As members of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, we all know a thing or two about change. We know that weather conditions can easily change whether or not we were able to hold a concert or march in the daily parade. We know that styles, including AOSFYC uniforms, have changed over the years. But we also know that no matter the changes we see in our lifetime, we always have our cherished memories, friendships, and love of music making!
Recently, a plan to renovate the Expo Center and Ohio State Fair Grounds was announced. This plan, called Expo 2050, is in the early stages of planning but discusses many building and grounds changes and renovations that will create a beautiful atmosphere for the State Fair.
While the details of these plans have not yet been determined by the governor-appointed execution team, we do know that the Choir and Band are definitely included. In other words, the Choir will continue to sing at the Ohio State Fair for years to come!
At this point, we are not even sure when the first phase of renovations will start. It may be in a year, maybe two. We do know, however, that when that first phase does begin it will include the building of a new dorm for the Choir. Rhodes Center will be torn down and replaced with a new home for the Choir and Band.
When I first heard this news, a wave of nostalgia and sadness washed over me. The thought of my “summer home” for several years of my life no longer existing pulled at my heart strings. So, I will be the first to say, it is completely OK to feel that sadness too. However, I do know that the building is in desperate need of repairs (I saw that with my own eyes on cleaning day last summer). In fact, it needs more repairs than are practical. And I know we all want our current choir members to be in a safe place. A new facility would also include ADA accessibility while the current Rhodes Center really doesn’t.
So yes, the demolition and replacement of Rhodes is bittersweet, but necessary if current and future choir members are to have a safe place to lay their heads during the Fair.
As I mentioned earlier, we are not sure, but the construction could start as early as 2024. Let’s take this summer to visit our old stomping grounds! Join us at Alumni Day this year on July 29, to bid farewell to our old “summer home.”
AOSFYCAA Vice President
Oh, friends! It had been too long since we were all able to join together, from many different eras, in what all makes us one: music. 2022 was a beautiful year for the choir, despite many of the challenges faced. Alumni day was even more so, because we were all able to join together as one and sing again. We were able to re-register, or newly register 78 members! This is an absolutely fantastic turnout for our first alumni day in 3 years. This number does not include those who could not register, or who came on a different day. Our auction this year was also very successful, and we even tried a new form of auctioning, which included a silent auction. Our live auction was able to raise $1,910.00 and our silent auction was able to raise $312.00. In total for the choir this year, we were able to raise $2,222.00! We are so excited for alumni day 2023, and we cannot wait to see you there!
As alumni of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, we all share a love of this wonderful group. We remember the music-making, the friendships, and the life lessons that came with being members of the choir. As we “graduate” from the Youth Choir, we work to stay connected however we can. For some that is staying in touch with the friends made during those wonderful summers. Many of us attend Alumni Day at the fair whenever we can as well as promote the choir to youth that could be future members. Others volunteer time or donations that greatly help the choir continue through the years. No matter how we are able, we all continue to love and support this group that is so important to us.
Some alumni, however, have had the opportunity and dedication to go far above and beyond for the Youth Choir. John Sullivan is one of those people. John was a member of the choir in1980. He sang in the Secret Santa Parade, 25th Anniversary European Tour (‘87), Rose Bowl Parade (‘88), and the 1989 European Tour. John Later became a member of the staff and served in that position from 1988 to 2015. He has also been a member of the Alumni Board from 1991 to 2022 and has served in several positions including Treasurer, Vice President, and President.
After 31 years of service, John has just resigned his position on the Alumni Board. We all know how life can throw us curve balls and cause us to take a turn down a new path. One of the many life lessons we gained as members of the Youth Choir was to embrace change.
“The memories I have I will never forget,” says John. “My Life has been changed for good! I love you all and wish you the very best.”
John, we are so happy to support you as you focus on the aspects of your life that need the most attention. We will dearly miss your regular presence and active support, but we know that your devotion and love of the choir will never lessen. And our love and respect for you won’t either. Thank you for all your years of service!
On October 1st, 2022, alumni Brian Ault (00,01,02,03) and Cody Schatz (14) were married in Hudson, Ohio. Brian and Cody met via their involvement with the AOSFYC and had several alumni in attendance. They have participated in each alumni day together since they began dating in 2016.
Call for Submissions
Alumni, we are asking for submissions for the What’s New with You newsletter section. Possible submissions include births, deaths, weddings, or something music related in your life that you wish to share. Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Include your name, years in the choir, what you wish to share, and contact information.
It is hard to believe that the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary at the fair in 2023. The choir was founded in 1963 so youth who loved to sing could come together and share their love of music while performing various concerts each and every day of the fair. During the last 60 years, the choir has also performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Rose Bowl Parade, European Concert Tours, Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies, a birthday party for Governor Rhodes, and a Christmas party at Galbreath Farms.
From the choir’s beginning in 1963 to today, the choir has been truly blessed to have only 3 directors. The founder, Glenville Thomas (1963-1991), Charles R. Snyder (1992-2013), and currently Dr. Jon Peterson (2014 – present). Each director has expertly given the youth of Ohio the unforgettable experience of fellowship and sharing a love of music with fellow choir members as well as all who attend the performances. This was exactly why Governor James Rhodes dubbed the choir Ohio’s Singing Ambassadors of Goodwill.
Even as a pandemic closed the fair in 2020, the choir still performed virtually and then in person for one day on alumni day in 2021. In 2022 the choir was back, although a little smaller than normal, but choir members were closer than ever before. They made the same friendships and sang for their love of music.
Since the choir began, there have been over 10,000 singers to go through the Rhodes Center dorms. Some members have gone on to have successful musical careers as professional singers, stars on Broadway, and, of course, music teachers that now send their choir members to the fair.
So even with changes, growth, and a temporary hiatus, the choir is still “Keeping the Dream Alive” with every new singer that enters the dorms each year. The friendships that are made still last a lifetime. Some still meet their partners for life. And we all continue to pass the love of the choir on to the next generation. I think our founder, Mr. Thomas, would be very proud to know that the “Dream” he created is alive and well today.
As we remember where the choir has come over the last 60 years, we look forward to continuing to build new memories. With that in mind, the Alumni Association would like to hear from you, fellow alumni, about what has happened in your life since the fair or a story from when you were in the choir so that these memories can be told and shared.
(subject to change)
Board Meeting Sun May 17, 2020 – 2:30 PM – Mt Gilead
Cleaning Day & Board Meeting– (Tentative) July 18 – Fair Grounds - All Day
Alumni Day – August 1
*AOSFYCAA Board Meetings are open to all paid members and locations vary. Please RSVP to a board member for meeting location information
Springboarding off of the success of last year we have great news!
The Homecoming choir will have our own, concert this year! The concert is currently scheduled for 6-6:25 at the Voinovich Lawn. It will be immediately followed by the 2020 Alumni Auction, with the 2020 AOSFYC preforming at 7. The Alumni will join the current choir closing out the evening with The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
We still need your help to make this choir as large as possible! Please contact Robb Burris (email@example.com or via Social Media) if you’d like to help in reaching out to fellow Alumni.
We will again be hosting a rehearsal Friday evening in the Columbus area to review our pieces with choir staff. Please visit https://www.aosfyc.org/alumniday.html to register and watch for updates as details become available!
Dr. Peterson and Mr. Gallagher have again asked the Alumni Association to assist the current AOSFYC staff with move in day on July, 23, 2020!
Helpers would need to arrive about 5 PM (Singers start moving in at 5:30PM) and will be assigned a job upon arrival.
Specifically, we’re in need of some folks to help carry in luggage to the dorms, help direct families to the correct area and generally be a welcoming face!
We are also continuing the sponsoring of the hospitality table with snacks and water. IF you’d like to donate to the table please contact Jennifer Morrow at Jennkmorrow@gmail.com