Girls Choral Academy
About Girls Choral Academy
Formed in 1997, the Girls Choral Academy (GCA) provides a safe, loving, nurturing, and challenging environment for girls (ages 6–18). Our Mission is to “Give Girls a Voice.” Our mission extends beyond gaining a singing voice. We seek to improve self-confidence in girls by acting as a positive counterforce to the superficial messages girls receive from today’s society.
Through weekly formal choral training, girls learn the basics of good choral performance (i.e. breathing, diction, posture, and blending) while also learning discipline, perseverance, self-esteem, commitment, and cooperation as they blend into a harmonious unit. These are life skills that provide a strong foundation as girls mature into adulthood. The singers that participate in the GCA come from all over West Michigan and from a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Our choirs are under the direction of Executive and Artistic Director, Lori Tennenhouse, with Assistant Director, Elizabeth Hamm and two Accompanists, Debra Brower and Amanda Thorstein.
The GCA offers two overarching programs that target different segments of the West Michigan population: the Grandville Avenue Girls Choir and the Campus Choir. Students in these choirs attend weekly rehearsals to prepare for two major concerts in addition to smaller community performances throughout the year.
Grandville Avenue Girls Choir
Formed in 1999, the Grandville Avenue Girls Choir is a free after-school program designed for girls in third through fifth grade at Southwest Community Campus School, Cesar Chavez Elementary, or Buchanan Elementary (all within the Grand Rapids Public School system). The Grandville Avenue Girls Choir provides inner city girls with vocal instruction in a positive atmosphere. Because of the ethnic mix in the Grandville Avenue corridor, many of the girls participating in the Choir are Hispanic.
Campus Choirs are available for first through twelfth grade students, and draw from various school systems around the city. The Campus Choirs are audition- and tuition- based and include opportunities for small group work and private tutoring to attain the highest standards. Over a third of these girls rely on scholarships in order to participate. GCA is proud of its philosophy that it never has and never will turn away a singer because she could not afford tuition.