About Us: Our History

The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra extended an invitation to school teacher Susan Pote to gather a group of children to sing with the Symphony at its annual holiday program. After the first performance with the Symphony in 1990, audience response was so positive that the Symphony board voted to organize the Pensacola Symphony Children's Chorus. Susan Pote was chosen as director, and her husband, Allen, as accompanist. The new Pensacola Symphony Children's Chorus rehearsed at Pensacola's First United Methodist Church and by the end of its first season was asked to perform in the atrium of the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
The Potes held auditions and accepted 80 members, and a ten-member Parent Advisory Board was formed. The new leadership elected to organize a tour at the end of the year, and to meet the expenses, the first "Showtime" production was born with performances held at First Presbyterian's Noonan Center. Funds were also raised through a spaghetti supper and a silent auction. "Showtime" became an annual spring tradition.
The Parents Advisory Board was reshaped into a formal Board of Directors. Membership in the Pensacola Children's Chorus grew to 98 and a second "Showtime" — titled "Music is Magic" — was held at Pensacola's Saenger Theatre. The year ended with the Pensacola Symphony Children's Chorus gaining official incorporation by the State of Florida.
A second choir was formed in 1993, consisting mainly of fourth and fifth graders. This group served as a preparatory choir to the Concert Choir of sixth, seventh and eighth graders. A select group was chosen from the ranks of the Concert Choir to perform in venues where smaller ensembles were requested. This group was called the Ensemble and members committed to additional rehearsals and performances. The three levels were now known as Concert Choir, Festival Choir, and the Ensemble.
The Chorus separated from the Symphony, establishing the Pensacola Children's Chorus as a not-for-profit corporation with Mr. and Mrs. Pote as founding directors. "Christmas on the Coast," the group's annual holiday production, was born, quickly establishing itself as a must-see local tradition among seasonal celebrations. A decision was made to create still another level of performers, a senior high group called the Young Singers of Pensacola. With the growing number of children and performances, the Pensacola Children's Chorus experienced a new era of financial support from organizations such as the Pensacola News Journal and WEAR-TV ABC 3.
In 1997, in cooperation with First Presbyterian Church and community supporters, the Chorus moved into its first home in a remodeled structure on the church campus -- the Margaret Moore Nickelsen Center. With this major hurdle cleared, the Board was able to address the need for administrative help. A full-time administrative director was hired in 1997, and a part-time bookkeeper was added in 2000. In January 2001, the Pensacola Children's Chorus decided to add another choir -- the Choristers -- for third graders. This new preparatory choir rehearses and performs on a limited basis during the second semester of the school year. A sixth choir -- Echo (composed primarily of high school age performers) was added in 2001 to accommodate the growing number of high school students participating in the Pensacola Children’s Chorus.