Celebrating over two decades of support from the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Braille Institute’s Youth Music Program includes the Johnny Mercer Youth Choir and Summer Music Program.
Braille Institute’s award-winning Johnny Mercer Youth Choir offers free music instruction and performance opportunities to children and teens ages 8-18 from southern California who are blind or visually impaired. The program is designed to promote independence, self-esteem, and comradery through music-based education and performance.
“Our goal is to provide quality music education and performance opportunities for the visually impaired youth, and to cultivate a safe place for students to explore their creativity and self-expression,” says Youth Choir Director, Scarlett Brais.
The choir has performed through Southern California, at venues including The Hollywood Bowl, Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts, Irvine Barclays Theater, Whittier Centre Theatre, South Coast Plaza, The Beverly Hills Hotel, and many more!
“I believe every child should be given the opportunity to perform and express themselves through music and arts, no matter the disability. These students are making a positive impact on their audiences, and it is inspiring to see how brightly they shine in the spotlight,” says Scarlett.
In addition to performance opportunities, the choir program includes lessons and activities in songwriting, studio-recording, music theory and career development.
The choir meets weekly during the fall and spring semesters and offers special programming during the summer months as well.
The Children’s Choir has performed through Southern California, at venues including Knott’s Berry Farm, The Aquarium of the Pacific, The Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts – Samueli Theater, South Coast Plaza, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Irvine Barclays Theater, Whittier Centre Theatre, and many more!
THE JOHNNY MERCER YOUNG MEN’S CHOIR
Braille Institute’s Johnny Mercer Young Men’s Choir in Los Angeles is designed for young men ages 13-28 whose voices have changed and who have graduated out of the children’s choir. This extension of the choir program gives these young men a place to continue their vocal studies and explore the next stage in their vocal development. Participation promotes independence, self-esteem, self-discipline, and vocal techniques they can use throughout their lives.
THE JOHNNY MERCER SUMMER MUSICAL PROGRAM
The Summer Musical Program is a 6-8 week program open to all students enrolled in Braille Institute’s Youth Programs. It is designed to give students the entire theatrical experience from the audition process to props, costuming, lighting, and staging. The students rehearse stage direction, dance, and blocking. The students learn to perform a show, typically a musical revue of Broadway or lighter concert music, which is performed in a professional theater setting at the end of the summer. This program also reaches students who might not normally participate in the choir during the school year and strives to achieve many of the same goals as the children’s choir program.