WINSTON-SALEM, NC. — Piedmont Opera and the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus announced today that the Youth Chorus will merge with the Piedmont Opera as of July 1, 2018.

Darren Chiott and Ashley Rusher, Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors for the Youth Chorus, said The Youth Chorus Board could not be more excited about the new opportunities this integration brings to its singers.  “Our organizations have been strategically aligned for many years due to the shared vision, mission and goals of the Piedmont Opera and the Youth Chorus.  Taking this next step toward merger is the natural progression of our ongoing collaboration,” said Mr. Chiott.  Ms. Rusher added, “Each of our organizations is recognized as a premier arts and cultural asset in the Winston Salem community, and we have so much to offer each other.  Our integration will ensure that our common mission continues to enhance the artistic and educational opportunities available in our community.”

This coming together of two of Winston-Salem’s historic and innovative arts institutions offers a rare opportunity,” said James Allbritten, General Director of Piedmont Opera. “Our organizations are excited to lead the way in preserving and celebrating our extraordinary histories while creating a future that will create even more exciting possibilities through shared resources.”

Together, Piedmont Opera and the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus share a 65-year legacy of enriching the community through music –  40 and 25 years respectively. The merging of the two historic organizations brings together two institutions that have shared a common mission for over six decades. This shared mission will now become a common foundation to help both organizations reach an expanded audience while both continue to deliver excellence in their areas of expertise.

The merger will dissolve The Winston-Salem Youth Chorus’s 501-C status on June 30, 2018, bringing the chorus under the umbrella of Piedmont Opera and conferring onto the opera’s tax-exempt charitable status. The Youth Chorus programming, staff, and daily operations will remain unchanged but will be relocated to the Opera House on 636 Holly Avenue.

About Piedmont OperaPiedmont Opera raised the curtain on its first production, Verdi’s Rigoletto, in September 1978. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, this production and the four subsequent years were produced in conjunction with other regional opera companies. In 1983, Piedmont Opera Theatre was able to produce Puccini’s La Boheme on its own. Founded by the late Norman Johnson (1928-1996), Piedmont Opera is now in its 40th year of continuous operation. The company strives to remain a nationally recognized and acclaimed regional opera company and a leader in the classical arts community.

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About The Winston-Salem Youth Chorus

Founded in 1993 by Artistic Director, Barbara C. Beattie, the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of children and youth through music education and performance experiences for 25 years. The WSYC began as the Stevens Center Children’s Chorus, with children age eight to 13 making up the membership. The WSYC has over 100 members in four ensembles, ranging in age from eight to 18 and representing more than 40 schools in Forsyth and surrounding counties. Open to any child who passes a standard audition, WSYC singers learn proper vocal technique, music theory, performance and sight-singing skills, music culture, and songs in other languages. The WSYC brings together children from a variety of backgrounds to learn teamwork and tolerance while building lasting friendships based on the universal language of music.