Voices of Renaissance
The Voices of Renaissance began as a chorus of 150 students and teachers, formed in the fall of 1999 at the request of then Superintendent and CEO of the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, Dr. Roger F. Harris.
Since then, the chorus has grown to become a nationally recognized program and has included thousands of children who have performed all over the country, internationally in China, and 3 performances at the White House.
Since it’s founding, The Voices of Renaissance has also served as a mentoring program, using music and public performance as a foundation for character education. The mission of the chorus is to convey positive messages and inspiration to people of all ages through the performance of vocal music. Under the direction of Ms. Evelyn D. Lee (Director) these talented musicians maintain good grades, attend after-school rehearsals during the school week, and frequently serve as ambassadors for the school and role models for their peers.
Over the years the program has grown and additional activities Voices of Renaissance Chorus members can participate in now include, the Young Kings and First Ladies Mentoring program, the Dr. Roger Harris Oratorical Society, and the Professor Charles J. Ogletree Center for Debate and Discourse, and more.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR GREETS THE VOICES OF RENAISSANCE CHORUS AT WHEELOCK COLLEGE IN 2015.
- The Voices of Renaissance Chorus
- Young Kings & First Ladies Mentoring program
- Dr. Roger Harris Oratorical Society
- Ogletree Center for Debate & Discourse
The Voices of Renaissance, a chorus of 150 students and teachers, was formed in the fall of 1999, at the request of the Superintendent and CEO of the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, Dr. Roger F. Harris. The mission of the chorus is to convey positive messages and inspiration to people of all ages through the performance of vocal music. Under the direction of Ms. Evelyn D. Lee (Director) these talented musicians maintain good grades, attend after-school rehearsals during the school week, and frequently serve as ambassadors for the school and role models for their peers.
In December 1999, the Voices of Renaissance Chorus made its debut performance at a reception held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel for Hillary Clinton. In December of 2011, the Voices of Renaissance was invited to the White House and performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at a private holiday reception. The President and First Lady were so impressed that the choir was invited to perform at the White House in 2012, and then again in 2016.
In the summer of 2013, The Voices of Renaissance performed for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington held at the John F. Kennedy Library with guest speaker Congressman John Lewis, iconic civil rights activist.
Over the years, the choir has performed at/for Boston Symphony Hall, the Wang Center for The Performing Arts, the Schubert Theater, the Massachusetts State House, Fenway Park, Northeastern University, the Boston Public Library Foundation, the YWCA Leadership Conference, the National Grant Makers Association, MFS Investment Management, Boston’s Mayor Inaugural, former Massachusetts Governors Jane Swift and Mitt Romney, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Baltimore, MD, National Conference for Community and Justice, The Microsoft Cooperation, The American Cancer Society, The South African Soweto Gospel Choir, Faneuil Hall, The Timberland Headquarters, the Boston Celtics and the Reebok International Humanitarian Awards Conference.
In addition, the choir commonly travels across the country to perform at schools and other venues, including trips to Baltimore, Maryland, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pa, Bridgeton, NJ, Wilmington, DE, Virginia Beach, VA, New York City, NY and Atlanta, Georgia. They have performed at some of the nations top institutions of higher education, including Harvard University, Morehouse College, Fort Valley State University, and Spelman College.
“The messages in these songs are inspirational and encouraging. The songs are not only for the audience, but also for the Performers.”
Dr. Roger F. Harris, Former Superintendent & CEO of the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School.
“So far, The Voices of Renaissance were the best performers of the season!”
White House Staff
“Today you’re going to hear from fantastic future leaders of America. You will be overwhelmed with what you hear and see.”
Professor Charles Ogletree, Harvard University Law School
“I was going to talk about the problem, but after hearing them, I realize that the solution is right here in the room.”
Ayanna Gregory, daughter of celebrated Comedian and Human Rights Activist, Dick Gregory
“Powerful and timely! Congressman John Lewis, Georgia
VOR Performance videos can be found at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzU3Rt4OPxRrlNOrZbPif4yqlDhWsoo6X
The Young Kings
In a nurturing school environment, our mission is to develop intellect, build character and foster confidence in African-American and Latino boys while developing the social, emotional, educational, and physical needs of those who have few or no positive role models in the communities in which they live. While using thoughtful music and affirmative spoken word as a conduit, we endeavor to empower The Young Kings to be strong, productive and successful global citizens. We further aim to continuously assemble community and business leaders as mentors and role models who are committed to providing the tools necessary to achieve high standards succeed academically and become knowledgeable and productive members of society with the support of their parents, families, schools and communities.
The First Ladies of Renaissance
The First Ladies of Renaissance began in the spring of 2010, in response to the prior establishment of the Young Kings – as the girls in the school voiced their interest in having a group of their own. Like the Young Kings, the First Ladies has focuses on developing leadership skills, cultural awareness, academic success, college expectations, healthy life styles and positive image building, interest in civic engagement, and the bonds of sisterhood. Additionally, the goal is to expose students to new experiences and provide opportunities for them to implement their knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. The First Ladies is now firmly established as a key program at the school and has shown a great impact in the lives of the girls, and the school overall.
The purpose of the Dr. Roger F. Harris Oratorical Society is to provide an opportunity for our students to learn the art and style of public speaking in a safe and nurturing environment where they can gain the maturity, experience and knowledge to speak formally about meaningful topics. Performing speeches from memory, students learn to read and deeply analyze texts that they can then present in a clear, understandable way with confidence in front of a large audience.
For more videos of Oratorical Society speeches click here:
Complex topics that require research, facts and figures and the development of lines of reasoning and argumentation can be very challenging for elementary school students. However, with the help of legendary Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Renaissance parents, oratorical coaches and teachers came together and successfully raised the expectations of elementary school students with the opening of the Charles J. Ogletree Center for Debate and Discourse in 2017.
Students from grades 3-6 developed their critical thinking, writing and public speaking skills by researching, developing lines of reasoning, and presenting their arguments on a topic of their own choosing in front of a live audience and debate judge who ultimately declared the winning team.
“So far, The Voices of Renaissance were the best performers of the season!”White House Staff