The mission statement of the Richmond Boys Choir is to build a richerhumanity through personal, academic, and musical excellence.
Our programassists members in developing emotional well-being, particularly in regardto their capacity to define personal goals and values; build mutual respectand a sense of community among themselves; acquire an appreciation for and confidence to engage in the world beyond their neighborhood; and accomplish artistic excellence.
The Richmond Boys Choir (RBC) began in the mid 1980’s as an after school program in the Swansboro community at Swansboro Elementary School, formerly known as Franklin Elementary School which previously housed the Franklin Military Academy.
The RBC is viewed within the community as one of Richmond’s premiere performing arts organizations. Founded in 1996, the RBC began as a collaborative project of Theatre IV and the Boys and Girls Club of Richmond. Leaders of the Boys Choir of Harlem generously shared their experiences with the RBC to develop and model this program. In the fall of 1996, twenty-five (25) boys were selected through a city-wide audition process where they participated twice a week in musical training, tutoring in academic studies and team building and leadership development. In 1997, the RBC became an independent non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, later moving its office from Theatre IV to West Broad Street and now to the glorious Royal Manchester Professional Office Center. In a very short time, the choir has earned the title, “Richmond Ambassadors of Song” as it has served not only the Richmond community, but such places as Baltimore, Fayetteville, Kansas City, New York City, and the District of Columbia.
Together the group has performed for Queen Elizabeth of England, Coretta Scott-King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, “God Father of Soul” James Brown, Al Jarreau, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and James Earl Jones. Members have appeared on the Today Show and various other television programs.
In 2011, Rev. Craig Matthews was selected and hired as the artistic director. Under the direction and leadership of Mr. Matthews the music mission has continued. Through guidance and opportunity additional training is now offered to the group that include audio recording, video editing, and website development. These skills are enhancements that will assist these young men in their future career opportunities.
In the past five (5) years the RBC has performed before the Honorable Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama and Civil Rights Pioneer and United States Congressmen John R. Lewis. They are the winners of the Richmond Magazine, 2015 Best Youth Choir in Richmond.
The members of the RBC were the featured performers at the Grand Illumination performance with American Idol finalist and former RBC alumnus Rayvon Owen.
Representing culturally, economically, and socially diverse communities of young men and ages 7 to 17 from the Metropolitan Richmond area and surrounding counties, the mission of the RBC is to build a richer humanity through personal, academic, and musical excellence.
Meet the Team
Our organization’s program is currently set up with an Artistic Director that
heads our program, an Assistant Artistic Director that assists with running
the program, and a Development Officer that handles all administrative
duties. Other key members involved in our organization are our Board of
Directors, Parent Advisory Committee, and community volunteers. Joseph
Wimbush is our Assistant Artistic Director and is currently standing in as
our Artistic Director and Shalena Vazquez is our Development Officer.
Rev. Dr. Shawn Scott
Rev. Dr. Shawn Scott serves at the Chairperson of the Richmond Boys Choir. The youngest of six brothers and one sister born to Annie and Walter Ross. He was licensed and ordained at Holy Trinity Church of Christ Disciples of Christ in the District of Columbia in 1999 under the direction of Bishop Melvin Scott. In 2004, he joined St. Stephens Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia under the leadership of Rev. Kenneth Shepherd. In 2008, he became licensed by the Baptist Church. His favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Rev. Dr. Scott is the Senior Pastor of Ridgeway Baptist Church in Scottsville, Virginia. He is a preacher that believes through the help of the Holy Spirit he can reach all listeners (children and adults). Rev. Scott has stated, “God gives him power for whatever audience there is to reach and change lives.”
C. Vanessa Christian-Garner.
C. Vanessa Christian Garner serves as the Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the Richmond Boys Choir. She has been selected numerous times to serve in leadership positions that required the overhauling of organizations. Her principle leadership style is one in which customers/clients come first; whereby, she focuses on loyalty, accountability, and communication to strengthen an organization.
In addition, to her many years of involvement in planning and community development, she has extensive experience handling legal and criminal justice issues. Cecelia has spent a number of years working as a social justice advocate on local community and human service initiatives. Ms. Garner currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Offender Aid and Restoration, Heritage Library Foundation, the J. Sargeant Reynolds Legal Assisting Advisory Board, and the Richmond Boys Choir.
handles all administrative and business affairs for the Richmond Boys Choir, to include fund raising, grants, taxes, payroll, and a host of other organizational duties.Ms. Vazquez holds a Master’s of Science degree inSociology and a minor in Child Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Ms. Vazquez has a very diverse educational background to include accounting, bookkeeping, counseling, credit and legal analysis, paralegal and teaching.
Assistant Artistic Director
Assistant Artistic Director for the Richmond Boys Choir.
Mr. Wimbush holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Production
Systems. He is a choir director of Second Baptist Church of Western
Richmond, is a DJ, and produces an internet radio program. This is Mr.
Wimbush’s 6th season with the Richmond Boys Choir and he is an
alumnus of the Richmond Boys Choir.