About the boychoir

The Silicon Valley Boychoir is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization for boys (ages 7 and up) which rehearses in midtown Palo Alto. EIN: 45-2913530

Mission statement: To train boys in the choral art with an emphasis on music literacy and the highest artistic standards. Boys will learn life-long skills and go forth into the world as skilled tenors and basses and leaders in their future choirs.

The Silicon Valley Boychoir offers boys an opportunity for excellent vocal training, music literacy, and artistic achievement.

  • Vocal training: boys will learn proper breathing and singing techniques, development of a healthy pure tone and pure vowels. Boys will increase their singing range and gain confidence by performing a variety of styles (classical, contemporary, folk songs, sacred and secular choral standards).
  • Music literacy: Boys will learn how to read music using a specific step-by-step approach incorporating music theory and a modified Kodaly method.
  • Artistic Achievement: With solid vocal training and strong skills as musicians, boys will gain confidence in their artistic achievement, experience the joy of choral singing, and share performances with the community.

Research shows the benefits of choral singing (Chorus America's 2009 Chorus Impact Study) leading children to get significantly better grades than their non-choral peers. Parents in the study also reported that their children displayed better memory, good practice and homework habits, and higher levels of creativity. More surprising, teachers reported a noted difference in chorus singers and their behavior in classrooms verses non-choral students.

And why a boychoir? Boys need a safe environment to sing with other boys. Boys joining mixed choirs tend to drop out as the number of girls increases. Boys' treble voices create a distinctive sound that has been loved throughout the centuries. Also, boys go through a unique voice change that needs to be coached and handled sensitively. And most important, boys who love to sing find other boys who love to sing.


What makes Silicon Valley Boychoir different?

Convenient weekly rehearsals.
Perfect for busy families! Beginner and intermediate boys rehearse before the dinner hour. Easy parking, great location in midtown Palo Alto.
A personalized approach to singing and skill building.
Small classes allow for vocal coaching and individualized instruction in learning to read music and understand music theory. These musical skills apply and translate to other musical contexts and interests (such as musical instruments). The small classes ensure individual attention, and boys do not get lost in a crowded setting. Each boy is taught sight-reading and given skills to create a strong, independent, and confident singer.
Family and community-centered.
Community building is an important feature of SVB. Boys of all levels join together for special rehearsals combined with family potlucks and recreation time. Boys perform in concert with their choir level and join together all voices in pieces at each concert. Life-time friendships are formed among boys who love to sing.
Skilled teachers.
Our dedicated and talented directors have decades of experience working as voice teachers, vocal coaches, and conductors. They have trained singers for local performances and national competitions as well as coached singers to perform with the Bay Area's leading music organizations including: San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, and Peninsula Symphony.
A growing organization in a central location.
SVB is a growing boychoir and is located in midtown Palo Alto, on the free cross-town shuttle route. SVB concerts are held in Palo Alto. SVB also sings as invited guest artists for local events.
Highlights of past seasons
In addition to our regular concerts
2021-2022 Palo Alto Online feature article
In-Person classes resumed with concerts in December and May
West Bay Opera, Tchaikovsky Pique Dame (sung in Russian)
New format - Tutti Tuesdays
High School invitation to New York's Carnegie Hall for Spring of 2023
2020-2021 Virtual semester and voice lessons culminated in a spring video, "Looking Up."
SVB Studio - a new curriculum highlighting solo singing with classes and lessons
A Gift of Song video - an at-home concert showcasing our singers
2019-2020 Tenth Anniversary Celebration
Channing House concert in the fall
Spring semester interrupted by the pandemic
Virtual Talent Show Video performance
2018‑2019 West Bay Opera, Puccini La Boheme (Ragazzi parts)
Stanford Basketball - National Anthem
Festival for Young Voices invitational
Channing House concerts fall and spring
2017‑2018 Stanford Basketball - National Anthem
Channing House concerts fall and spring
2016‑2017 West Bay Opera, Puccini Trifecta
Carmina Burana with Stanford Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra
Opera Cultura, Bless Me Ultima
Channing House concerts fall and spring
2015‑2016 Stanford Basketball - National Anthem
2014‑2015 Tour de Palo Alto, First Congregational Church and First Lutheran Church
Summer 2015, Sang outdoor concert for City of Palo Alto Summer Twilight Series
Channing House concerts fall and spring
Encore choir (changed voices) begins
2013‑2014 Fall 2013, West Bay Opera, Tosca (Ragazzi parts)
First Tour de Palo Alto: First Congregational Church and First Lutheran Church
2012‑2013 Spring 2013, sang St. Matthew Passion with Schola Cantorum at Stanford Memorial Church
2011‑2012 Spring 2012, sang for Lucile Packard Foundation at Allied Arts in Menlo Park
2010‑2011 Founding year


Kaia Richards, Artistic Director, conducting Ovation and Encore choirs, earned her Masters of Music and Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music. She received her B.M. in Music from California State University, East Bay.

Kaia Richards has been a chorister since childhood. She has been with SVB since 2015, and is looking forward to working with Encore and Ovation Choir this year. Aside from her time with SVB, she conducts the choirs at Moreau Catholic High School.

When not conducting, Ms. Richards sings with the San Francisco Choral Artists; and can be heard as a soloist performing around the Bay Area. She teaches a thriving voice studio in the East Bay.

She was most recently seen as Mabel in The Lamplighters' production of Pirates of Penzance and as Angel Gabriel in Josef Haydn's The Creation with Soli Deo Gloria (Alameda, CA). Kaia's IU Opera Theater appearances include Carmelite nun in Francis Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Bridesmaid in William Bolcom's A Wedding. She sang the soprano solo with her alma mater, Cal State East Bay, in their recent concert of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and sang with the San Francisco Bay Area Chamber Choir on their Summer France tour. Kaia played Frasquita in George Bizet's Carmen for the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy.

She has been a voice coach for Moreau Catholic High School (Hayward, CA), Presentation High School (San Jose, CA), Bedford North Lawrence High School (Bedford, IN) and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Hayward, CA).

Under the baton of Raymond Leppard, she was a member of the chamber group Apollo's Voice. When Kaia isn't performing, she teaches a thriving voice studio and directs the choirs at St. James the Apostle Catholic church. Kaia is also the soprano section lead for the Menlo Park Chorus.

Chloe Billings, Overture director, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Choral-Vocal Music Education from Cal State, Long Beach, and began her singing training with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Chloe has been with SVB since 2021. She is also a music teacher with the Castro Valley Unified School District.

julia simon Julia Simon, Founder and Program Director of SVB, teaches musicianship.

Over the past three decades she has taught in Palo Alto schools, directed the Palo Alto Homeschool Choir, First Kids Choir of First Lutheran Church (Palo Alto), the Ragazzi Boys Chorus (touring domestically and abroad), and the high school jazz choir, Top Shelf. She has taught private voice lessons and composes choral works for children and adult choirs. She sings with Soli Deo Gloria and its select chamber choir Camerata Gloria.