“A splendid, well-conceived and well-executed tribute to the musical language and tradition of Benjamin Britten”


Real men sing!
The Providence Singers Young Men’s Choral Festival

When did men stop singing in barbershops?

Ask almost any chorus director: “What’s your biggest recruitment challenge?” The almost automatic answer: “Finding enough men who sing, especially tenors.”

That should not be. Choral singing is a wonderfully accessible medium for amateur voices. Plug in at any level; a world of discovery and enrichment opens almost immediately.

Every year since the 2008-09 season, the Providence Singers has organized a day-long choral festival for young men. Led by outstanding choral clinicians — a veteran Harvard choral leader, a Grammy Award-winning conductor — the group learns good vocal technique, works its way through well-chosen music, and presents a concert at day’s end. There’s plenty of camaraderie, T-shirts, pizza, and plain old fun along the way. Choral educators from middle schools and high schools are welcome too and can earn continuing education credits.

How it was in 2014

Jamie HillmanEasily the biggest and best yet in a five-year string of excellent festivals, the 2014 Young Men’s Choral Festival drew more than 100 young men: Mentors from two college men’s choruses (Rhode Island College and Gordon College) and more than 80 young voices from area middle schools and high schools. There was zumba instruction this year (exercise and dance choreographed with Latin music), with plenty of singing and vocal instruction, all of it fueled by pizzas the size of wagon wheels. (The pizza budget alone was $645.)

Choral clinician Jamie Hillman brought an extraordinary musical background, expertise, and energy to the day. He currently serves as an assistant professor of music at Gordon College and has lots of experience with young choral groups from schoolkids to college students, including the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, the Boston Children’s Chorus, and school and community choral groups across New England and Ontario.

The concert at day’s end was a marvel of folk tunes, spirituals, a stunning spoken work (Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue) and a kinetic African piece (No Ne Li Domi) that sparked an evening’s comments about chicken legs and gizzards.

The Providence Singers thanks its co-sponsors — Rhode Island College, Bishop Hendricken High School, and Warwick Veterans Memorial High School — and clinician Jamie Hillman, RIC choral leader Teresa Coffman, zumba instructor Jose Rodriguez, and all the student and parent volunteers. We are all building something wonderful.

2014 Young Men’s Choral Festival Concert
Jamie Hillman, conductor
Joshua Del Dotto, accompanist

Rhode Island College Men’s Chorus
Theresa Coffman, conductor

  • I Know I Been Changed   (arr. Roy L. Belfield Jr.)
    Jacob Chippo, tenor
  • Swing Down, Chariot   (arr. André Thomas)

Gordon College Men’s Choir
Jamie Hillman, conductor
Alessio Tranchell, student conductor

  • Festival Sanctus   (John Leavitt)
  • My Lord, What a Morning   (arr. R. Lee Gilliam)
  • Geographical Fugue   (Ernst Toch)

Young Men’s Choral Festival
Jamie Hillman, conductor

  • Cripple Creek   (arr. Ken Berg)
  • Dirait-on   (arr. Morten Lauridsen)
  • No Ne Li Domi   (arr. Jester Hairston)