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Why Choose the CCOC instead of a Choir?


What's the difference between the CCOC and a choir?

Opera is a much broader experience than choral singing. In addition to the benefits of singing in a group and learning music, opera incorporates aspects of musical theatre, drama, and acting, providing a well-rounded music AND arts education. Whether singing and acting on stage, in rehearsal or at summer camp, our choristers build self-esteem, self-confidence, and discover the joy of working as a team.


Casual photo of CCOC choristers on a European tour performing opera in three cities.

What makes the CCOC unique?

Founded in 1968, the CCOC is a world-class ensemble that introduces the magic of opera to children and youth. We are one of Canada's oldest children's choruses and known as a world leader in children's opera having commissioned and performed more new works than any other such company on the world.

The CCOC performs as the children's chorus of the Canadian Opera Company, and produces and performs one fully staged opera each year. We believe that arts education through music and drama provides the best foundation for your child's future.

In addition, the education and performance opportunities we offer our chorus members is unparalleled anywhere else in Canada. Our senior choruses have toured Canada, the USA and Europe and a new tour is in the works for next spring.


But isn't opera written for adults?

Many operas are, but the CCOC is committed to finding and commissioning repertoire written specifically for young voices. Our choristers learn proper singing technique using appropriate material, under the direction of our world-class music staff.


Young CCOC choristers in rehearsal

Will my child like opera?

Opera is storytelling set to music.  It has evolved beyond the traditional European style into a living art form; bringing together different cultures and artistic traditions to tell all of our stories through music. Previous operas we've performed include The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, The Monkiest King (in English and Mandarin) and more. There's a story for everyone in opera - you just need to find it!


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.


What makes voice training with the CCOC different than with a choir?

Our choristers are taught by seasoned artistic staff, who have trained and performed in various aspects of opera for years. We work with music written specifically for children's voices and pay careful attention to voice development through our graduated education program. The CCOC also hires leading professional artists to work with our members including singers, conductors, actors, instrumentalists, composers, directors, librettists, and designers.


4 boys on stage in baker's costumes in a CCOC opera for children


Are there boys in the CCOC?

Absolutely! We know that some boys are shy to share their love of singing. At the CCOC, we have a large number of boys in our choirs who love to sing and be part of the opera experience.  They'll make your son feel at ease. We teach the same voice lessons for boys and girls, and we love the energy and tone that comes from having mixed voices in the choruses. As your son gets older, we'll take care of his voice through the transition, and help him build a strong, healthy singing voice.  




2 young choir members waiting for their turn to sing.

What age can my child start?

We have 6 choirs for children and youth grades from JK - 12. Our choirs include:



Still have questions?

You can contact us at or visit our FAQ page.