Over the past two decades, United Girls’ Choir (UGC) has given thousands of choristers, ages 5-18, the chance to sing for joy, develop confidence and leadership skills, and build lifelong friendships in a safe, supportive environment. UGC has local chapters in many convenient locations throughout Connecticut.
Format Options for the 2020-2021 Season:
Since we’re currently unable to offer our “traditional format” of UGC (a full season of regular in-person rehearsals and performances at indoor venues), we will instead be offering the following two alternative format options for the foreseeable future (and until such time as it is deemed safe and practical to proceed otherwise):
ADJUSTABLE HYBRID FORMAT: This format will aim to replicate the traditional UGC experience as closely as possible by including live singing and in-person social activities whenever possible (in addition to a broad range of high-quality remote learning opportunities). The Adjustable Hybrid format will afford individual families and the organization the freedom to adjust the ratio of in-person to remote activities at any time in response to changing circumstances and/or concerns that may arise. As of this writing, our tentative plan for the fall semester is to hold some regional in-person rehearsals at outdoor venues (e.g. public parks) with a strict mask requirement for all participants (even while singing), a limited number of choristers singing in a given group, contactless sign-in and sign-out procedures, mandatory social distancing and sanitizing protocols, and other key risk-mitigation procedures in place. The schedule and frequency of outdoor rehearsals will vary based on ensemble (details TBA). We expect that any live performances held during the fall semester will also be outdoors and subject to strict social distancing and mask requirements for performers and audience members alike. Please see our Policies and Protocols for Safely Singing During the COVID-19 Pandemic for additional information. We’re certainly hoping that it will become possible for us to resume holding indoor UGC rehearsals and/or performances at some point during the winter or spring of 2021 and to offer something along the lines of our “traditional format” of UGC. However, at this time, we cannot predict whether it will be deemed safe and appropriate to do so. We will continue to monitor relevant scientific studies and public health guidelines and will respond accordingly when the time comes.
ONLINE-ONLY FORMAT For choristers whose preference for the 2020-2021 season (or a yet-to-be-determined portion thereof) is to participate in UCS activities exclusively via teleconferencing, we will be offering an Online-Only option, which will provide great opportunities for singing, learning, musical games, and social bonding all from the comfort and convenience of home. Choristers who select this format at the time of registration will have the option of switching to the Adjustable Hybrid format at various points during the season.
UGC’s three tiers (Core Program, Leadership Academy, and Mentor Program) comprise 12 distinct levels of instruction, ensuring that choristers of every age and skill level can learn and grow in an environment that is both challenging and fun!
The tiers and levels of UGC are as follows:
Tier 1: Core Program (1 rehearsal per week)
The four levels of ensemble within United Girls’ Choir’s “Core Program” provide an ideal sequence of instruction for most students, and they comprise the backbone of the organization. Each level is offered in a number of locations. All choristers begin their training in one of these ensembles, and most continue in the Core Program throughout their UGC careers, progressing from one level to the next when the necessary skills have been mastered. The four levels of the Core Program are as follows:
Cantata (ages 5-11) is an introductory ensemble focused on the development of proper vocal technique, diction, and rudimentary music theory and sight singing skills, with an emphasis on unison and two-part singing.
Allegra (ages 10-13) offers an opportunity for choristers with more experience to continue developing their musicianship skills and to perform repertoire that is more challenging than that of Cantata.
Chamber Singers (ages 12-16) is an advanced, regional chamber ensemble that fosters musical growth, independence, and maturity through the performance of three-part and four-part repertoire.
Consort (ages 15-18) is a select ensemble of highly experienced choristers, most of whom have spent several years developing their leadership skills in the Chamber Singers division.
Tier 2: Leadership Academy (2 rehearsals per week)
The Leadership Academy division is a highly selective regional magnet program for exceptionally talented choristers from all around the state. Ensembles of the Leadership Academy are open by invitation to choristers who have completed at least one year in the Core Program of UGC and have demonstrated outstanding musicianship, citizenship, and commitment. Each chorister in this division attends two rehearsals per week, one with an ensemble of the Leadership Academy (which is held at a central venue) and a second with a weekly UGC ensemble at a chosen location for which she serves as a Peer Leader. Choristers in the Leadership Academy are frequently invited to participate in special projects including weekend tours and performances of choral-orchestral masterworks, and are sometimes invited to perform as guests of the Elm City Girls’ Choir. There are four levels within the Leadership Academy:
Leadership Academy Level 1 (ages 6-11) is a rigorous introductory ensemble for young choristers of outstanding talent. Each chorister in this level attends one weekly rehearsal in New Haven as well as a second weekly rehearsal with a Cantata ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Peer Leader.
Leadership Academy Level 2 (ages 10-13) is a challenging ensemble for exceptional choristers at an intermediate level. Each chorister in this level attends one weekly rehearsal in New Haven as well as a second weekly rehearsal with an Allegra ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Peer Leader.
Leadership Academy Level 3 (ages 12-16) is an advanced ensemble for highly skilled and experienced choristers. Each chorister in this level attends one weekly rehearsal in New Haven as well as a second weekly rehearsal with a Chamber Singers ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Peer Leader.
Leadership Academy Level 4 (ages 15-18) is the most advanced ensemble within the UGC Leadership Academy. Each chorister in this level attends one weekly rehearsal in New Haven as well as a second weekly rehearsal with a Consort chapter in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Peer Leader.
Tier 3: Mentor (3 rehearsals per week)
The Mentor Program provides conservatory-level training to a select few choristers of all ages who have achieved extraordinary levels of professionalism and musicianship. Each chorister attends two weekly rehearsals in New Haven plus one or more rehearsals with UGC ensembles for which she serves as a Mentor. This division is open by invitation to choristers who have completed at least one year in the Leadership Academy and who are ready to be challenged at an even higher level. In addition to serving as Mentors for ensembles of both the Leadership Academy and Core Program, choristers in this division are frequently invited to join forces with the Elm City Girls’ Choir in major performances and tours. Some choristers are also invited to serve as Teaching Assistants and Apprentice Conductors.
Mentor Program Level 1 (ages 6-11) is an ensemble for profoundly gifted young students who demonstrate tremendous musical potential. Each chorister attends two weekly rehearsals in New Haven plus a third weekly rehearsal with a Cantata ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Mentor.
Mentor Program Level 2 (ages 10-13) is a challenging ensemble for exceptional choristers of intermediate experience. Each chorister in this level attends two weekly rehearsals in New Haven as well as a third weekly rehearsal with an Allegra ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Mentor.
Mentor Program Level 3 (ages 12-16) is an advanced ensemble for highly skilled and experienced choristers. Each chorister in Level 3 attends two weekly rehearsals in New Haven plus a third weekly rehearsal with a Chamber Singers ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Mentor
Mentor Program Level 4 (ages 15-18) provides a continuation of the advanced training offered in Level 3, and its members are among the most talented and experienced choristers in the United Choir School. Each chorister in this level attends two weekly rehearsals in New Haven as well as a third weekly rehearsal with a Consort ensemble in a chosen location, for which she serves as a Mentor