The D.C. Youth Chorale, the official city-wide chorus for the District's public schools, is sponsoring a benefit fundraising concert tonight to keep itself from going out of business after 15 years.
The benefit concert begins at 8.30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center. The Youth Chorale and the Choral Arts Society of Washington will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. The program will consist of Mozart's "Requiem," Brahms "Song of Fate," music of Duke Ellington, some arrangements of Hall Johnson , Roy Ringwald and others. In the finale, D.C. Congressman Walter Fauntroy, honorary chairman of the fundraising concert, will join the combined choirs in presenting a musical selection.
Edward Jackson, director of the D.C. Youth Chorale program, said the group decided to "go public" for help with its financial problems because the annual $39,000 alloted for Youth Chorale programs by the D.C. Board of Education is no longer enough to keep its programs going for one year. The problem, he said, is the allotment has remained the same over the years, but the Chorale has grown. There are presently about 300 District youths involved in Youth Chorale programs, he said.
"Since we received that allotment we added two other dimensions to the program," Jackson said. An elementary and a junior high school section were added to the Chorale program. A large summer program has been administered by the Youth Chorale as well, Jackson said, but it was curtailed midway last summer. Until then, about 200 Washington Youth Corps students, who qualified for the program because their families were at poverty level, had been receiving minimum wage through federal funds, to work at projects in the city.
"If we don't get something in . . . by the end of December, we are just out of business," jackson said. Though no exact figures were available, Jackson said most of the money allocated last July 1 has already been spent.
The Chorale does not want to cut out any of its extra projects. They would like to establish a vocal jazz ensemble and a gospel workshop, an adult community chorale, and a music therapy program for the retarded and handicapped, Jackson said.
Along with their performances at a variety of community events, the D.C. Youth Chorale has done guest performances at Expo '74 and the New York World's Fair; they had a guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show; they have been special guests at the White House; and have made frequent appearances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Thousands of inner-city youths have taken part in the D.C. Youth Chorale, and many have developed their talents and parlayed them into successful educational and professional pursuits4, Jackson said. Some former members are Carmen Balthrop, of the Metropolitan Opera, and Wilma Shakesneider, who is with the New York City Center Opera.
Donations to the D.C. Youth Chorale are tax deductible and can be made out to the D.C. Youth Chorale, Ellington School of the Arts, 35th and R Streets NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.