Detroit Opera Announces New Name and Season for its Children’s Chorus

The Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus, led by Chorus Director Suzanne Mallare Acton, is changing its name to Detroit Opera Youth Chorus.

Auditions for its 2022-23 season will be held Saturday, June 4 and Monday, June 6 at the Detroit Opera House. Students ages 8 to 16 are encouraged to participate. Registration is underway for Detroit Opera’s annual Summer Programs held July 5th through August 5th at the Detroit Opera House for area youth ages 8 to 18.

Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus is changing its name: the ensemble will be known as Detroit Opera Youth Chorus. This new name follows the company’s name change announced in March, and reinforces the company’s transformative vision that emphasizes community, accessibility, artistic risk-taking, and collaboration.

The Detroit Opera Youth Chorus (DOYC) is a permanent ensemble providing exceptional choral music and theatrical performance instruction in a professional environment to youth in metro Detroit. DOYC instruction helps foster students’ creativity, personal expression, and social growth. Its curriculum embraces diverse traditions and an extensive range of musical genres. DOYC has two choruses: the Preparatory Chorus, which introduces young singers ages 8-11 to choral performance, is directed by Jane Panikkar; the Principal Chorus, designed for students ages 10-16 who are ready to perform advanced repertoire, is directed by Assistant Director Dianna Hochella.

Detroit Opera President and CEO Wayne S. Brown said: “We are a Detroit-based company, operating in a city that is internationally recognized for its focus on the arts. As we embark on our second half-century, we will continue the legacy of Detroit Opera (Michigan Opera Theatre) founder Dr. David DiChiera and remain acutely focused on
nurturing emerging talented voices.”

“As we partner with major opera companies across the country, we’re putting Detroit Opera on a national stage,” stated Detroit Opera Board Chairman Ethan Davidson. “Via the Detroit Opera Youth Chorus, we are showcasing the next generation of opera and musical theatre talent and helping export the uniquely creative talent that Detroit has
become known for throughout the world.”

Detroit Opera Assistant Music Director & Chorus Master Suzanne Mallare Acton remarked: Now more than ever, focusing on our youth is even more important. Now is the time to adapt and align ourselves even more with our community. We will continue to offer our Youth Chorus students great learning experiences that represent their varied
economic, cultural, and social backgrounds and prepare them for fantastic futures.”

In-person auditions for the Detroit Opera Youth Chorus’ 2022-23 season are scheduled on Saturday June 4 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Monday June 6 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Detroit Opera House. Auditions are open to singers in metro Detroit between the ages of 8 and 16. Students will not need to remain for the duration of the auditions. An exact audition timeslot will be assigned once the student is registered.

Now in its 16th year, the Detroit Opera Youth Chorus is a world class training program for young vocalists, helping build a solid foundation in musical literacy and theory as well as artistic expression. Past performances have included Cary John Franklin’s The Very Last Green Thing, Malcolm Williamson’s The Happy Prince, Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore and Hans Krása’s Brundibár. The ensemble has sung in The Nutcracker ballet and in main stage productions for Carmen, Tosca, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, and Carmina Burana.

DOYC has appeared with Andre Rieu at the Fox Theatre, performed at Detroit Tigers’ games, during numerous holiday presentations and Random Acts of Culture throughout metro Detroit. The ensemble has made broadcast appearances in the America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on PBS, FOX 2 Detroit and WJR Radio. Many DOYC alumni have continued their studies at prestigious conservatories and universities majoring in vocal performance or musical theater.
The Detroit Opera Youth Chorus’ 2022-23 season will run October through April with rehearsals primarily on Monday evenings at the Detroit Opera House. DOYC presents A Winter Fantasy, its annual December showcase concert, and produces its own fully staged opera every spring. On April 23, 2023, the ensemble will perform Seymour Barab’s The
Maker of Illusions.

“We are thrilled to revisit Maker of Illusions next Spring and we welcome all area youth to participate in this marvelous opera,” said Dianna Hochella, DOYC Assistant Director and Conductor. “In this piece, a wicked Queen imprisoned for transgressions against her people demands the Genie and Goblins sacrifice a young Boy for his ‘Life Force’ to restore
her beauty. Their attempts to use illusions to lure the Boy from his home and thwart his sister’s rescue efforts are overcome by the sister’s determination, and the Queen learns the true meaning of ‘Life Force’.”

For the 2022-23 season, Preparatory Chorus tuition is $700 and Principal Chorus tuition is $800. Full and partial tuition scholarships are available based on financial need. For more information and to register, visit or email Twannette Nash at

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