The Ames Children’s Choirs (ACC) was founded in 1995, by Dr. Sylvia Munsen, the former Artistic Director. The choirs were under her direction for 16 years till June 2011. ACC program includes boys and girls ages 8-16 from central Iowa communities singing in three choirs: Concert Choir, Chorale and the Preparatory Choir. A fourth ensemble, the Chamber Singers, is a smaller ensemble from the Concert Choir. ACC focuses on the development of self-esteem through artistic experience. The ACC program was also utilized as part of teacher training for choral music education students at Iowa State University (ISU) during the tenure of Dr. Munsen.
ACC is a notable and well respected children’s choral establishment. Its accomplishments are detailed in ACC concerts/events.
Locally, regionally and nationally, the notable performances by ACC Concert Choir include:
- World Premiere of John Rutter’s Mass of the Children at CarnegieHall with the composer as conductor;
- Solo concerts at Washington’s National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and Temple Square in Salt Lake City;
- Performance with the Des Moines Symphony;
- Concert for the Meredith Wilson Centennial in Mason City;
- A program as part of ISU residencies with composers John Corigliano and Libby Larsen, four performances with Simon Estes in Midwest Children’s Choir Festival (MCCF) and ISU Celebrate America concerts;
- Invited performances and demonstrations at numerous conferences, including: NCACDA, MKMEA, OAKEA, AOSA, ICDA ,IMEA and MEA Michigan;
- Annual concert tours in seven states in the Midwest and many locations through out Iowa;
- Special tours as featured choir in various festivals in the central and western states, New York City and Washington DC;
In 1996, ACC established the Midwest Children’s Choir Festival (MCCF), and since then has sponsored the biennial festival. The festival was created to provide the opportunity for selected young singers from nationally and internationally recognized choirs for joint performances and for learning exchange in Ames Iowa. MCCF is hosted by the Concert Choir in ACC.
Early MCCF featured performers included choirs from Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the U.S. Currently, the festival features two Midwest children’s choirs and selects in-state singers to form a 400 – voice mass choir.
MCCF featured composer and guest conductors included Bob Chilcott, René Clausen, Rollo Dilworth. ACC commissioned choral works that were premiered at the festival included “All Things Pass” by Bob Chilcott “, “For the Beauty of the Earth”by René Clausen “Hush, Somebody’s Callin’ My Name” by Rollo Dilworth.
In 2008 ACC created the Celebrate Singing Choral Festival (CSCF). It is a biennial choral event that provides the opportunity for local school and community choirs to perform with each other. CSCF is hosted by the Chorale in ACC.
All choirs in the ACC program have collaborated with many arts organizations in central Iowa including: Ames Chamber Artists, Ames Children’s Theater, Central Iowa Symphony and the ISU Opera Theater
ACC International appearances:
- In 1998, as the only American ensemble to perform in the Mezinárodní Folklórní Festival in Frýdek-Místek, the Czech Republic.
- In 2001, a performance at “The World of Children’s Choirs” festival in Vancouver BC, Canada, and was selected to perform at one of the concerts recorded by the CBC.
- In 2010, as an invited choir to participate in the bicentennial celebration of Ole Bull’s birthday in Lysøen, Norway.