Celebrating the boundary-breaking joy of music!

VOICES WITHOUT BORDERS: International Festival Choir

Dr. William Skoog, Conductor

VOICES WITHOUT BORDERS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL CHOIR is formed for each Children of the World in Harmony Festival. The choir is comprised of singers selected from participating choirs and other singers who apply directly to sing in the Festival Choir.

For each festival, Voices Without Borders (VWB) selects an internationally renowned director to conduct the Festival Choir. The choir is featured in the Festival Gala Concert and at other related concerts during the festival. Previous Festival Choir directors have included Jester Hairston (USA), Evy Lucio ( Puerto Rico), Linda Manuilow (USA), Alfredo Mendoza (Mexico), Pablo Puente (Mexico), Professor Yang Hong Nian (China), Dr. Yip WasHong (Hong Kong), Erkki Pahjola (Finland), Wanna Volvanna (Finland), Hong Nian (China), Dr. Yip Wai Hong (Hong Kong), Erkki Pahjola (Finland), Sanna Volvanna (Finland), Ella Lakschevitz (Brazil), Oscar Escalada (Argentina), and Dr. Julian Ackerley (USA).

The 2019 VWB INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL CHOIR DIRECTOR is Dr. William Skoog, Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He conducts the Rhodes Singers, Chamber Singers, and the Master Singers Chorale.

Dr. Skoog has served as Artistic Director and Conductor for International Choral Festivals including the 2018 Dublin Choral Festival, the 2014 Paris International Choral Festival featuring the European premier of Jennifer Higdon's The Singing Rooms, and festivals in Salzburg (Mozart Festival), Rome (Italy), Lucerne (Switzerland), and the Dvorak Festival in Prague and Vienna. He has conducted the Dom Orchestra in Salzburg, the Tuscan Chamber Orchestra (Florence, Italy), the Santa Maria Orchestra (Switzerland), the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Moravian Symphony Orchestra, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra (Ireland) and the Memphis, Toledo, and Fort Wayne Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the President's Day Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2011.

CRYSTAL CHILDREN'S CHOIR was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994. Since then, it has grown into an organization of twelve hundred members. Choir members rehearse every week with their respective ages and skill levels in four Bay Area cities-Cupertino, Fremont, Foster City, and San Jose. The choir has toured Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, and has performed at numerous prestigious venues including St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Taipei National Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Beijing Concert Hall. Crystal Choir has been invited to perform at several music organizations and has won awards and praises.

Crystal Choir aspire to be cultural ambassadors of children's choral music, especially in the field of Chinese folk songs and newly commissioned works. Through a unique musical and life enhancing education offering to its choristers, Crystal Children's Choir hopes to nurture teamwork, love of music, and excellence in choral singing among younger generations.   

Image may contain: 7 peopleESPUELAS DE PLATA (Silver Spurs) was named grand champions of the Mariachi Nationals at the Jose Hernandez MariachiNationals in Los Angeles. This kind of accolade is not unusual for North Side High School's Mariachi band. They have created an impressive reputation throughout the country and internationally. In 2013, the group also won first place in the high school division in the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque 2013 and 2014, and they have performed at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall. Following the Carnegie Hall performance, the ensemble received a standing ovation from the New York City audience. Mariachi de Plata then took their show to the streets, and pedestrians couldn't help but stop and watch the show. In 2016, theSilver Spurs performed at the 2016 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in Mexico City.

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GLUAIS is a traditional Irish music band from the Republic of Ireland. Based in the historical town of Trim, County Meath, Gluais is from Scoil Mhuire Secondary School. Gluais was founded 5 years ago by musical director & coordinator Mr. Mícheál Kerr.

In 2017, Gluais was selected to represent Ireland and perform two shows in Disneyland Paris on St. Patrick's Day as part of the Disney Irish Celtic Festival. Their performance fused Irish traditional music with classic Disney and pop music favorites. Following the success of their French trip, Gluais was invited by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, to perform a concert in Áras am Uacjtaráin. In 2018, Gluais was honored and excited to represent Ireland for "Our Dance for Europe", a celebration of all European state cultures and traditions.

In 2013, Gluais was selected as one of six schools nationwide to compete in the final of the Waltons Music for Schools Competition in the National Concert Hall in Dublin. In 2014, Gluais was selected to represent Ireland at the world-renowned Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France. In 2015, Gluais released their first album, titled 'Dreamer'. Gluais, along with Trim Tourism Network, is delighted to be in Michigan for 'Children of the World inHarmony Festival' and look forward to meeting and performing with other musicians, singers & dancers over the coming days.

YIP’S CHILDREN’S JUNIOR CHOIR - There are about 1,300 members in Yip’s Children’s Choir program in Hong Kong ranging from 5-1/2 to 17 years of age.  They are organized according to age and musical abilities. The Junior choir presents Classical choral repertoire, Chinese Folk songs & dance, Broadway musical numbers, and children's songs. Yip's Children's Junior Choir ages range from 8-12 years. These Choristers are selected from the Intermediate Choir of the Yip's Children's Choir, which has an enrollment of 1,200 children age 5 to 17 dividing into different choir levels according to age and musical abilities. Since 2014, Yip's Children Junior Choir has been on tour every July and has participated in International Choral Festivals in the U.S.A., Canada, Singapore, Austria, Norway and Italy.  This is the Choir's 2nd time coming to Petoskey. Yip's Children's Senior Choir, age 11-18 years participated in the first Petoskey Festival in 2009.

The WATTANA GIRLS CHORUS from Bangkok Thailand is represented by two girls from the Wattana Wittaya Academy. They will sing in the VWB Festival Choir. The Wattana Girls' Chorus has performed in many different occasions and places: both domestically and internationally. They have performed near and far such as China, Hong Kong, Finland Holland, Hungary, Estonia, Russia, Spain, and the United States – mainly for choral festivals, and cultural exchange concerts and occasionally competitions.

The LITTLE TRAVERSE YOUTH CHOIRS serve as the Festival hosts and will participate in all Festival events including the VWB International Festival Choir.  They have done so since the Touring choir was formed in 2010, one year after the first Children of the World in Harmony Festival was presented in Michigan.  The members of both the Festival and the Treble choirs are looking forward to hosting the participants from around the world and having them become a part of their families during the festival.


THE TREBLE CHOIR was formed in 2012 to provide an opportunity for younger singers ages 7-13 years of age in northern Michigan to sing in a community choir and to provide a training choir for the Youth Choir. The choir has enjoyed performing at the Petoskey Downtown Open House, the Cross village  Tree Lighting at Three Pines Studio, singing with Santa in Downtown Petoskey and Stafford's Perry Hotel, and performing with the Northern Michigan Chorale in their Broadway to Silver Screen production. The choir’s most recent project was hosting Treble With Chocolate fundraiser. They are excited to be hosting other youth singers from around the world in this festival


Messiah photo YCTHE LITTLE TRAVERSE YOUTH CHOIR, since its founding in 2010 has toured throughout Michigan each year. In 2013, after five years of successful performances in Michigan, the Choir embarked on its first international “Stand Together” tour when they spent 10-days singing in severalcities in Ontario and Quebec, Canada as well as in New York State.  In 2018 the Youth Choir toured to Ireland and Scotland where they sang in the Dublin Choral Festival at Historic Christchurch Cathedral and in Trim Ireland. They also toured to Scotland where they sang in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and in the Royal Chapel in Sterling Castle as a part of the American Celebration of Music in Scotland. They will be performing next summer in a festival at Carnegie Hall next summer as a part of their tour to Canada, New York and Michigan.


DANCERS WITHOUT BORDERS will make their first appearance in the Music in Mackinaw summer concert season, dancing with the Little Traverse Youth choir. Following that, the dancers will perform in the 2019 Children of the World in Harmony Festival. This group, underthe direction of Julie Tippery, was formed to add a dance ensemble to Voices Without Border’s expanding programs. VWB is pleased to welcome these young dancers from the Gaylord area to the VWB family.