About Nashville Children’s Choir
Choir Directors and Staff
A regional choir program for young singers, the Nashville Children’s Choir Program (NCC) is committed to the rehearsal and performance of quality choral music in a positive and affirming setting. The choirs are in residence at Belmont University and are part of Belmont Academy, a pre-college music program. The NCC Program includes three sequenced choirs for choristers in grades 3 through 8 (Preparatory Choir, Concert Choir, Touring Choir) and the Nashville Youth Choir (grades 9-12).
Touring Choir fills a dual role as a quality choral organization and as an ambassador of good will, performing frequently throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee with groups such as Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony, Middle Tennessee Choral Society, and recording artists such as Reba McEntire, Joe Diffie, and Riders in the Sky. They also sang for three performances with Nashville Ballet and at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. Destinations for Touring Choir in recent years have included San Antonio, Toronto, St. Louis, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Costa Rica. The choir has been invited to sing for national conferences of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and NAfME: National Association for Music Education. Touring Choir recorded three CDs — one of Christmas music with the Iliad recording label, a 10th anniversary CD titled Music of Your Life, and an anniversary CD, 15 Years with the Nashville Children’s Choir. An ensemble from the choir recorded “When You Wish Upon a Star” with the Centurymen on their Anthems in Disguise CD. NCC ensembles have also recorded numerous songs for the Silver Burdett elementary music textbook series recordings produced by Buryl Red.
Touring Choir is directed by James Wells and Josh Wright. Concert Choir is directed by Roberta Rodgers, and Preparatory Choir is directed by Elaine Bailey-Fryd. In addition to their Nashville Children’s Choir roles, these directors are also active as leaders of church music programs, teachers, authors, choral clinicians, and workshop leaders. Directors Rodgers and Bailey-Fryd have recently retired from being elementary music teacher, and Wright recently joined the Office of Federal Programs and Grants in Metro Nashville Public Schools after many years of being an elementary music teacher. Mr. Wells serves as Director of Music for Youth and Children at Brentwood United Methodist Church. Mr. Robert King, who is Director of Choral Activities at David Lipscomb High School and a noted clinician and adjudicator in the area of high school choral music, directs the Youth Choir.
Auditions for the Nashville Children’s Choir Program occur each spring for the following school year. Weekly rehearsals during the school year provide exciting music making opportunities for students from approximately twenty-five area schools.
For more information regarding our choirs and policies, please see the Handbook.
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Nashville Children’s Choir was founded by Marilyn Shadinger and Frederica Braidfoot in 1989, in cooperation with Belmont University. Madeline Bridges joined Mrs. Shadinger as co-director in the fall of 1990. Upon Mrs. Shadinger’s retirement in 2007, Dr. Bridges assumed the leadership of the NCC program, continuing in this role until 2019. Upon Dr. Bridges’s retirement from NCC in 2019, Mr. Wright and Mrs. Bailey-Fryd assumed the role of co-program directors. Over the years, the choir has expanded from a single choir of twenty-five singers to four choirs enrolling approximately 250 singers.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts of Belmont University provides weekly meeting space for the four choirs. Belmont faculty frequently guest conduct at special rehearsals and performances of the choirs and offer their expertise to singers and directors of the choirs. NCC functions as an ensemble of the university and could not exist without the support and encouragement of Belmont University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
NCC is a part of the pre-college music program, Belmont Academy. This organization provides private instruction in piano, string, woodwind and brass instruments, Suzuki string instruction, as well as vocal instruction for children from grade 3 through high school.
NCC also provides observation and internship opportunities for Belmont undergraduate and graduate music students, serves as a demonstration choir when needed for Belmont music education workshops, and performs with university choral organizations at least once each year including an annual performance in Christmas at Belmont.
For a detailed history of the choir program click here.