Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose

Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose


Our mission is to give young singers the means to experience and share the power and poetry of song. Vivace is an engaging, high-caliber choral program for children four to eighteen. We offer a Kodály based choral education program that balances vocal training, music theory, and performances. The chorus fosters creative and artistic growth through its six levels of developmentally attuned and challenging curriculum.


Now in its second decade, Vivace Youth Chorus of San José welcomes young singers from all areas of the community. Led by Artistic Director, Peggy Spool, the core values of the chorus are commitment to choral excellence, regard for each child, kinship among choristers and their families, and respect for the cultures that comprise our diverse community.

Founded in 2003, by Peggy Spool and a group of dedicated parents, Vivace Youth Chorus is a high-quality choral program for children ages four to eighteen. Youth from throughout the Silicon Valley participate in our 6 choral levels. The chorus offers a program that balances vocal training, music theory, and performances. Upper level choirs take part in choral festivals and tours. All choristers gain exposure to various musical genres, from traditional folk to classical, jazz, and contemporary. The chorus collaborates with area composers and musicians, as well as with other ensembles including San Jose Symphonic Choir, Opera San José and Mission City Opera. In addition to weekly rehearsals at all levels, intensive semester workshops and retreats that feature guest clinicians are provided for the upper levels. Vivace's program also includes a one-week optional summer choral music camp for younger students, open to members and non-members. Scholarships and family discounts are available to keep the program accessible to families of all means.

Vivace singers have performed throughout the city of San José. Local venues have included the Rotunda at San José City Hall, the 01SJ Festival at St. James Park, Le Petit Trianon, the San José Museum of Art, the Children's Discovery Museum, the California Theatre, and other community venues. They have also participated in the "Sing A Mile High" Festival in Colorado, the Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival in Hawaii and the Pacific International Children's Choir Festival in Oregon. In July, 2013, the Tour Choir will participate in the International Children's Choir Festival in Canterbury Cathedral and London, England.

Peggy Spool has worked with children's choruses in the Bay Area for 20 years. She holds a Master's in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Certificate in Kodály Music Education from Holy Names University. She is a member of the American Choral Director's Association, National Teachers of Singing, and Organization of American Kodály Educators. Currently, she serves as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children's and Community Youth Choruses on the California ACDA Board and sits on the board of Silicon Valley Arts Coalition.

Services Offered

Program Overview

Singing in a chorus is an excellent way for a child to gain a musical education. Vivace’s choral program develops vocal technique, performance skills and music appreciation in youth 4 to 18 years of age. Singers are asked to commit to one year in order to gain the full benefit of participating in a sequential learning experience.

Approach − Ear training, solfege,(do-re-me-fa-so) and sight reading are taught using a Kodály (koh-DIE) approach. In each of our six levels, singers work on correct choral posture, and learn age appropriate vocal warm-ups that reinforce the development of proper singing technique.

Music − Students learn repertoire ranging from classical cantatas and folk songs from across the world to soulful spirituals and inventive music by modern composers. Music chosen is of the highest quality, at the correct skill level, and reflects themes appropriate for the ages of the singers.

Rehearsals − Weekly rehearsals range from 1 to 2 hours in length, depending on the level of the group. Piano accompaniment is provided for intermediate – teen levels. Movement and games are included in the classes for our younger singers.

Performances − Formal concerts take place twice yearly; the chorus also has additional performances in the community. Past venues in San José have included the Rotunda at San José City Hall, Le Petit Trianon, the San José Art Museum, as well as local retirement homes.

Collaborations − Choristers have the opportunity to work with local composers, sing with area ensembles, and receive professional, instrumental accompaniment.

Semester workshops − Workshops augment weekly rehearsals for the Intermediate through Teen levels. Guest clinicians for these workshops have included distinguished choral conductors, drama coaches, and Tai Chi and Alexander Technique teachers.

Retreat − The three highest level choruses attend an annual weekend get-a-way for more intensive work with guest teachers and the opportunity to build friendships key to creating an excellent ensemble experience.

Evaluations − Singers receive a one-on-one evaluation by the director at the end of the year. Feedback on the student’s progress is mailed to each family.

Choral festivals − The Intermediate level travels to local choral festivals as the opportunity arises. Upper levels tour every other year to participate in national choral festivals.

Camp − Each summer, Vivace offers a week-long camp for children ages 6-10. This camp blends art lessons and songs centered on a chosen theme. The camp concludes with a concert and gallery of artwork.

Singing together, our young people forge strong friendships and build a sense of community, as well as hone individual discipline, poise, and stage presence.

Interesting Facts

What is the Kodály method of music education?

The Kodály (koh-DIE) approach to music education is a unique method that allows children to hear and experience the music physically, aurally and visually. Music is learned through movement, singing and finally through reading and writing. It teaches children, through folk songs, to recognize interval distances starting with the kind of simple intervals that children sing to accompany playground games They are then taught those interval distances by "solfege", that is do-re-me-fa-so. From the simple well known tunes we build a bridge to the more complex music they will learn through their choral repertoire.

Connection to Community

VIVACE inspires: Artistic excellence, creative focus, community

"When our children first joined Vivace, we were not aware of the depth and breadth of the musical training they would receive. We overheard the transformation of their singing, from halting renditions of difficult pieces of music in the early rehearsals, to mastery at the final performances. Their director, Peggy Spool, approaches her students with discipline, firmness, creativity, and enthusiasm. She holds high expectations for all and appreciates the individuality of each young singer. Vivace contributes even more to each child than exposure to fine music and the expert teaching of vocal techniques. The children also expand their implicit understanding of other cultures as they sing folk tunes from many lands and in other languages. They learn to expect the best from themselves and from each other.

Together they create works of beauty, and this feeds their souls. Witnessing their growth as musicians and as individuals feeds ours."

Julie Castro- Vivace Parent, Founding Board Member


Two Rehearsal locations in San Jose:

For all levels: Stone Church of Willow Glen, 1937 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, 95125

For Rising Notes, Preparatory and Intermediate Choirs:

Foothill Presbyterian Church, 5301 McKee Road, San Jose, 95127

Alternative Synopsis & Additional Information

Vivace Youth Chorus of San José welcomes both beginning and advanced singers. We offer developmentally appropriate instruction for youth from 4 – 18 years.

All singers wishing to join a chorus above the Preparatory level receive an individual assessment with one of our choral directors. No preparation is needed for this relaxed and friendly session. However singers interested in auditioning for the Teen Ensemble are encouraged to bring a prepared song. Please contact the office to make an appointment.

To gain the full benefit of participating in a sequential learning experience, choristers are encouraged to commit to an entire year (September – June). However, singers may also join at the start of the second semester, or at the discretion of the artistic director. Scholarships and family discounts exist to keep the program accessible to families of all means. We look forward to having you join our Vivace Youth Chorus community.

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