St. Louis Arts Awards
St. Louis Arts Awards honoree spotlight: Ambassadors of Harmony
26 January, 2020
Each January, the Arts and Education Council presents the St. Louis Arts Awards where we gather to celebrate the individuals and organizations whose contributions to our artistic community make the bi-state region more vibrant. On January 27, at the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards, we’ll celebrate seven honorees, including Excellence in the Arts honoree, the Ambassadors of Harmony.
When the Ambassadors of Harmony were founded in 1963 as the Daniel Boone Chorus, they didn’t have their eye on international championships or acclaim.
“At that time, there were about 25 to 30 singers. They were hobbyists. They didn’t sing badly, but it wasn’t great,” according to Associate Director David Wright. “And I thought, wouldn’t it be good if we could build this into just an excellent ensemble?”
Now, the Ambassadors of Harmony, based in St. Charles, MO is made up of over 130 voices known for powerful and musically masterful performances. Its repertoire includes Broadway classics, barbershop, jazz, pop and a wide selection of holiday favorites. They have performed across the United States as well as for audiences abroad in England, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands. They have been awarded four gold medals at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s international championship. They’ve reach a level of excellence that inspires other groups within the Barbershop Harmony Society to look to them as a model of success.
The group strives for musical excellence while being connected to their community. Each year, they perform their holiday concert to sold out audiences at the Touhill Performing Arts Center - a 1600 seat venue. This concert has become a yearly tradition over the past three decades. In addition to performances, they have built a robust collection of youth and community outreach programs, like the “Everyone in Harmony” that encourages women to perform with the Ambassadors of Harmony.
Young people from St. Louis and across the country come to their summer program, “Acappellooza”, which encourages teens to explore a cappella with some of the field’s most prominent names. They impact the lives of students throughout the year with “Project Harmony”, an afterschool program; the Recruits Chorus, their co-ed ensemble of students; “Acafest”, a one-night music festival for high-school and college students; and scholarships to local high school seniors involved in their school’s vocal programs.
“We want to be relevant to our community. We want to be relevant musically. We want to be relevant to young people and try to help them find a path that’s beautiful, like music is beautiful,” explained Jim Henry, co-director of the Ambassadors of Harmony.
You can see them perform next at the Ambassadors of Harmony Gala on March 7. Learn more about the Ambassadors of Harmony at aoh.org.
Proceeds from the St. Louis Arts Awards help the Arts and Education Council invest in the people and organizations that create diverse performances, exhibitions, workshops, art education programs and so much more for 1.6 million adults and children in our community each year. Tickets for the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards start at $300. Learn more about the event here.