Important message from Mia and the PYC Board…

A Note from Mia

Dear Friends, Families, and Singers,

Nineteen years ago, I was blessed with the support of family, friends, and colleagues which enabled me to establish the Pacific Youth Choir. From humble beginnings we quickly grew from 2 choirs to 10 choirs serving 300 young singers, from kindergarten - 12th grade. We gained accolades from musicians and educators far and wide and were invited to perform at seven highly-selective American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) performances! We also built a reputation for quality that resulted in many wonderful collaborations with The Oregon Symphony, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pink Martini, and many live performances on All Classical Radio 89.9.

Through my work with the amazing youth of PYC, I have been honored with several meaningful awards from our musical community: The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance Distinguished Alumni award (2015), The Oregon Symphony Schnitzer Wonder Award (2016), and The Yolanda D. King Award (2017).

Being the founding Artistic Director of Pacific Youth Choir has brought more dreams into reality than I could have ever imagined; however, the time has come for me to step down from the leadership of this great choir program. As I came to this very tough decision, I realized that my life is dramatically different than it was 10 years ago. My husband and I are thrilled to have 7 grandchildren under the age of 8. I love my time with them, and delight in teaching 3 of them weekly piano lessons. We love the time spent with all of our young families, and I feel a pull to spend more time with family, friends, travel, and guest conducting. It is time for me to take that time and allow the choir to discover new directions and leadership.

I am looking forward to my final season with PYC making incredible music and performing with the Oregon Symphony, singing at the American Choral Directors Association NW Conference, Kristalnacht memorial concert with Trinity Choir and Congregation Beth Israel, and in a community ecumenical service honoring Martin Luther, King, Jr. at Portland’s Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church. The season will culminate in my final concert as Artistic Director on May 22, 2022.

While I will be stepping down as Artistic Director, I’m honored to announce that I will establish and direct a PYC Alumni Choir for performances during the holidays and in the spring. I am thrilled to be able to reconnect with our talented alumni and look forward to having our current singers join us in future years.

I am forever blessed by the thousands of young people that I have had the pleasure of directing at PYC! You have a place in my heart, and I hope you keep the great memories of PYC in your lives. My heart is full of the many wonderful, wonderful moments of these 19 years!

With heartfelt thanks,

- Mia

A Note from the PYC Board

Dear Pacific Youth Choir Community,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Pacific Youth Choir (PYC) we want to give a huge thanks to Mia for her vision and leadership that created PYC and helped it flourish for 18 amazing years. We are here to support Mia and do all we can to ensure her last season with PYC is fulfilling for her and the choirs. We will continue to monitor government regulations and industry guidance regarding COVID-19 and work to minimize risk to our students and find a way for us to celebrate and honor Mia.

The Board has realized for some time that Mia wouldn’t be able to direct forever, as much as that was our wish. We support Mia in her decision and want to assure you that Mia, Ruth, the staff, and Board of PYC are committed to continuing changing lives through music as Mia has so powerfully done over the years. There will be more information coming on what the artistic leadership transition will look like, but we remain dedicated to PYC and our singers. The Board has established a transition committee whose primary task is to search for a new Artistic Director. This includes creating the application process, evaluating applicants, conducting auditions, and making recommendations to the Board. The committee will be seeking your input and providing ways you can participate in the process.

Recognizing the importance of finding a new Artistic Director that will continue the legacy Mia has created, support the mission and vision of PYC, while bringing new and exciting energy to the group, we do not want to rush the process. John Baker has graciously agreed to act as an interim director for PYC for at least the 2022-2023 season, giving the committee the time they need to select the right person for the Artistic Director role. Our goal is to have a new Artistic Director in place for the beginning of the 2023-2024 season.

In the coming months we’ll share more detailed information with you about the search process and how you can be involved. For now, we want to say a huge thank you to Mia for her vision, artistry, and leadership. We are excited to have her stay connected with PYC as the conductor for our alumni choir, and wish her all the very best for this next chapter in her life.

- The PYC Board of Directors