Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir

Community Subscriber
Oakland, Piedmont
Preschoolers, Kinder, School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
340 participants
notes [at] piedmontchoir.org

Our mission is to advance the choral arts through education, performance, and collaboration at the highest artistic level, fostering individual development and international relationships. We offer classes  in three different departments: Pre-Kinder and Kinder Department, Training Department and the Performing Department.  Each class is led by a teaching professional with outstanding professional credentials. Each class builds upon skills learned in the previous class and engages young students through exploration of text and interpretation, theory, musicianship, vocal training and performance. 

Parent Reviews

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The Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir has been a wonderful home for our 12-year old daughter.  She started choir at age 7 in Girl’s Training 2 and last year moved from the Training Department to the Performing Department.  She is now in Concert Choir.  Through that journey the formal benefits have been an education in choral music technique and training, music theory, performance etiquette, and experience in learning original compositions and music from numerous other countries.  Informally, the benefits have possibly been even greater.  She has loved being part of a group that is striving toward a common goal together.  She understands her personal responsibility for their shared goals.  She has learned that putting in effort, showing up, listening and taking instruction seriously return the satisfaction of a solid performance.  All of this is possible because she feels welcomed and at-home with the conductors and staff, and her peers.  The relationships she has made have only been strengthened by her camp and tour experiences, of which she has loved every minute.  I, and more importantly, my daughter, highly recommend the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir.

My 13 yr old daughter joined the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir Concert Choir this year after taking voice lessons for a little over a year. It's been a great experience for her musically, and I've been very impressed with the level of instruction that's been provided as well as the performance opportunities. Every summer the choirs go on tour, and there is a 1.5 week camp that's held in Marin. This summer, the choir will be hosting a choral festival which will provide the kids a great cultural experience as well as a musical experience, since we will be hosting choirs from other countries. Overall, I would highly recommend PEBCC!

Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir.  Practices are once a week. 

Our daughter, now a high school junior, has sung with the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir since kindergarten.  She (and we) love it.  She learned to sing, and read music, through the training department choirs.  The tours begin in Performing Department.  Concert Choir tours primarily in the US, and our daughter loved singing in New Orleans and Seattle.  Ensemble tours internationally, usually hosted by choirs in the cities they visit.  Our daughter's choir won the Grand Prize at a singing competition in Slovakia in 2013, and had the experience of singing in the Estonia Laulupidu in 2014 (over 30,000 massed singers--not to be missed!).  Through rehearsals, concerts and tours, the singers become close friends, learn to work as a team, and develop international friendships and appreciation for song throughout the world.  If you have a child who likes to sing, I highly recommend the Choir.  Rick

Both of my children are singing at the Piedmont Children's choirs. They practice twice a week, also teach theory, and seem to work on musically difficult material. My son said that this is the best choir he has been in - this is the fourth choir they are attending (3rd one in the East Bay, one in Germany). Both of my kids love it, and their practice time is usually in the car driving to rehearsals from Berkeley to Piedmont. Several boys from the San Francisco Boys Choir joined them in the past as well and seem to be happy there.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Piedmont girls training choir?

May 2016

I am interested in hearing about the experiences of children who have been in the Piedmont training choirs. Can you say a little about the kinds of approaches the conductors take? Tanya Stum and Naomi Braun are listed as instructors. How does each of them facilitate classes? I'm looking for something that's playful and enables the kids to have fun with each other -- that's more important to me than musical precision (though of course that's great if it can happen too). Is it worth the cost? Are there any other choirs/vocal music options for kids in the Oakland/Castro Valley area that would be worth considering? Thank you! -mama

My daughter has done the Piedmont choir since preschool and is now finishing 3rd grade. I cannot tell you how much she loves it. She is a kid who always loved to sing - while riding her bike, while reading, while walking - and it has been incredible to watch how the choir has helped her develop her singing voice - on pitch and with a lovely presence. The best part is that happened all while having FUN. All of the teachers we have encountered incorporate games in with the theory and singing classwork. There are name games, hide and seek games, hot potato games all with song. My daughter looks forward to choir every week and happily practices for it at home. This is also one of the best organized childrens' groups I have encountered with my 3 kids. For those students who are very excited about singing they make sure there are other concert outlets and there is a lovely summer camp. I can't speak to how it compares to other choirs but can give Piedmont East Bay Childrens Choir my wholehearted recommendation. happy singer

My daughter is in Contra Costa Children's Chorus. Their practice is in Lafayette- so might be too far for you. She started choir in 2nd grade and loved it. The directors made it very fun for the kids and she did learn a lot. She took a break because they changed the practice time and it didn't work for us plus, as you say it is pricey. My daughter is now in Level 4, and is in 7th grade- she returned to choir last year. The formal training has increased tremendously and I now feel is worth the cost. During our break my daughter has tried a various of other choirs (that were free or low cost) that frustrated her because they never really taught anything. Check out their website. Linda

I sang with the Piedmont Choirs (now Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir) from 2nd grade through high school, and it was one of the best experiences of my childhood. I actually had Naomi in the training groups, and I still remember how sweet and encouraging she was--she's the perfect teacher, especially for young children. I can't speak to the specific approach she takes, simply because it's been too long and I don't want to give you outdated info. I will say that Piedmont Choirs focuses on musicality, but in an age appropriate way. Your daughter would learn some singing techniques in the training group (things like fun warm up songs), but the training groups (well, all of the groups) really emphasize the JOY of singing. I used to love watching the training group concerts when I got older, as it was clear that the kids were having a blast. I could go on and on about how wonderful the choir was for me--I traveled all around the world with them (staying with local families), made some of my very best friends, met kids from all over the Bay, and developed a great appreciation for music... I could go on and on, but I hope that helps! Piedmont Choir grad

June 2014

RE: Youth Choir for Elementary-Age Boy

My experience with Piedmont choir has not been as extensive [as Kairos]: they are very well organized. They are very respectful towards children and parents, the expectations are clear and are communicated clearly. I have a feeling that socially it is not as fun, though I don't have any experience with having a young child there. Choir Parent

Info on Prep Chorus or other children's chorus

May 2014

Hi everyone! I'm considering signing up my 5-year old daughter for Prep Chorus, which is offered by the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Does anyone have any experience with this organization - good or bad? Might anyone recommend any other choruses for a 5-year old girl? Thanks so much!

Hi mom of 5yr old wanting info on SFGC prep. I only know about SFGirls Chorus of which my daughter joined when she was 7 yrs old and stayed in until she graduated from HS. She loved it and being the parent who took her to rehearsals it was a lot of driving. She got to be in an opera when she was in 8th grade and made friends with many famous opera singers the she still knows to this day. She went on to get a BM at college and loves to sing. I would say as her parent it was a wonderful experience and taught her valuable life lessons. In addition she was able to travel to other parts of the world to sing with the chorus. Opera singer mom. smcatdog

Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir has a prep choir for five-year-old's called KinderChoir. Classes run from October through May. One of PEBCC teachers is offering a singing camp (summer 2014), two one-week sessions of three hours, Monday through Friday. This is offered through the City of Piedmont Rec. Dept. The camp is for 6 to 9 year-old children, but you could check to see if they would accept a five-year-old. Spencer

Piedmont Children's Choir for kindergartener?

Nov 2013

Has anyone had a child in the kinder or prekinder choir with K. Offer at Piedmont Children's Choir? What was your child's experience like? What kinds of things did they do during rehearsals? I'm looking for good options for my preschooler.....Thanks! -singing mama

My son was in the Piedmont Children's Choir for about half a year when he was five years old. He had a good time there, and I thought the instruction was really good. Rehearsals included some exercises to get the kids to hold themselves well, some vocal exercises, some time learning to read music, some play time, and of course time to sing songs. The kids picked up some good skills, and I would have liked to see my son continue singing with that choir. The down side was that the instructor seemed much more skilled at relating to girls than boys and treated boys and girls pretty differently. For example, girls who bumped into each other during play time were comforted; boys who bumped into each other were told off for unruly behavior. I don't know if that was the reason (my son wasn't one of the boys who were told off), but my son lost interest in being in the choir after a few months.

It took a while before he was willing to try singing in a choir again. He now attends the Pacific Boychoir Academy (the day school) and is very happy there, Ironically, the choir wasn't even the reason we considered that school, and my son was skeptical at first. They have an after school choir, too, with excellent instructors producing wonderful results. If your child is a boy, check it out: http://www.pacificboychoir.org/ singing mama, too

June 2010

RE: Choir, singing lessons for 4.5 year old

My daughter attended Piedmont choirs for 11 years starting at age 7. She was singing by imitation from age 3 and had obvious talent and was very focused but generally starting voice lessons too young will only cause long term problems with voice quality. My daughter is graduating this June with a double Major in English and Music(voice). Almost no talented child singers get this far, never mind being Opera Divas. I have seen younger boys try out at the twice yearly Piedmont Choirs group auditions but that is generally allowed because boys are scarcer. I would let your daughter 'play' at performing for another couple of years. My daughter loved this and now stage directs, as well as performing in many productions.Your daughter's voice, like young athletes muscles needs to grow and strengthen. Let her learn how to listen and identify notes.There are just developmental limits to what a young voice can do. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just separating you from your money. Mom of Born Singer.

Hi there - The Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir is a fantastic place for a kid who loves to sign (as does my daughter, who is almost nine and has been with the choir since she was six). They have a kinderchoir that takes kids your child's age. Link to their site: http://www.piedmontchoirs.org/i Ioana 

Oct 2007

Re: Beginning Chorus or Voice Lessons for 9y

I highly recommend the Piedmont Choirs. My daughter started with there when she was 7 and has advanced through the different levels. It has been a great experience for her. All of the instructors she's had have been fabulous. Their ''tryouts'' - certainly not a rigorous affair - have already passed, but you should call and express an interest. I think they probably could accommodate a late start. The office number is (510) 547-4441. Their website is www.piedmontchoirs.org. Bob Geary, the choir's artistic director, is FANTASTIC. I hope that you'll try it and am happy to discuss further if you have any questions. Ann

Sept 2007

Re: Children's or girls chorus
Check out Piedmont Children's Choirs. You didn't say how old your child is, but Piedmont Choirs starts very young and has multiple choirs through training and performing from about age 6 through high school. My daughter loved her five years, advancing through the training program and then opted for sports when faced with the increased time commitment for the performing levels. Bob Geary is the Music Director and is one of the very best I've ever seen in working with children. He has received numerous choral awards and his top level performing group consistently place highly in their competitions. I have been singing under Bob's direction for about 12 years in one of his adult choirs and he is absolutely terrific. All of the other teachers are also top notch; in fact, Bob sometimes enlists their help in working with us adults. Jody

there are a few children's chorus groups to choose from: for girls, aside from Piedmont Choirs, there is also SF girls Chorus which has a East Bay chapter and Oakland Youth Chorus which was directed by Trent Moore who is a professional singer and teaches children by day and has directed chorus in Woodminster Theatre and other productions=he is wonderful with children and a fantastic magnificent musician. There is the Pacificboychoir Academy which has a pre-school too now for both sexes; My son has been with the Pacificboychoir Academy for 7 years and loves it and they have great teachers that are very motivating and nurturing and practice positive discipline. My daughter was with Piedmont choirs, but I felt that it is too big and my child got lost in the masses. choir mom

Jan 2007

Re: Which chorus for 8-year-old?
I recommend Piedmont Choirs without reservation (I don't know anything about the other one). I sing with one of Bob Geary's adult choirs, where we often have the children join us in performance, and I have never seen anyone work with children as masterfully as he. And he is always singing the praises of the other teachers!

My daughter went through the training department, from beginning girls 1 to advanced girls. Upon her promotion to the performance department she had to choose between chorus and soccer--the increased time commitments of both activities would have been too much. She learned so much about music but more importantly experienced that sense of joy common to all choral singers of being a part of something bigger than oneself, something that is impossible to do on one's own. Teamwork, precision, responsibility and commitment, and FUN also come with the territory. For the performing groups, the opportunities are phenomenal. There are tours and camp every year along with the regular performances. Every couple of years or so Piedmont Choirs hosts an international children's choir festival where the choirs all join together to make such joyful music--their signature piece is ''Sing all ye joyful'' commissioned of Kirke Meachem. One note of fair warning: Maestro Geary loves contemporary music and the top performing levels sing a lot of commissioned pieces that are wonderful if sometimes a bit strange! Good luck with your decision. Jody

June 2005

Re: Alternatives for 5-year-old boy
Piedmont Choirs has a great training department that mixes music education, singing, and fun. The beginning level conductors understand the fidgets of kids and incorporate it into rehearsal. There is rehearsal time devoted to music theory (kids move at a self-pace with support). As they progress through the levels in the choir, the children are expected to grow in their concert behavior, but perfect concert behavior is not expected in the Training Department. The young gentlemen are always a hit at concerts.

My two daughters have been singing with the choir for 5 and 3 years. One entered in the Training Department and one entered in the Performing Department. The choir has given them a good education in theory, intervals, sightsinging, and a continued love of music. Both are in the Performing Department at this time and traveling each year. They are meeting other young singers from all over the United States and the world. It has been a fantastic experience for both of them.

I don't know how old your son will be in September when the choir begins rehearsals. I believe that in some cases, the choir may relax it's age requirement, but you might want to check with Judi Fabrizio in the choir office (547-4441 x304). There are usually auditions in June, September, and January for entry into the choir. Terry, Piedmont Choir Parent

Feb 2005

Re: Chorus for 5-year-old boy
I was a member of the Piedmont Childrens Chorus from about 9-13 years old (about 15 years ago). I had a great experience there. The musical instruction is excellent and has given me a solid foundation to continue singing at a high level with choirs and solo. The conductors were excellent and I made wonderful friendships there. I did not have a personal experience with the SF Girls Chorus, but I enjoyed the co-ed experience at Piedmont. Singing in childrens choir is a wonderful experience to give your son, I hope he enjoys it! I would be happy to answer any specific questions you have about the Piedmont Choirs also. Miranda

Aug 2000

You also might consider the Piedmont Choirs, which actually has children enrolled from 5 bay area counties! There are 4 or 5 levels in what is called the training department for separate groups of girls and boys. Then they progress to one of several performing groups who travel internationally and are world- known and respected. Contemporary composers frequently create works for the choir. My daughter has studied music theory and vocal technique while preparing for performances. The combined choirs present 2 annual concerts, Winter and Spring, which were held in the Calvin Simmons Theater this year. It is nothing short of awe inspiring to see and hear 350 children from 7-18 singing together! This week my daughter is away at the choir's camp up in Occidental. There they study advanced theory, technique, performance and work on repertoire for the coming year. She enjoys her choir activities and has grown more confident in the process. We found this a very good alternative to driving to San Francisco for the Girls Chorus.