Critical Reviews

May Festival’s Elijah Performance – May 28, 2016

The Cincinnati Children’s Choir treble soloist, Abby Sherrard, sang her lines with sweet precision from the balcony. Without breaking the spell after Elijah’s haunting “It is enough,” the angelic voices of the Children’s Choir (Robyn Lana, director) floated down from highest recesses of the gallery  in “Lift thine eyes to the mountains.” The May Festival Chorus, singing as a choir of angels, answered with unforgettable lightness.

Janelle Gelfand,, 5/29/16

May Festival’s Otello Performance – May 21, 2016

The May Festival Chorus shone particularly in Act I, singing with heft, precision and lively color. From the balcony, the Cincinnati Children’s Choir (Robyn Lana, director) charmed in the chorus “Dove guardi splendono,” depicting women and children offering flowers to Desdemona. Colored by mandolin (Paul Patterson), it was a glowing moment.

Janelle Gelfand,, 5/22/16

CSO’s Carmina Burana Performance – January 15, 2015

In the balcony, the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, directed by Robyn Lana, sang with charm and winning expression in Part III, “The Court of Love.”

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/16/15

May Festival’s Mahler 8 Symphony Performance – May 17, 2014

The well-trained Children’s Chorus added notes of angelic purity. The final chorus, “Alles Vergängliche” (All things transitory), was transcendent, beginning with hushed tones and building to its majestic climax.

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer, 5/18/14

CCM’s Performance of El Niño – March 2, 2014

The work ended with a miracle. The 90 members of the Children’s Choir (prepared by Robyn Lana) came up the aisles singing a charming folk song, and Nelson narrated the story of a palm tree that bent down to provide water for the Holy Family, from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. After so much to absorb, it was that simple melody sung by children against a single guitar that lingered.

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/6/14

Chorus America Children’s/Youth Chorus Conducting Masterclass- January 18-21, 2013

Chorus America invited Fellows, Associates, and Auditors for the Children’s/Youth Chorus Conducting Masterclass, January 18-21, 2013 at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).  Attendees worked with the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and the May Festival Youth Chorus, and focused on repertoire that conductors are likely to encounter from the standard youth chorus canon, including major choral-orchestral works, as well as works representing diverse musical styles. Each selected Conducting Fellow received one hour of podium time working with Rollo Dilworthand Duain Wolfe.
Regarding CCC’s participation in this weekends events Rollo Dilworth & Duain Wolfe  had the following comments:

“All of the choirs in your organization exhibited such a high level of musicianship and professionalism.  Their outstanding vocal artistry did not go unnoticed or unappreciated”

Rollo Dilworth

“The whole weekend was sheer joy.  THANK YOU!!”

Duain Wolfe

Personal letters from Rollo Dilworth & Duain Wolfe, 1/22/13

World Choir Council Performance, Corbett Auditorium, July 9, 2012

“The first thing that strikes the listener in hearing the CCC is the transparency and purity of their sound…Their vocal sheen and ensemble unity were displayed to even greater effect in “The Water is Wide,” where they began in unison, then broke into full-voiced harmony before tapering off to a subdued ending…The precision of the young singers was highlighted in Ayres’ rhythmically charged “Cantate Domino” and in Carillo’s a capella “Ave Maria,” with its complex, close harmonies.  For their finale, Lana led them in a swinging, finger-snapping performance of Ames’ “Holy is the Lord,” which featured outstanding solos by Rachel Tracy and Greg Miller of the choir. ..”

To read the entire article, click here.
Mary Ellyn Hutton,, 7/9/12

Turandot (Concert Version), CCM Philharmonia, Corbett Auditorium,
January 28, 2011

“The pure-toned sound of the Childrenʼs Choir was a joy to hear.”
Janelle Gelfand,, 1/29/11

Carmina Burana, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Music Hall, January 15, 2010

“And from the balcony, the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, prepared by Robyn Lana, projected pure, disciplined voices.”
Janelle Gelfand,, 1/16/10

Rodgers and Hammerstein Spectacular, Riverbend, August, 1, 2009

“The program concluded with a medley from ‘The Sound of Music’, which added the well-trained voices of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir (Robyn Lana, director) in ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘Do-Re-Mi’.”
Janelle Gelfand,, 8/2/09

Carmen, Cincinnati Opera, Music Hall, July 22, 24 & 26, 2009

“ ‘Carmen’ is a big opera, with wonderful crowd scenes full of chorus and ballet. These were eye-filling in Music Hall, from the gleeful Children’s Chorus in act I mimicking the soldiers on guard, to members of the Cincinnati Opera Chorus as soldiers and the girls of the cigarette factory.”
Mary Ellyn Huton, Music in Cincinnati, 7/23/09

“There were fine contributions from the chorus, including a well-drilled group of children…”
Joe Law, Opera News, 7/22/09

Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Music Hall, May 30, 2009

“The Children’s Choir lifted fresh, beautifully prepared voices and their diction was superb.”
Janelle Gelfand,, 5/31/09

On the Transmigration of Souls, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Music Hall, February 22, 2008

“The Cincinnati Children’s Choir recently gave several performances under my direction of my work, ‘On the Transmigration of Souls.’ For these concerts they joined forces with the Mayfest Chorus and the full Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

‘On the Transmigration of Souls’ was written in 2002 for the New York Philharmonic at that organization’s request to commemorate the first anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Since the first performances, conducted by Lorin Maazel, the work has been performed and recorded by numerous orchestra’s and choruses in the U.S. and Europe, often with me conducting. So I feel in the best position to judge the qualities of the various choruses who have sung it.

When I arrived in Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Children’s Chorus was already completely prepared by their superb music director, Robyn Lana.In fact, at least for the first few rehearsals, the CCC were every bit if not more confident and more musically attuned than the adults. One could say that they set the standard for the excellence of the resulting performances. I was impressed and deeply moved by the care and expertise that had gone into the learning and preparation of my very difficult score.

What makes ‘On the Transmigration of Souls’ so difficult is that it asks that the children’s chorus sing complicated syncopated patterns, often interwoven in ‘hockets’ with the adult chorus. Many well-intentioned children’s choruses have simply been unable to cope with these challenges, and I have even been in situations where last minute panic’s have required that adults be brought in to help the children.

But the CCC were absolutely solid in their command of the piece. Their sound was clear and precise and angelic. I could not have asked for a better vocal ensemble to take on that extremely difficult assignment. My admiration for Robyn Lana’s musicianship and her devotion to her young chorus is immeasurable, I am deeply grateful for the chance to work with her and her marvelously talented young singers.”

John Adams
A personal letter from John Adams, February 24, 2008