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As a young girl, Abbie Betinis noticed that singing “Caroling, Caroling” during the holidays always brought tears to her grandpa’s eyes. Later she would learn that the famous carol was one of many composed by her great uncle Alfred Burt, who was carrying on a family tradition of carol writing begun by his father, the Rev. Bates Burt. In 2001, Betinis, by then a composer herself, decided to pick up the family carol writing tradition.

A girl. A story. A song.

For the composing team of Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, inspiration usually comes in the form of a story that grabs them and won’t let go. Such was the case with “Beneath the African Sky”—a lullaby for a lost refugee girl that has become a cry for justice and a song of hope for children’s choruses around the world.

Bringing the Diversity of Choral Music to Young Professionals

A shared passion for singing led Ben Olinsky and his friends to create the 18th Street Singers, a Washington DC-based volunteer ensemble. Over the past nine years, the group has changed in size and membership, but the goal has remained the same: to make choral music more accessible to a new generation of audiences. 

Dominick DiOrio is one of the youngest people ever to be hired on the conducting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He leads NOTUS, a 30-member auditioned ensemble that specializes in music of the last 50 years. Chorus America talked to DiOrio about his own compositions and his passion for finding and performing the music of contemporary composers.

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