About Nashville Children’s Choir
The mission of the Nashville Children’s Choir program is to enrich the lives of choristers, their families,
and the community through the rehearsal and performance of quality choral literature.
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 2–12: Foundations Choir, Touring Choir, and the Nashville Youth Choir.
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, Nashville Ballet, the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Middle Tennessee Choral Society, and recording artists such as Reba McEntire, Joe Diffie, and Riders in the Sky. Touring Choir goes on an annual tour and has been asked to sing on multiple CDs, as well as movie and educational projects.
Auditions for the Nashville Children’s Choir Program occur once a 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.
In 1989, Dr. Jerry Warren, Dean of the Belmont University School of Music, accepted a proposal from Marilyn Shadinger and Frederica Braidfoot to begin the Nashville Children’s Choir (NCC), a community-based children’s choir which would function in cooperation with Belmont University’s School of Music. Since this founding, Belmont University has been home to NCC, providing rehearsal and performance venues, publicity and printing, and vital financial and leadership support for the choir’s directors. From 1991-2017, Dr. Cynthia Curtis, the Dean of the School of Music and College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), continued to be a strong advocate for the musical education of young singers through the NCC program, now an established ensemble of Belmont University as a part of Belmont Academy, the pre-college preparatory program of the School of Music. The current CVPA Dean, Dr. Stephen Eaves joyfully maintains Belmont’s long-term support of the NCC program.
The Touring Choir has traveled to Chicago, Baltimore, New York, San Antonio, Washington D.C., Orlando, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, New Orleans, Charleston, San Diego, Huntsville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Jacksonville, Asheville, and Louisville, Toronto, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Costa Rica.
The Touring Choir has been privileged to present numerous significant performances during its history, including concerts at Carnegie Hall Festival, Music Educators National Conference, National Conference of the American Orff Schulwerk Association, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Disney World Choral Festival, Tennessee Conference of American Choral Directors Association, Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, and several appearances on the nationally acclaimed performance and broadcast of Christmas at Belmont. The choir has also sung several times with the Nashville Ballet and Nashville Symphony during performances of Carmina Burana and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as with Nashville Opera, and Belmont University School of Music ensembles. Equally significant have been opportunities to sing in various churches and community concert series throughout Middle Tennessee and the United States. Ensembles from the Touring Choir have sung for weddings, local conventions, various audio and video recording projects (including an appearance with Riders in the Sky and Reba McIntire), and as a part of CMA Country Christmas (singing “back-up” for Michael W. Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker, and Lindsey Sterling).
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 Directors
1989- Marilyn Shadinger and Frederica Braidfoot
1990- Marilyn Shadinger and Madeline Bridges
2007- Madeline Bridges and Brenda Jewell
2009- Madeline Bridges, Josh Wright and James Wells
2019- Josh Wright and James Wells
2022-present James Wells
Concert Choir Directors
1992- Linda Singleton
1993- Brenda Jewell
1995-2020 Roberta Rodgers
Preparatory (now Foundations) Choir Directors
2002-present Elaine Bailey
Nashville Youth Choir Directors
2003-present Robert King