What is NCYC?
The National Catholic Youth Choir is a liturgically-based choir open to Roman
Catholic youth entering 10th-12th grade. Camp
dates generally fall between mid to late June and may include early
July. The program takes place each summer on
wooded grounds of
Saint John's Abbey and
Saint John's University in central Minnesota.
Camp includes a multi-state tour, concert performances, CD recording
and of course fun! What is unique
about the National Catholic Youth Choir is its liturgical focus. The
singers learn about the Catholic liturgy and how the treasury of sacred
music (Gregorian chant, Palestrina, Mozart, Bruckner, Poulenc, Duruflť...)
fits in Catholic worship today. The choir also sings contemporary and
newly-written music, some of it specially commissioned for the NCYC.
The conductor of the choir
is internationally renowned choral clinician Dr. Axel Theimer. Fr. Anthony
Ruff, OSB, a monk of Saint Johnís abbey, is the founding director of the
Where is Collegeville?
Collegeville is in central Minnesota, 75 miles northwest of the Twin Cities
on the Interstate. There are two Catholic colleges within 5 miles
offering coordinated, coeducational programs: Saint Johnís University
for men in Collegeville, and the College of Saint Benedict for women in
St. Joseph. Most of the camp takes place at Saint Johnís, but some of
it is at the Saint Benedict campus. Both
colleges are sponsored by Benedictine religious communities.
Locate Saint John's
What is Saint Johnís
Saint Johnís is a
university, a graduate
School of Theology/Seminary, and home of the
St. Johnís Boys Choir, the
Ecumenical Institute, the
Saint Johnís Bible,
guesthouse, and much more.
Why participate? What
is special about NCYC?
speak very highly of their time at NCYC. They say it is enjoyable, fun,
inspirational, educational, spiritual, and formational. Many past choristers
are still in touch with friends they made at NCYC. Choristers have had their
faith renewed and have become excited to be a believing Catholic. They are
very proud of the great music they make.
What are the main features
of the camp?
schedule includes 6 or more hours of choir
rehearsal each day; religion and music classes; prayer and
worship; recreation and sports; community and friendship; free time. The
last days of the camp are spent on an out-of-state tour.
Who are the staff?
NCYC is a program of the School of Theology ē Seminary of Saint Johnís
University. Staff include the founding director
and chaplain Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, a monk of
Saint Johnís Abbey. The choir conductor is renowned choral clinician Dr.
Axel Theimer. Dorothy Kantor, the office manager works with choristers and
family during the entire pre-camp, camp and post camp process. The staff of
camp leaders may change from year to year and consist of current and past students of Saint Johnís
University and the College of Saint Benedict and current graduate
students of the Saint John's School of Theology.
staff work with minors, all camp staff go through a State of MN Child
Protection Back Ground Check, receive annual training on safe
boundaries, ethical work with minors and review and sign the NCYC staff
code of conduct policy.
Audition and Acceptance
Who is eligible for NCYC?
Any U.S. Catholic
high school student going into grade 10, 11, or 12 in the fall of the school
year following the summer program applied to. (ex. Student applies for
the summer NCYC program of 2012 and will be a 10, 11 or 12 grader the
fall of 2012.) Students must be able to be present for the entire camp in order to be accepted.
The National Catholic Youth Choir admits U.S. students of any race,
color, and national or ethnic origin.
do our choristers come from?
How are choristers
selected for participation?
On the basis of
three things: online application, two references, and vocal audition
student application form and
reference form are both available online. The vocal audition
one major scale up and down on any pitch (loo,
lah, etc.) and singing, without accompaniment, one stanza of a song or hymn such as
Jesus Christ is Risen Today or America the Beautiful. More information
regarding the vocal recording are included in the student application
When are the applications due?
Generally sometime in early
to mid March. Due dates are listed on the application form.
When are the decisions made?
Generally in early April.
How selective is the process?
NCYC strives to select the most highly qualified applicants
and a good vocal blend of sopranos, altos, tenors and baritones. The
final member count varies from year to year depending on
the number of male and female applicants and this sought after vocal blend. Some years it
quite competitive for women if their applications out number the males.
Males are always encouraged to apply!
What does the camp cost?
Fees are listed on the
application form. One fee covers the entire camp and tour including all
meals, lodging and tour travel expenses. The registration fee does not
cover travel to and from home. Choristers may wish to bring a small amount of spending money
but this is optional.
Are there scholarships?
Yes, there are scholarships based entirely on financial need.
Choristers and or their families can request a scholarship application from the
office manager after they have been accepted into the choir. NCYC also
requires that a copy of the first two pages of the current years tax
return be mailed, scanned or faxed along with the completed scholarship
Is there other financial
choristers in the past have received assistance from their Diocese, high
school, home parish
and/or from Catholic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the
Council of Catholic Women, and similar groups. Their home parish or school
or choir may also
be willing to assist with a fund raising activity such as a special breakfast or dinner,
bake sale. Your parish may also be willing to host a special collection
during weekend Masses.
Assistance may also
be available through city, county or state arts boards. Sometimes local
music companies or Chamber of Commerce organizations may have programs
that offer financial assistance opportunities.
students who apply to begin seeking out any and all local financial
assistance opportunities before their application to NCYC is accepted
because if they are accepted there is a limited time frame of
approximately two months before registration fees are due.
What is the daily schedule of
To see the
schedule of a past year, look
Are choristers able
to call home during camp?
choristers bring cell phones. They are especially helpful to those students
who travel by air. During camp choristers are generally allowed to use
their phones during scheduled free time. Public phones are available on campus.
choristers have access to internet or email during camp?
No. Choristers are not allowed to bring laptops to camp.
Can choristers receive
mail at Saint Johnís?
Yes. Mail it to
Dorothy Kantor, NCYC
PO Box 7288
Collegeville, MN 56321
Will I be able to follow the activities of the choir during camp?
Yes. During camp
the NCYC web site is updated each day with a photo journal of the
dayís activities. Also, a video of the choir participating at Sunday Mass in
the Saint John's Abbey Church here on campus is generally available on
the Saint John's University Website the following Monday after 9:00 am.
How is NCYC financed?
fees cover less than half of the total cost of the program. The
remainder is made up by donations from many organizations and individuals.
Parents of accepted choristers are invited to donate as much as they can
beyond the registration fee to cover the actual program costs.
Could we host NCYC in our town?
We hope so. We select tour venues on the basis of local
organizersí readiness, church with good acoustics and piano and pipe
organ quality, possibility of drawing a good crowd, local fundraising
and support and availability of host families. If you
are interested in hosting NCYC, contact Dorothy Kantor at 320-363-3154,
How do I get further
If you still have some unanswered questions contact:
Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, founding director and chaplain: 320-363-3233,
office manager: 320-363-3154,
Axel Theimer, choral conductor: 320-363-3374,