Columbus International Children's Choir

Columbus International Children's Choir

CICC's spotlight performance in Carnegie Hall, June 2015 photo by @groupphotos

About CICC

Columbus International Children's Choir, Winner of the 8th World Choir Games, offers premier choral education and singing lessons for children of Columbus, Dublin, Powell and other Central Ohio communities.

CICC recently performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House and in a spotlight performance in the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. CICC was the Winner of the Category of Youth Choirs of Equal Voices at the major world competition 2014 World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. The choir was also awarded silver medal in the Champions Competition Category "Musica Sacra" at the 2014 World Choir Games. Other awards include gold and silver diplomas at 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, 3rd place at the youth choirs division of the major national competition, the American Prize in 2012.

The Columbus International Children's Choir performed in the most prestigious national and international venues including The White House, Carnegie Hall, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican, Ohio Theatre, Ohio State Capitol. CICC was on concert tours to China, Italy, and Canada. The choir performed in concerts with the finest professional musicians and organizations including New England Symphonic Ensemble, New York City Chamber Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, BalletMet, Opera Columbus and Opera Project Columbus.

Our singers performed leading roles in a variety of venues including school musicals and won numerous awards in local and national singing competitions. In September 2016, CICC singers performed in Twisted 2 production by Columbus Symphony, BalletMet, and Opera Columbus in the Ohio Theatre.
Singing in the choir gives children an opportunity to

  • Acquire strong vocal skills
  • Develop ability to read and understand music
  • Learn music of various styles, time periods, and countries
  • Get exposure to foreign languages
  • Develop confidence to perform on stage
  • Meet and perform with outstanding musicians
  • Perform in top national and international venues
  • Develop self-discipline and responsibility
  • Make new friends
  • Visit new places

Each member of the choir receives personal attention from conductors. When necessary, the conductors and a voice teacher work with choir members individually or in small groups. We invite all children, who love music and want to become better singers, to join the Columbus International Children's Choir.

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CICC at the 2014 World Choir Games

Winning performance of "Funny Fugue" in Youth Choirs of Equal Voices category

Watch more CICC performances


Creative Notes Grades PreK-2

The youngest children start singing in the Sunny Smiles Choir and the Creative Notes Choir. These children begin learning the basics of choral singing. The students explore their singing voices and gain confidence singing alone and with others. They learn breathing techniques, proper singing posture, and how to follow a conductor.

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Rainbow of Voices Grades 2-5

The Rainbow of Voices Choir is for advanced beginners. This ensemble is for children who are already comfortable with their singing voices and want to increase their musical knowledge. These children build their music reading skills and develop healthy singing habits. They learn proper breathing techniques, singing posture and tone production and develop basic musical artistry using dynamics and articulation. This group focuses on building a beautiful unison sound and begins developing part-singing skills.

This choir sings in a variety of languages. The Rainbow of Voices Choir performs in at least two concerts per year.

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Swallow Grades 4-8

The Swallow Choir is an intermediate choir. Singers become comfortable using their singing voices and singing in parts. They also learn healthy vocal technique, sight-reading skills, and musicianship skills. The Swallow Choir members have an opportunity to travel and meet with other choirs in a yearly tour.

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Chamber Grades 7-10

The Chamber Choir is an intermediate-advanced level choir. These singers learn to develop vocal strength and sing with a healthy tone quality. This is accomplished by work with a vocal coach one-on-one and in groups. They are also trained in sight reading and solfege.

Rehearsals include the development of listening skills for more accurate intonation, vocal blend and balance. The goal of this level is to increase independence in music reading and sing more difficult repertoire with confidence. The Chamber Choir members have the opportunity to travel with Vocalise on yearly national and international concert tours.

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Vocalise is a new choir, so no picture yet!

Vocalise Grades 8-12

The Vocalise Choir is an advanced, select choir. Only the finest singers are admitted to this group. These singers develop strong vocal skills by work with a vocal coach and by singing advanced repertoire. This group demonstrates outstanding music abilities and responsible behavior. The Vocalise Choir travels on yearly national and international concert tours.

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Tatiana Kats

Tatiana Kats Artistic Director of Columbus International Children's Choir

Tatiana Kats is the founder of Columbus Music and Art Academy, Columbus International Children's Choir, and Central Ohio Singing Competition. She is the Executive Director of the academy and Artistic Director of the choir. Mrs. Kats is also the conductor of the Swallow and Vocalise Choirs.

Mrs. Kats earned a Master of Arts degree in choral conducting and a Master of Music degree in piano pedagogy from The Ohio State University where she studied under Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Mr. James Gallagher. Mrs. Kats was recognized by National Music Certificate Program as "Founding Teacher ... instrumental in establishing a national standard for developing musicians in the United States of America."

Before coming to the United States, she worked as a director of a music school and a conductor of youth and mixed choirs in Moscow, Russia.
Megan Alston

Megan Alston Conductor of the Creative Notes and Rainbow of Voices Choirs

Megan Alston grew up in a music-loving family who regularly and spontaneously gathered around the piano to sing. She graduated from BYU—Idaho in Music Education, emphasis in choral education in 2014. As a student she accompanied university class, group, and private voice lessons semesters for hundreds of students. She has conducting experience in both educational and church capacities such as choir conductor, pianist, music chairman, as well as teaching music appreciation classes.

Mrs. Alston is currently a private instructor of voice and piano for Piano Lessons in Your Home, Inc as well as in her own private studio. Apart from lessons she holds regular music workshops, recitals, and camps for children in Dublin and Lewis center. This is her first year with CICC and she is excited to share her love and joy of music with Creative Notes and Rainbow of Voices.
Cary Criss

Cary Criss Assistant Conductor and Voice Teacher

Cary Criss received a MM in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory of Music and a BA from Rollins College in Music Education. She has served on the voice faculty at Cedarville, Sinclair and Antioch Universities. Her professional credits include acting with the Human Race Theatre Company and Mad River Theatre Works, as well as singing in Michael Bashaw’s Sound Sculpture. During her many Yellow Springs’ Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Ms. Criss performed with cellist Evelyn Elsing, in the Antioch Shakespeare Festival, and in Peter Ekstrom’s own The Gift of the Magi. In her years with Dayton Public Schools, she taught vocal music, choirs, “orffestra”, piano and drama K - 8. Many of her students were accepted into Dayton’s award-winning Stivers School for the Arts.

Ms. Criss teaches private voice and piano lessons in Dublin. She performs with Capriccio Columbus and sings in the choir at New Hope Church. Her daughter, puppy, ballroom dance and gardening bring her much joy. She looks forward to working with the CICC singers.
Miljan Krunic

Miljan Krunic Chamber Choir Conductor and Voice Teacher

Miljan Krunic, a graduate of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, studied classical voice under Univ.Prof. Dr.phil. (University Professor, Magister of Arts, Doctoral in Philosophy) Ulf Bästlein, receiving vocal performance instruction from Stacey Bartsch and Julius Drake. Miljan has been fortunate to take part in numerous master courses taught by world renown artists such as Robert Holl, Rudolf Jansen, Emma Kirkby and many more. His collegiate repertoire includes L’enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel), Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor (Nikolai), Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (Donizetti), King Arthur (Purcell), and Asteroid 62 (Kourliandski).

Miljan has over ten years of professional experience as a choral singer, including performing with the company of Opera House Graz, mixed choir “Unser Klangraum” in Austria, and mixed youth choir “luventus Cantat” in Serbia. He is a trained, classical singer in the Bel Canto technique, which he teaches to his students.
Amy Rucker

Amy Rucker Conductor of the Creative Notes and Rainbow of Voices Choirs

Amy Rucker holds degrees in PIano Performance, Music Education in Choral Conducting from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. At Ohio State, she was accompanist for numerous vocalists and instrumentalists, as well as for the University Chorus, where she also served as Assistant Music Director her senior year. During that time, she started directing youth choirs, handbell choirs, nd instrumental ensembles. Upon completion of her masters at Southern Methodist, she served as adjunct faculty in the university’s piano pedagogy department. Throughout her career, Mrs. Rucker has understood the importance of children’s music education. She established choral programs for two private schools, and founded the Early Childhood Music program at Park Cities Arts Academy in Dallas. She is a National Teacher Trainer for Musikgarten, and currently serves on the Executive Board of ECMMA (Early Childhood Music and Movement Association) as President­Elect. Amy and her husband have performed with choirs in Coventry, England; Bern, Switzerland; and Moscow, Russia. They live in Upper Arlington, with their two children, where she teaches private piano and Musikgarten classes.
Lisa Springer

Lisa Springer Voice Teacher

Lisa D. Springer received her education at Heidelberg University and The Cleveland Institute of Music. As a mezzo-soprano, she has enjoyed solo performances with The Pittsburgh Opera Theater, sharing the stage with Placido Domingo; The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall; The Cleveland Opera Company, Robert Page Singers, The Cleveland Fine Arts Program and The Lancaster Festival Orchestra. She has appeared as a member of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Blossom Music Center Chorus, Cleveland Opera Chorus, Cincinnati Opera Chorus, Cantari Singers of Columbus and The Lancaster Chorale. She currently performs with the St. Joseph Cathedral Choir and Temple Israel Choir. Her choral conducting experiences include the position of Artistic Director of The Columbus Women’s Chorus, Director of the vocal music program at The Wellington School, and past director of vocal music at Lancaster High School. Additionally, she served as co-director of the Lancaster-Fairfield Youth Choir. She also maintains a private voice studio. Her students have performed internationally in Belgium and The Netherlands, and domestically in New York City, Chicago, LA, Detroit, Cincinnati and Washington, DC. She is a member of The American Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, NATS, and Chorus America. She is the proud mother of two adult children and two grandchildren.
Irina Utkina

Irina Utkina Conductor of the Sunny Smiles Choir and Principal Accompanist

Irina Utkina graduated from the Saint Petersburg Music Conservatory in Russia as choral conductor. Before coming to the United States, she worked as a director of adult and children's choirs and as accompanist in Moscow, Russia.

She has been working as conductor and principal accompanist of the Columbus International Children's Choir since 1998. Mrs. Utkina also arranges music for the choir.