The Detroit Youth Choir continues to develop stars of tomorrow in the city

Our Person of the Week doing wonders with DYC
Posted at 10:41 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 22:41:41-05

When you see Hollywood actors or singers on Broadway, you might wonder how do they hone such a talent.

Well some are born, but others are developed by our Person of the Week right in the city of Detroit.

Growing up in the city of Detroit, I always wanted to learn to sing.

Many times if you didn't get it in church you were out of luck. That's why the Detroit Youth Choir was born and one man with an army of volunteers is keeping it alive decades later.

Anthony White loves teaching kids to sing, to dance, to act and to harmonize in unison, but being a choir director was not his dream growing up in the city.

"I didn't have a musical background," he says. "I wanted to play basketball."

It wasn't until he became a student a Marygrove College that his passion for music blossomed.

White says, "Choir music kept me out of trouble as a young man growing up in the city."

He took the helm of the Detroit Youth Choir 16 years ago as the Artistic Director.

White and his team of volunteers work with young people ages 8 to 18 in the basement of Victory Community Church three days a week. They have to audition and be willing to learn discipline that will carry over to the classroom.

White says he believes choir music can change lives because, if you stand for two to three hours singing or dancing, you can pretty much go to any classroom and become successful.

White spotted Alberize Jarreau's gift for singing when he was only 7. He's now 15 and a section leader in the choir who says Mr. White inspires them all to do better.

Sixteen-year-old Ashur Hailey attends Cass Tech High School. When her mom learned she wanted to sing they searched for a choir and DYC is where they landed, but this experience is much more than simply entertaining a crowd.

Ashur Hailey says, "Before I was very shy, and the choir really helped me to open up and feel more confident."

Ashur says Mr. White is more than a director because when you have a problem he listens to you and helps you work through your troubles.

White doesn't get paid and each child pays about $100 for the entire year. They have two big shows, one in June and the Christmas show they're preparing for now. They also have performed for the Detroit Mayor and Governor Rick Snyder.

These kids have also been to Toronto, but White's dream is for them to perform in Africa and Europe. But without funding or grants, donations keep the music from fading.

When White took over the group 16 years ago there were 7 kids taking part, today that number has grown to 50 plus kids.

White says they desperately need a bigger facility because they're outgrowing the space at Victory Community Church, and with a bigger space they could grow by leaps and bounds and with White at the helm there's no doubt.

That's why we choose Anthony White as our Person of the Week.

White is also hoping someone in our community may have a bigger space or building where the DYC can rehearse and grow even bigger.

If you have such a space or would like to help DYC please contact me here at the station at