FAQs

Background

Joining CCOC


CCOC BY THE NUMBERS

  • Six different choruses make up the CCOC: Butterfly, Ruby, Apprentice, Intermediate, Principal, and Youth Chorus
  • Singers are ages 3 - 19. The CCOC provides a progressive, graduated education program.
  • The CCOC choruses are made up of over 100 young singers
  • Thousands of children have been trained at the CCOC over almost 50 years of history
  • Hundreds more participate in our OPERAtion KIDS Outreach program every year
  • Since its inception the CCOC has commissioned 12 new opera works written just for children.  The latest commissions include: The Hobbit (2003); A Dickens of a Christmas (2005); The Secret World of Og (2010); Laura's Cow: The Legend of Laura Secord (2012); East ‘O the Sun West ‘O the Moon (2014); and Alice in Wonderland (2015)
  • The CCOC has an annual operating budget of approximately $500,000.  Over fifty percent of revenue comes from fundraising, grants, and performances
  • In a performance season from September to May, the CCOC often participates in 30 - 40 shows
  • In 2002, the CCOC introduced the Canadian Youth Opera Chorus for singers aged 16 to young adult to provide further training and to provide a bridge from the CCOC to university study
  • The CCOC performs with the Canadian Opera Company in productions, which involve children.  In the 2013-2014 season, choristers were featured in a new production of Puccini's La bohème.  In the 2015-2016 season they will appear in the production of Bizet's Carmen. In 2016-17, the CCOC will appear in both Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Puccini’s Tosca
  • Our annual opera productions feature at least three shows exclusively for schools, enabling us to reach nearly 1,000 young audience members in grades 1 to 8
 

WHAT IS OPERA?

There are many definitions, but, at its heart, opera is about bringing together all different arts to tell a story: most importantly music and theatre, but including visual arts (sets, lighting), fashion (costume), and dance.  It’s the original multi-media! The CCOC believes that opera is fundamentally storytelling with music, regardless of the musical style, culture, or period.  It can be just as relevant to young artists and audiences today as it was in the 16th Century.

 

WHAT IS CHILDREN'S OPERA?

The term is commonly used for two slightly different practices.  It can mean opera performed by adults specifically for children, or it can mean, as we usually use it, opera performed by children.  Children’s voices have a unique sound, so opera written to be performed by them is something that adults simply can’t replicate – and children and youth respond to seeing performances by their peers.

 

IS IT HEALTHY FOR CHILDREN TO SING OPERA?

Vocal teachers can be scared by this idea, and with good reason - a quick Youtube search will quickly show you many examples of children trying to imitate the sound of adult opera singers. This is NOT what we do!  We focus on a healthy, age-appropriate development of vocal technique and sound.  For us, opera is about telling a story with music – about communicating the text - NOT about pretending a 10-year old is the Queen of the Night!  We sing operatic repertoire written specifically for children’s voices as well as choral repertoire.  Our Youth Chorus do sing some operatic works written for adult voices.

 

HOW MANY CHORUSES ARE THERE IN THE CCOC AND WHEN DO THEY REHEARSE?

  • There are six choruses that make up the CCOC.
  • Choruses rehearse at First Unitarian Congregation - 175 St. Clair Ave. W
  • The choruses are: (ages are approximate)

Butterfly Chorus (ages 3 - 4)
Rehearsals Thursday 5:00 – 5:30

Ruby Chorus (ages 5 - 6)
Rehearsals Thursday 5:40 – 6:30

Apprentice Chorus (ages 7 - 8)
Rehearsals Tuesday 5:00 – 6:10

Intermediate Chorus (ages 9 - 11)
Rehearsals Tuesday 5:00 – 6:30

Principal Chorus (ages 10 - 16)
Rehearsals Monday and Thursday 4:30 – 6:30 (plus occasional Saturdays)

Youth Chorus (girls ages 16 - 19 and boys with changed voices)
Rehearsals Monday 6:45 – 8:45
 

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN?

  • Amounts depend on the chorus – there are some discounts available for early payment and for families with more than one chorister.  Bursaries are also available based on financial need.
  • Season rates for 2015/16 are:

Butterfly Chorus
$560

Ruby Chorus + Camp
$715 + $20

Apprentice Chorus + Camp
$865 + $35

Intermediate Chorus + Camp
$1020 + $35

Principal Chorus + Camp
$1425 + $375

Youth Chorus + Camp
$900 + $375

 

ARE THERE ADDITIONAL COSTS FOR UNIFORMS AND OTHER MATERIALS?

  • Yes, but except for the Youth Chorus girls' dresses, uniform items that are not provided are generic items such as black dress pants. 
  • Some chorus levels require a theory and/or sightsinging book.  This is normally less than $15.
  • All choristers are required to purchase a CCOC T-shirt as part of the informal uniform.
  • All choristers are requested to purchase a CCOC music bag for their music folder, water bottle and pencil.  The bags last many years.

DOES THE CCOC OFFER ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE?

  • Yes.  The CCOC has a Scholarship/Bursary program to which families may apply for financial assistance.  Almost 20% of choristers in 2015/16 are attending on some level of financial assistance.
  • Bursaries are awarded based on a combination of financial need and artistic ability.  Applications are assessed by the Bursary Committee and the Artistic Director which meets in August, prior to the beginning of each season.
 

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO THE CHILDREN HAVE TO PERFORM?

  • The CCOC provides extensive opportunities for the choristers to perform.
  • Junior Choruses (Butterfly, Ruby, Apprentice and Intermediate Choruses) at minimum perform in the winter and spring concerts, the spring open house, and the spring opera production.
  • Principal and Youth Choruses perform in all the above concerts and are featured in the spring opera production.  Additionally, they may perform in various capacities as the opportunity arises, including performances with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Roy Thomson Hall, Soundstreams Canada, Canadian Tenors, convocations, or sporting events.
  • Please see our season Performances and Events for examples.
 

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO THEY SING?

  • The CCOC choruses do sing operatic selections, but that is only a part of the overall musical repertoire that also includes contemporary and classical selections, folk, musicals and operetta.
  • A number of works are by Canadian composers.
  • At the Principle Chorus level, many selections are in languages other than English.
 

WHEN ARE AUDITIONS?

  • Auditions are held in the spring for the following season, and in late August for anyone unable to attend the spring auditions.
  • Further auditions are held in January to allow choristers to join for the spring term.
  • Auditions are held by appointment at other times of the year.
  • To apply for admission and arrange for an audition Apply today.  Contact the CCOC office at 416-366-0467 or email info@canadianchildrensopera.com if you have any questions.

 

 

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