Notes from the Risers: DCC Newsletter – Winter 2022/23

New Beginnings

Eric Taylor

By Eric Taylor

It was April 2022, and I was invited by the Detroit Music Foundation to livestream the 2022 Detroit Music Awards. Our students were nominated for two awards, and I watched to represent the DCC. “What a thrill just to be nominated,” I initially thought. Little did I realize the whirlwind of an amazing day that the DCC would have. The Detroit Children’s Choir received both the Outstanding Family / Children’s Music and Outstanding World Recording awards (for our single “Betelehemu”). What a surprise! I immediately realized that I needed to get my Zoom ready to virtually accept the Awards on behalf of DCC.

What began as a statewide shutdown became a resolve to continue serving our students through any means.

I open with this story because it was the culmination of two years of uncertainty in the artistic life of Detroit. What began as a statewide shutdown became a resolve to continue serving our students through any means. We spent the first year fully virtual, preparing for an album release in 2021. The next year was a hybrid year, which was a mixture of in-person with virtual voice lessons. Along with this, we continued to release Quarter Notes with the DCC, a series of music lessons and interviews to keep students engaged. It feels like a long time ago when the first reported cases of COVID-19 made their way to Michigan, but that did not stop the work of the Detroit Children’s Choir. Like all choral organizations, we weathered the storm. As a result, this season not only marks our seventeenth year, but also our first fully in-person season since March 2020.


Highlights from the Past Year

There have been so many highlights from the past season as we continued to give students unique experiences to showcase their talents. Here is a brief look at what has happened in the last year:

  • Students were featured vocalists for the documentary “Shoah Ambassadors” (produced by Visionist Entertainment), where they joined rapper Curtis Bates in his original song “Never Again.” Shoah is in reference to the Holocaust, and the documentary was produced to teach young people about the atrocities of the Holocaust. The documentary went on to win several awards and film festivals, including several Michigan Emmys. Curtis joined our students to perform his song at the Spring Concert.
  • DCC Civic Choir sang “America the Beautiful” for the State of the City Address in March.
  • “How Can I Keep From Singing?” - DCC Spring Concert took place at the historic Basilica of Ste. Anne in Detroit. Students from all of our in-school and neighborhood programs (nearly 150 in total) sang together in the enormous Basilica, showing the city that (to quote from the lyrics) “no storm can shake their inmost calm.” Guest artists included Curtis Bates, Gwen Foxx, and Beth Griffith-Manley (from The Voice).

This Season at DCC

Using our gifts to make positive changes in people’s lives

Our theme for 2023 is “Carry The Light,” where students from all our programs learn about the importance of using their gifts to make positive changes in people’s lives. Like the words from the title song, students will learn to be “a candle that shines in the night.” Through the darkness of the last couple of years, the students will represent hope in the face of adversity.

Through the darkness of the last couple of years, the students will represent hope in the face of adversity.

Through a generous grant from the Village Club Foundation, our focus will also be on improving our musical literacy. Through music theory, sight-reading, and ear training, students can go beyond what they are capable of learning in music. As part of the grant, students received free music theory books that will be used throughout the season. In addition, our Civic Choir students will receive additional ear training through the SightReading Factory, a mobile app dedicated to learning how to read music.

Thank you for your continued support of the Detroit Children’s Choir. We look forward to an amazing season!

— Eric Taylor, Artistic Director


Jonpaul TaylorJonpaul Taylor - Executive Director

The DCC would like to welcome back Jonpaul Taylor as the organizations executive director. Jonpaul previously served as Director of Development and Operations and Executive Director from 2020 to 2021. Jonpaul brings with him a decade of grant writing experience and three years of business development experience as a consultant. Jonpaul intends to focus on expanding the DCC's in-school programs as the organization continues to grow post-pandemic.

Matthew Milanovich

Matthew Milanovich - Operations Intern

The DCC would also like to welcome Matthew Milanovich as DCC's first Operations Intern as part of our partnership with Wayne State University!

Matt is a fourth-year music business major at Wayne State University and is new to the Detroit Children’s Choir. As an operations intern with the DCC, Matt works to promote and secure funding for the choir’s in-school and afterschool programs as well as its concerts and other events. In addition to his focus on the business side of music, Matt enjoys studying music theory and playing trumpet in Wayne State’s Jazz Lab big band.

In his free time, Matt enjoys attending the monthly Cars and Coffee events hosted in Pontiac and Northville, and he can frequently be spotted bowling with his friends in his hometown of Plymouth. He also loves supporting his friends of the WSU Music Department by attending their concerts, and has traveled to a variety of hotspots in the United States with his mom, dad, and younger sister. He and his family have also made an effort to attend many of the major concerts hosted in Detroit this year, including Toto, Journey, Michael Buble, Elton John, and Billy Joel, among others.

Holiday Events

Noel Night
Saturday, Dec. 3, 7pm
Detroit Historical Museum

Wild Lights
Friday, December 9, 5:45pm
Detroit Zoo