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The Wilmington Children's Chorus' new fellowship program aims to help diversify music education

WCC2022 Holiday Concert (12-03-2022).jpeg
Wilmington Children's Chorus
Lianna Magerr

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is the only tuition-free community children’s chorus in the nation. It focuses strongly on creating more equity in music education, which is why it launched the Daniel L. Ridout Jr. Teaching Fellowship.

The Chorus' Executive Director Lianna Magerr says teachers of color are twice as likely as white teachers to experience burnout in the traditional public school system - and COVID only exacerbated that disparity.

“We want to invest heavily in our teachers, particularly in our teachers of color because this is about the future of not only public schools across the but this is about our kids in our community,” said Magerr. “They deserve to have teachers who look like them and teachers deserve to have incredible professional development experiences that enrich their lives and equip them to be the best educators that they can be.”

Starting August 1st, the teaching fellowship is a full-time staff position for the 2023-2024 concert season.

The fellowship is accepting applications from all BIPOC music education and choral conducting professionals at the beginning of their career, regardless of age or educational background.

The fellow will teach and conduct the Wilmington Children’s Chorus’ Performing Choirs, and work with its Neighborhood Choirs and Early Learner’s Music Program in local community centers.

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus recognizes that while 40% of students identify as BIPOC, only 13.8% of candidates for music education licensure are individuals of color.

Artistic Director Kimberly Doucette says across WCC’s many programs, they have a very diverse group of singers who come from all walks of life.

“And we work very hard to create a nurturing and inclusive and empowering environment for all of them, and we’re always looking for ways to increase the diversity of our staff to reflect the diversity of our youth and families,” said Doucette. “And it's so important to us to bring that diversity of experience to our artistic staff, and provide role models to our young singers of color.”

Along with their work with the choir programs, the fellow will also undergo mentorship and professional development with WCC staff, and engage in career enrichment experiences with local arts professionals.

And Doucette adds in addition to the learning experiences and growth opportunities for the fellow, a central part of the program is the process of intercultural communication.

“We recognize that the fellow will have different knowledge and skills from those of our current staff. And we really want to uplift those abilities and create an environment where we learn from the fellow. So, we'll be asking the fellow to identify an area of expertise and work with us to develop our own skills in that area. I think that’s a really important part of this fellowship,” Doucette explained. “It’s not only a one-sided experience, we as the Wilmington Children’s Chorus staff also want to learn and grow through this experience.

Another unique aspect of this fellowship is its pay and benefits.

Unlike other teaching fellowships, which often offer part-time wages, this fellowship is salary-based, with wages ranging from $40,000 to $50,000. Benefits - medical, vision, dental, and 401(k) - are also included.

Applications close March 5th, and can be found at

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021