The business of the “young professional” is an ever-growing industry. They have meet-ups and happy hours, Facebook groups and LinkedIn feeds, chain emails and exclusive offers, all aimed at getting to the heart of what a young professional wants. Young Professionals Choral Collective of Cincinnati (YPCC) has a different take on what YPs want, offering something else entirely — the opportunity to create connections and art, voice to voice through choral music.
YPCC was founded in 2011, after artistic director KellyAnn Nelson returned to Cincinnati with husband Christopher Eanes (YPCC’s associate artistic director, and managing artistic director of the Cincinnati Boychoir and artistic director of Collegium Cincinnati.) YPCC was at first a way to engage young professionals in the 2012 World Choir Games. YPCC placed second in the Mixed Chamber Choir category, and has become so much more. Now in its fourth season, YPCC has more than 650 members, ranging in age from 21 to 45, members of that elusive “young professionals” category.
“YPCC is one of the reasons I stayed in Cincinnati,” said Katie Personke, a Cincinnati choir teacher. “I moved here for grad school at CCM and didn't expect to stay. I unexpectedly fell in love with the city, and one of the major reasons is the friends and connections and music I've made with YPCC. When I graduated, I actively looked for jobs in Cincinnati so that I could stay here and continue making beautiful music with YPCC.”
(YPCC rehearsing at the Contemporary Arts Center. Photo: Scott Beseler
Socialization is a key component of YPCC. A recent study from the British Psychological Society surveyed 375 people who were members of a chorus, sang alone or participated in sports teams. Significant statistical evidence was found suggesting that of those surveyed who were members of a chorus had higher levels of reported well being than those who sang alone.
“…[It’s] really important to so many of our singers who are looking for friends with similar interests…most [members] sang in high school or college and are looking to reconnect to the community they found in their chorus, glee club or show choir. Since [song] cycles are non-auditioned, anyone who loves to sing is welcomed,” said Nelson.
Song cycles comprise YPCC’s innovative model of operation: singers can select one or all of the rotating six-week cycles throughout a year to commit to for rehearsals once a week and a big performance to cap off the cycle and showcase all the music rehearsed during that time. Singers can get a drink before rehearsal (and they hang out at OTR bars afterward, says Nelson) but from 6:30 to 8:30 on rehearsal evenings, the singers work hard.
“The music is awesome, we sing in cool places around town, and we get to collaborate with other arts organizations. I'm really amazed at some of the performance opportunities I've had with the group,” said Maxim Brumbach, a YPCC member.
Partnerships with other local arts organizations add layers of culture and interest to each cycle’s performance—whether it be the participation of a local band such as The Cincy Brass playing at the concerts; singing in breweries; bringing in Shakespearean actors, other local choral singers, Cincinnati Opera soloists or dancers from Pones, Inc, YPCC seeks to connect members in tangible, memorable ways to the other arts in the city.
“YPCC uses participation in art-making to connect singers to art-supporting. Many of our singers now attend performances at the Opera, May Festival, the CSO, Cincy Shakes and so much more because they have a heightened awareness of their offerings due to our collaborations - and a peer group with whom they can attend events,” said Nelson.
(YPCC singers, Collegium Cincinnati musicians and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company actors as Romeo and Juliet perform at YPCC's October concert, Masquerade. Photo: Polyrhythm Photography)
YPCC singers are initiated from the beginning of their involvement into the fabric of their city.
“Disposable income and "free time" are hard to find in our age group, so connecting singers to other arts organizations and their city through actual creation of the art, I have found, is imperative in the success of our type of organization,” said Nelson. “Everyone is trying to tap the ‘YP mystery.’”
From the looks of it, YPCC has done just that. Up next
: catch YPCC’s holiday performance, Fa’s and La’s
on Tuesday, December 15 at Below Zero. The bar opens at 6:30 pm and singing starts at 7:30 pm. Admission is free, with $1 raffle tickets on sale for holiday baskets featuring booze, treats and more. For information on booking YPCC Holiday Carolers, contact Chorus Manager Jenny Spring at firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more information on participating in YPCC, visit ypccsing.org