The Marin Girls Chorus was founded by Martha Wall, in 1988, in response to a parent's request that Marin County offer something akin to the San Francisco Girls Chorus. In 1992, a Boys' Chorus was added, as well as a Junior Chorus for the youngest singers, and the name was changed to the Marin Girls and Boys Choruses. The Boys' Chorus proved difficult to support as a separate entity; so, in the fall of 1997, the name was changed once again, this time to the Marin Children's Chorus. In the fall of 2008, the chorus returned to its roots as the Marin Girls Chorus, as a treble-voice chorus that encompasses well over 100 finely trained singers in five levels.
Since its inception, the chorus has been invited to perform in many venues and has achieved acclaim for its varied repertory and outstanding performances. Past engagements include performing with the Marin Music Conservatory (1990 and 1991), the Marin Opera (Hansel & Gretel, 1992), the Marin Youth Orchestra (1993, 1994), and the Winifred Baker Chorale (Anne Frank, 1995, Carmina Burana, 1996), Golden Gate Opera (Hansel & Gretel, 2000, 2001, 2002).
The Concert Choir—now called Bel Canto and composed of singers aged 10 to 14—performed at the 1993 Golden Gate International Children's Choir Festival and won a Silver Medal. They have sung as part of the soundtrack for two documentary films; recorded at Lucas Soundstage as back up musicians and greeted dignitaries with song. In 2009, the Marin Girls Chorus was proud to be part of the Grand Opening Ceremony for Homeward Bound’s “Next Key Center” in Novato, and thrilled that we were cast in an NBC pilot television series, “Parenthood.” When members of San Francisco Opera and Orchestra came to Marin to perform “The Classics, Broadway, and Favorite Songs of the Past,” the program included a special performance by the Marin Girls Chorus.
Participation in choral festivals, travel and tours are important aspects of our program. The top level chorus has traveled to Vienna (2000) and Canada (2002) to participate in international choral festivals. The group has sung on a shipboard cruise (1997), three times at Disneyland (1996, 2006 and 2011), and for audiences in various California cities as well as New York City (2005) and Eugene, OR (2013). On the 1996 trip to L.A., the choir participated in The Children's Celebration Choral Festival, performing at Disneyland and Crystal Cathedral with more than three hundred other singers from the United States. In July 2008 we were participants in the “Pacific Rim Choral Festival” in Hawaii. Eight days of choral workshops, cultural events and sightseeing tours culminated in a magnificent concert with 300 singers from around the country at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, where they performed authentic ethnic choral literature from Pacific Rim countries. In July 2013 the group attended the Pacific International Children's Choral Festival on the University of Oregon campus singing with and for other choirs under the direction of guest conductor Henry Leck.
MGC was honored to receive fellow travelers when it hosted Česká Lípa Children's Choir from the Czech Republic, in the fall of 2004. They have joined voices in concert with the traveling American Boychoir (2004) and the Pacific Boychoir Academy (2005).
Just about every year, Bel Canto attends children's choral festivals in the greater Bay Area—Berkeley, Orinda, San Francisco, and Marysville. For the past four years, MGC has participated in the Napa Valley Choral Classic Festival in Napa, CA, receiving high honors (“Unanimous Superior” in 2010!)
In July 2012, MGC again participated in the Golden Gate International Choral Festival in Berkeley, CA, and earned two Bronze medals and one Silver medal in the competitions. The week marked a highlight of our choral experiences, as we sang with and for 18 choirs from all over the world, including Denmark, Germany, Australia, Indonesia, China, Democratic Republic of Georgia, Canada, Honduras, and Lithuania! We hosted a choir from Canada, making friends and forging bonds we hope will never break.
Performances for varied audiences within our county remains a top priority. Marin Girls Chorus has performed for the Marin Human Race, the Italian Street Painting Festival, Marin County Fair, Marin Symphony Candlelight concerts, Celebrate Arts in Education, West Marin's Las Posadas, for private weddings, Rotary Clubs, for numerous civic and community events, and just about every retirement home in Marin County.