Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Office - (216) 231-7374 -

© 2020 Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. 

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

 Cleveland Orchestra Youth Honor Choir

March 28 - 29, 2020


We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Cleveland Orchestra Youth Honor Choir!

CLICK HERE to go directly to the online nomination form.

Click on the icon to download a copy of the nomination letter.

CLICK HERE to contact a staff member with questions or concerns.


The 2020 COYC Honor Choir Concert will take place on Sunday, March 29, at 7:30 pm at historic Severance Hall. The performance will be free and open to the public, though tickets will be required.

The 2020 Honor Choir is composed of the top choral students from all over northeast Ohio. To participate, a student must be nominated by their school choir director based on their excellent skills as a developing musician.

Selected students will take part in an all day clinic with guest conductor Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand on

Saturday, March 28, at Beachwood High School, and a dress rehearsal at Severance Hall the afternoon of concert day.

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand

Clinician and Guest Conductor

Jason Max Ferdinand is a Full Professor, Chair of the Music Department, and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University. 

 A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts degree in piano from the Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland.   

As a doctoral student, Dr. Ferdinand was privileged to have studied under the heedful eyes of Dr. Edward MaClary who is a protégé of the late Robert Shaw and also studied and collaborated with Helmuth Rilling, Margaret Hillis and Robert Page. 

During his time at the university, he served as co-director for the University Choir and was an assistant conductor for the Chamber Singers and the Maryland Chorus. In addition, he taught undergraduate conducting classes. In the summer of 2006, Ferdinand was selected to lead the Summer Choral Festival Program at the University of Maryland.  Jim Ross, a former pupil of Kurt Masur and Leonard Bernstein served as his orchestral conducting teacher. The late Dr. Nathan Carter at Morgan State University changed the life of Dr. Ferdinand in a potent way. He served as graduate assistant to Dr. Carter and it was here that a true and clear vision for his life work was formed.

Dr. Ferdinand attained his undergraduate degree in piano performance at Oakwood University.  He studied piano with Dr. Wayne Bucknor. Dr. Lloyd Mallory was his choral director and he was afforded the opportunity to serve as student conductor, student accompanist and had his arrangements performed.

 Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over.  Their repertoire of choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the 21st century has been sought after and performed at venues throughout the USA, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary.  Capping off a successful 2011 – 2012 Concert Series which saw the Aeolians visiting Moscow, Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, they made their inaugural entrance at the 7th World Choir Games held in Cincinnati, USA, resulting in the choir earning gold medals in all three categories of entrance and the overall championship for the Spiritual category.  


In October 2015, Ferdinand made his debut at Carnegie Hall conducting the Aeolians, the Altino Brothers Concert Chorale and the Beyond Boundaries Symphony Orchestra.  Later that month, Ferdinand directed the Aeolians as they accompanied the world acclaimed soprano, Kathleen Battle at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in her, “Underground Railroad: A spiritual Journey” Concert Series.  In January 2016, Ferdinand directed the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as they accompanied the Aeolians in a collaborated annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham, Alabama.  

The summer of 2017 was a highlight in Dr. Ferdinand’s career.  Having attended the Llangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales, UK as a doctoral student with the University of Maryland in 2007, he returned as the director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University and won the coveted “2017 Choir of the World” award along with the event’s first ever “Most Outstanding Director” award.  In 2018 his choir won three gold medals in the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa.  Additionally, they were the overall champions in both the University Choir and Spiritual categories.


Ferdinand maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator and guest conductor for high schools, collegiate, and church choirs throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.  He is a former board member of the Alabama American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

A choral series bearing the name of Jason Max Ferdinand is now in circulation by Walton Music publishers.  He continues to actively compose and to mentor up-and-becoming composers. His greatest passion is watching those who he has mentored as conductors and composers, become conductors and composers in their own right.


In February of 2019, his ensemble, the Aeolians of Oakwood University, presented a performance at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) that was dubbed as, “They broke the ACDA”.  They have also been selected to be the feature choir at the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference which will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Ferdinand loves to teach and was named “Teacher of the Year” for the 2017/18 school year by Oakwood University. Dr. Ferdinand is thankful for his parents, Dr. T. Leslie and Mary Ferdinand who are both retired educators.  His siblings Alva Ferdinand, J.D., Ph.D. and Abdelle Ferdinand, M.D. tribute any academic accomplishments they have attained to their parents.  

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand is married to Meka, who is a registered nurse and they are the parents of Caleb, Ava and baby Jamē.

For more information, visit Dr. Ferdinand's website:


February 19 - Nominations due by 12:00 pm.

February 21 - Results communicated to teachers & students

February 28 - Student registrations & registration fees (or proof of processing) due. Music mailed to participants once registration is complete. 

March 8, 15, & 22 - Participants are invited to work on Honor Choir Repertoire by attending three optional Sunday rehearsals with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus in Beachwood. Participants may opt to receive music at the March 8 rehearsal if they attend. Alternatively, students should work on the repertoire with their school music teacher.

March 28: Required day-long clinic (1:00 to 8:00 pm) with guest conductor, Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand at Beachwood High School. School choir directors are welcome to attend this rehearsal!

March 29: Afternoon dress rehearsal (3:30 to 6:00 pm) and 7:30 pm concert at Severance Hall. Please note that the dress rehearsal will be a closed rehearsal.


All music will be provided by the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Office. Choristers will receive their music in late February and are highly encouraged work on the repertoire by joining the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus for three optional regular Sunday afternoon rehearsals on March 8, 15, & 22.


Dr. Ferdinand has designed an exciting program for this year's honor choir. Repertoire will include the following pieces:

America the Beautiful, arr. Beck

Bound for Canaan Lan’, arr. Gibbs

We Remember Them, Labarr

The Call of Music, Martin

I Sing Because I’m Happy, arr. Paden, adapt., Dilworth

Beautiful Morning, arr. Wykoff

The Concert

The 2019 Honor Choir will perform in historic Severance Hall, home of The Cleveland Orchestra and considered by many to be one of the world's most beautiful concert halls. 


The concert will take place on

Sunday, March 29, at 7:30 pm, and will include performances by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus (Daniel Singer, director) and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Honor Choir, led by guest conductor Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand. 


While tickets are required, this performance is free and open to the public.

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now