As a response to musical programs being cut from Santa Ana Unified School District, KidSingers inner-city, after-school youth chorus, (5 in all, in a 3-afternoons-a-week program), was founded in 1997 by 30-year choral conducting visionary, Paul McNeff. Now beginning our 20th season with an enrollment of 110 children, KidSingers serves at-risk youth in Santa Ana encompassing grades 3-12. This award-winning program has served as a beacon of hope and inspiration, directly impacting more than 1,200 kids to a more hope-filled life. Not only does the program teach kids how to sing and perform, but it helps by increasing their self-esteem, providing a safe haven by keeping kids off the streets, away from gangs, drugs and destructive behavior.
In the words of Founder/Director McNeff, in many ways KidSingers acts as a “musical boot camp,” as it provides highly structured rehearsals and performances with a highly qualified musical staff to provide the valuable instruction. Kids are challenged to become the best they can be by helping the choir peers to be the best they can be.
The programs’ 11-month season spans the months of September through July. KidSingers perform at diverse venues including Disneyland, Angel Stadium and Nixon Library to name a few. KidSingers is comprised of three age-appropriate choruses that rehearse simultaneously every Tuesday afternoon, and KidSingers MasterClasses that rehearse on Monday and Thursday afternoons at First Presbyterian Church Santa Ana.
The tuition for the program is $1,500.00 per child per year. However, because of low family income, 100% of our youth are sponsored through the Adopt-A-KidSinger program. No child who wants to sing is turned away for lack of funds. Program revenue is raised through private donations, foundation and corporate grants and fundraisers. Supporters include: City of Santa Ana, PIMCO Foundation, Festival of Children, Angels Baseball Foundation, Disneyland, Wells Fargo, Register Charities, Orange County Community Foundation, and the L.A. Times to name a few.
A recent UCI KidSingers evaluation found that 87% of KidSingers experience an increase in self-esteem, confidence and language skills. Our yearly in-house impact studies have found that teachers and parents have seen great improvement in their children’s academics, music performance, social skills and family unity. The KidSingers program instills qualities of respect, trustworthiness, fairness, responsibility and good citizenship within every child who participates.
KidSingers also offers college scholarships to worthy students in grades 7 – 12. Recipient students designate scholarship funds to go the college of their choice upon their graduation from High School. Since 2002, the program has awarded more than $125,000 in college scholarships. Long range program expansion will include further music and vocal classes, and tutoring and mentoring classes.