselves by which their true talent and personality shine brightly into the world.
Lads & Gents – A boys choir inclusive of male singers of all ages, the name “Lads & Gents” stemmed from a growing need for choir to meet the needs of male singers experiencing vocal change. Lads & Gents offer young male singers with an opportunity to explore their choral instrument within a safe, supportive environment, surrounded by other boys and young men. Treble male voices, many of whom sing within another HCC ensemble, learn alongside boys who are becoming tenors and basses as their voices change. It provides an opportunity for boys to continue their vocal education during the changing voice period, explore repertoire crafted for mens’ voices, and enjoy the development of boys-only artistry and friendship.