A Conversation with a Prospective Chorister
Matt Koller: Hey! I would love for you to be a member of the City of Palms Youth Choir.
Student: I’m really interested, but I’m not sure I have time. I have a lot of homework and a job.
Koller: Well we only rehearse one night per week, on Tuesdays, at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers.
Student: Really? That sounds manageable. What kind of music do you perform?
Koller: The City of Palms Youth Choir performs a wide variety of music ranging from Gregorian chant through modern compositions in the classical, pop, and music theater genres. We sing a cappella music, music accompanied by piano, organ, and sometimes full orchestra. We learn to sing in a primarily classical style.
Student: I really like pop and musical theater. I perform in a lot of shows at school and other community theaters.
Koller: That’s great! Learning to sing in a classical style can greatly improve how you sing in your pop style. There’s no conflict between the two. As a matter of fact, depending on the song, you may even get to learn both styles!
Student: I didn’t know that! I thought you had to be one or the other. I take private voice lessons. How can being in a choir help improve my musicianship?
Koller: Studying voice privately is so important for young singers. In those private lessons you are learning how to strengthen your voice and interpret a wide variety of songs. What you can’t learn in your private lessons is how to be a member of an ensemble. Ensemble singing requires your ability to blend with others, to hear harmonies, and to really learn how to listen and identify what’s going on around you.
Student: Wow, that’s a lot! You’re saying that by joining the City of Palms Youth Choir that I can improve the way I perform in my musicals?
Koller: Absolutely! How many times have you been in a show where you are surrounded by singers with great voices, but the music director still has to make the chorus parts unison because very few can hear the harmonies? It happens far too often. By joining the City of Palms Youth Choir, you will learn how to hear harmonies and how they fit in with all of the other parts. It’s a skill that young singers desperately need.
Student: Wow! I had no idea I could learn that much from singing with others.
Koller: We will also have opportunities for singers to perform solos, duets, and other small ensemble pieces. These can be in any style you want.
Student: That sounds like fun! Where do I sign up?
Koller: Just click the Join Us! button above and fill out the registration form. Someone will be in contact with you shortly!
Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings at New Hope Presbyterian Church. The Children's Choir rehearses from 6:00-7:00 and the Concert Choir rehearses from 7:15-8:30.
Please visit our CALENDAR page for current performance dates.
Our Youth Choirs
The Mastersingers City of Palms Youth Choir is an educational outreach program of the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers. The goal of this program is to enrich the lives of young singers from diverse backgrounds through the study and performance of choral music. Participants will:
- be taught to sing using healthy vocal technique and alignment.
- learn to read and understand music.
- be provided an opportunity to rehearse and perform age-appropriate music of diverse styles, cultures, and languages.
- be inspired to attain the highest level in both music and artistry.
The Mastersingers City of Palms Youth Choir was founded in 2016. During its inaugural season, the choir performed in ten concerts and events across Southwest Florida. In December, they appeared with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra in their annual Deck The Halls concert at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. They also performed the world-premiere of Jason Bahr’s Symphony No. 2 with the Mastersingers and the Mastersingers Festival Orchestra. Their regular concert repertoire included both sacred and secular works which spanned the 9th century through the 21st century. They have also performed in many different venues across Lee County including several churches and Hammond Stadium.
The 2017-2018 season included many performances throughout Southwest Florida. They sang in An Afternoon of Readings and Carols with the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers and appeared twice with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra in their annual Deck The Halls concert in December, and Bernstein at 100 in March. Both of these concerts took place at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.
The CHILDREN'S CHOIR consists of eager singers in grades 3-6. This choir’s focus is on grounding singers in healthy singing technique within a safe and fun learning environment, which engages them in social and community service through the gift of music. Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-7:00 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers.
The CONCERT CHOIR consists of motivated singers in grades 7-12 representing many schools from Southwest Florida. This choir’s focus is on developing healthy singing technique, aural skills, sight-reading skills, and ensemble skills needed to perform challenging repertoire from several time periods and genres. Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings from 7:15-8:30 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers.
Matthew Koller - Artistic Director
Matthew Koller is a twenty year veteran music teacher of the New Jersey and Florida Public school systems. He is the founder and conductor of the City of Palms Youth Choir in Fort Myers, FL.
Matt’s choirs have performed several masterworks, including Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Schubert’s Mass in G, Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. They have appeared in Carnegie Hall in performances of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater and Jubilate Deo. His choirs have performed many world-premieres and have commissioned composers Gerald Custer, Peter Fischer, Blake Henson, and Thomas LaVoy.
Matt maintains a very active private voice studio. His students have appeared in lead roles on Broadway, television, film, national tours, and work in fields such as music education, sacred music, theater, dance, casting, and arts administration.
Aside from classical choral and vocal music, Matt enjoys conducting and playing percussion for school and community musicals. He has guest-conducted performances of Dido and Aeneas for Florida Gulf Coast University Opera and led Gulfshore Opera in a performance featuring internationally acclaimed tenor Anthony Kearns.
Matt is a graduate of Westminster Choir College where he was a member of the Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt. He is a member of The Same Stream Choir in Philadelphia conducted by James Jordan.
Janet Carter - Collaborative Piano
Janet has been the accompanist of the Mastersingers since the group’s inception. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. She has been president of the local chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and served two terms on the board of the Florida Elementary Music Education Association. Janet has accompanied many all-county choirs and was twice the accompanist for the Florida All-State Elementary Choir.