Youth Choir Celebrates 60 Years
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.
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