Repertoire & Curriculum

The Durham Children’s Choir is a special learning environment designed to provide a rich and rewarding musical experience for each child. The choir studies and performs a variety of music from all styles and periods of music history, including sacred and secular, folk, popular, gospels, spirituals and patriotic music. The music chosen is from many religious and secular traditions, and since the repertoire is not selected to intrude upon anyone’s personal or family beliefs, it is essential that all singers be willing to sing all repertoire.

Concepts about music (melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, form and style) and musical skills (vocal, theoretical, sight-reading) are taught throughout the rehearsals. Choir members are taught the use of their vocal instrument through exercises, posture, breathing and tone production. Our goal is to form the foundation of a life-long relationship with music for the singers and their families. 

The Choirs

The Durham Children’s Choir is comprised of two groups, Cantare – our preparatory choir, and Bel Canto – our performance choir (8 – 12 events per year). Both groups meet at the Durham Arts Council on Mondays, Cantare from 5:00 – 6:00pm and Bel Canto from 5:00 – 6:30pm.


Singers entering grades 2-4 do not need to schedule an audition. Our Cantare division’s purpose is to prepare students vocally to join Bel Canto, the older DCC division. We are committed to growing DCC by developing young singers who can grow individually and as choral ensemble musicians. Since this is a preparatory choir, this emphasis is on a joyful atmosphere of music-making and fewer performances, allowing each child to develop confidence as a singer and musician.

Sign-ups for Cantare are open in late May-early June each year. For consideration mid-year, you are welcome to fill out our Interest Form.

Bel Canto

Auditions for the Bel Canto division are held annually in late May and early June for the following school year, for singers entering grades 5-10. Auditions will be held at both the Durham Arts Council and Hillandale Elementary. A school photo of your child should be brought to your audition. Each singer should be prepared to sing “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” and the first verse of “America” (My Country Tis of Thee). Song lyrics will be available for you at the audition, you do not have to memorize the songs. The audition will also include some short vocal exercises to get an idea of the student’s vocal quality, timbre, and range, tonal memory aptitude and part singing ability. 

Auditions for students wishing to enter mid-year will be held by appointment only. Contact Dena Byers via email or telephone (919-907-1322) to set up a time.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available on a need-basis to help Durham Children’s Choir (DCC) families cover the costs of their singer’s participation in DCC programs. Financial assistance awards are limited to the funds available each year. Financial assistance applications are reviewed in confidence and need-based awards are granted at the discretion of the DCC’s Board of Directors.

The Durham Children’s Choir is a professional, non-profit organization. It is our policy not to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age or national/ethnic origin

The Durham Children's Choir is supported by generous grants from:

The Durham Arts Council

This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Duke University Chapel