Since 1990, the San Diego Children’s Choir has been a leader in choral training for the young voice. As the area's oldest and largest choral music education and performance program, choristers represent more than 145 San Diego County schools.
Through the San Diego Children’s Choir ensemble program, choristers in grades 1-12 progress through five choir levels and learn to sing music drawn from many languages, cultures and periods of history, and to represent styles from medieval to modern, classical, folk and spirituals. The Choir also offers classes to introduce four through six-year-olds to music making, and provides music education at schools lacking programs, with a focus on underserved communities. This season more than 1,500 children, ages four to 18, will come together in weekly rehearsals at locations throughout the county to share in their love of singing.
As a culmination of months of dedication and training in rehearsals, ensemble choristers perform in front of crowds large and small at various events both locally and abroad, singing in more than 25 performances throughout the year. From our bi-annual concerts to singing in the San Diego Symphony’s “Noel Noel” concerts to performing the National Anthem at a Padres game, our choristers are known as San Diego’s Ambassadors of Song.
In addition to local performances, ensemble choristers have the opportunity to travel and perform nationally and internationally before graduating from high school. From performing at Carnegie Hall to participating in the Stirling Bridge International Arts Festival in Scotland, choristers’ worldview and experience with the arts grow exponentially from their time in the San Diego Children’s Choir.
In 2020 the San Diego Children’s will celebrate its 30th anniversary with concerts and events throughout the year. Many of the choristers performing in “Noel Noel” will embark on a tour next summer to Vienna, Austria, to participate in the 2020 World Peace Choral Festival.
Children from all backgrounds join the San Diego Children's Choir because of their love of singing, and end up with life skills and advanced musicianship that create unlimited potential in music and in life.
San Diego Children’s Choir Artist Director Ruthie Millgard is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She has a bachelor's degree in music education from Western Washington University (Dr. Leslie Guelker-Cone) and a master of music in choral conducting from the University of Oregon (Dr. Sharon Paul). Ms. Millgard started out in children's choirs, singing in the Seattle Girls Choir and Boise Opera Children's Chorus. During her undergraduate and graduate training, Ms. Millgard performed with choirs in regional and national American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) conventions and in venues across Europe. Prior to moving to San Diego, she taught in the New York City public schools.
Ms. Millgard moved back to the west coast and joined the San Diego Children's Choir in 2014. Since then, she has conducted district honor's choirs at the middle and elementary school levels, and has acted as clinician at a number of K-12 choral festivals/ invitationals. Through the San Diego Children's Choir, she has initiated ongoing partnerships with Music and Memory, an organization bringing familiar music to those with dementia, and with the Voices of our City Choir, a local choir for those facing housing insecurity. Ms. Millgard was recently appointed board president of the Choral Consortium of San Diego.