Heartland Youth Choir is a nonprofit organization that provides a performance-based program focused on music literacy, character development, and community engagement for central Iowa singers in grades K – 12. Students who love to sing can explore that passion beyond the school setting with highly skilled and experienced choral instructors. Heartland Youth Choir, with offices in Windsor Heights, is in its 15 th year of service to central Iowa youth.
Cantilena Choir, which will perform at Christkindlmarket, is one of six ensembles that comprise Heartland Youth Choir. The majority of Cantilena singers are in grades 3 and 4. The group performs at a number of concerts and collaborations throughout the year. And each spring, Cantilena hits the road for a regional choir tour.
What inspired you to get involved as a performer at Christkindlmarket Des Moines 2017?
Heartland Youth Choir sang at the first Christkindlmarket in 2016, and the group is delighted to return for 2017. Public performances are an important component of HYC’s teaching philosophy. Rehearsals help students learn responsibility, teamwork, and leadership, as well as build confidence and creative thinking skills. The only thing more fun than singing songs with your friends is singing holiday songs with your friends!
Conductor of the Cantilena Choir is Sandy Miller, who also teaches music at Timber Ridge Elementary in Johnston. The accompanist is Mary Bartemes, the assistant director of choral music at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines.
Heartland Youth Choir ensembles deliver 40 performances a year. In addition to their own concerts, HYC also seeks collaborations with professional musicians and organizations. A few examples: the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Des Moines Playhouse, the Canadian Brass, Central Iowa Wind Ensemble, the Des Moines Symphony, Mannheim Steamroller, and Simon Estes.
Heartland Youth Choir’s reputation for excellence includes a gold rating in the World Choir Games and an invitation to the International Choral Festival (the first Iowa choir to receive that honor).
Local jazz musician Max Wellman is a Heartland Youth Choir alum.
New members are always welcome at Heartland Youth Choir. For information, visit joinhyc.org.