PENSACOLA CHILDREN'S CHORUS
To inspire and transform the lives of young people through music and the performing arts
Since its formal beginnings in 1990, the Pensacola Children’s Chorus has sought to inspire and transform the lives of young people through music and the performing arts. Under the leadership of founding artistic directors, Susan and Allen Pote, PCC was originally formed under the auspices of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and was called the Pensacola Symphony Children’s Chorus. With growing interest, PCC formally separated from the Symphony in 1994 and incorporated as an independent 501(c)3. Over time, PCC has grown to amass 9 resident ensembles, 5 neighborhood programs, 2 regional choirs, and a regular schedule of summer programming. Mounting nearly 40 performances each season, PCC reaches an annual audience of nearly 25,000 individuals.
PCC’s performance résumé is vast, though its first concert similar to the Broadway-style musical revues it mounts today began in the early 1990s with the first Showtime performance. Held in the parish hall of First Presbyterian Church to a large crowd, it was clear that a move to a bigger venue was in order, and thus performances at PCC’s Saenger Theatre became a staple of the regular concert calendar. Soon after, the first Christmas on the Coast came to life in 1995 and has since been a beloved holiday tradition in Pensacola.
In 1997, operations moved into a permanent facility on the campus of First Presbyterian Church, a place it still calls home today.
In 2015, Susan and Allen Pote announced their plans to retire at the conclusion at of the 2015-2016 season after 26 years of leadership. The Board of Directors launched a national search and identified Alex Gartner, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, to serve as the new Artistic Director.
Under Gartner’s leadership since 2016, PCC has evolved into a multi-program organization. The Resident Choir Program remains the flagship with 6 core ensembles and 3 elective ensembles reaching singers in Grades 1-12. These groups combine for the Mainstage Performance Series which includes Christmas on the Coast, One World, Many Voices, and Showtime. These initiatives are flanked by the Neighborhood Choir Program, a network of ensembles rooted in communities who have historically lacked access to the arts; and Regional Initiatives, which include the Tri-City Children’s Choir (serving northern Escambia County) and the Atmore Area Youth Choir located across the state line in Alabama. Summer months are filled with Sing in the Summer, a multiweek series of camps rooted in foundational music and movement education.
PCC’s three decades of accomplishments and milestones are vast, yet none compare with the greatest of all: the thousands of young lives that have been radically transformed through music. At PCC, music is not simply a means of entertainment, it is a tool that is used to build foundational skills that enable a child to be successful throughout their lives. Responsibility, teamwork, accountability, confidence, and empathy–these are the values that are embedded in every facet of the Pensacola Children’s Chorus. Together, they create a safe, inclusive environment where every child can thrive.