ATLANTA YOUNG SINGERS of Callanwolde (AYS), is Atlanta's premier choir for children and youth. With the cooperation of dedicated community leaders, schoolteachers, and arts professionals, Stephen J. Ortlip (Music Director for 23 years) founded AYS when the idea of boys and girls singing together in a community choir was rare in the U.S. Celebrating its 40th season, AYS is now bringing music to life for children and youth in metro Atlanta and audiences all over the world. Workshops, master classes, and lecture demonstrations with skilled instructors and guest artists are offered annually to students and music educators. 20,000 audience members each year and 2,000 Alumni and their families have benefited directly from AYS programs; over 90,000 people heard AYS Choirs last year!
Under Music Director Paige F. Mathis (an alumna and Music Director since 1998) and Executive Director Virginia M. Thompson, AYS provides a diverse and challenging learning environment that inspires intelligent thought, artistic creativity, and personal growth. 200 Singers ages 7-18 representing almost 100 public, private, and home school environments serve the community through performances, free outreach concerts, and volunteer activities; grow and develop life skills such as cooperation, dedication, self-confidence, discipline, pride in performance, and mentoring; learn music skills through rehearsals, music theory instruction, camps, and regional and international tours; and sing with other children to create music of highest artistic quality. Tuition covers only 59% of the cost/Singer, and additional financial assistance is offered to over 30 AYS Singers. AYS Choirs include two Training levels in four locations, Treble Concert Choir, select Tour Choirs, and Young Men's and Women's Choirs that combine to form a 65-voice Youth Chorale.
During the last 40 years, AYS has performed with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, at the Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and at numerous events sponsored by nationally recognized companies and organizations. The Choir has traveled extensively, singing in all the cultural capitals of North America and Europe and winning invitations to the most prestigious choral festivals in the world, such as LLANGOLLEN INTERNATIONAL EISTEDDFOD in Wales, INTERNATIONAL CHORAL KATHAUMIXW in British Columbia, and PREMIERING SYDNEY in Sydney Opera House. In 2007, Youth Chorale was chosen as one of only 4 American choirs for FESTIVAL500 in Newfoundland and also traveled to Brazil and Argentina for MELODIA! in 2009. In 2010, Treble Tour Choir traveled to Ireland, and Youth Chorale traveled to Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden and participated in EUROPA CANTAT junior in 2011. In 2012, Treble Tour Choir and Youth Chorale won gold diplomas at the WORLD CHOIR GAMES in Cincinnati! Youth Chorale sang at CARNEGIE HALL in 2013, and AYS Choirs won a gold and silver medal and two gold diplomas at the 2014 WORLD CHOIR GAMES in Latvia!
While celebrating a rich history, AYS looks forward to an exciting future and continuing its dedication to music literacy, commissioning of new American choral works, support of local musicians, presentation of cutting-edge performance formats, interdisciplinary collaborative education, and especially outreach to underserved children in the Atlanta area.