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It may sound cliché to say that Dave Adams wouldn’t be where he is today without the AYWS, but it couldn’t be more true — the alumnus fell in love with Chicago during the ensemble’s visit there, and now serves as the director of marketing and communications for the Chicago Children’s Choir.

In this role, Dave oversees the strategy and execution of all organizational marketing activities that support choral programs for 4,400 Chicago youth (ages 8-18) each year. Like many other AYWS alums, he believes the ensemble provided him with meaningful experiences that shaped his personal growth and career trajectory.

“The AYWS gave me the discipline and skills to work hard and work well with others, which are invaluable in college and beyond,” says Dave, a graduate of the University of Georgia. “It challenges youth with rigorous repertoire and high performance standards that require discipline and dedication, preparing them for real-world success regardless of their future vocations.”

Dave fondly recalls the AYWS’s Monday night rehearsals — and even the associated commutes — which were a welcome reprieve from the ordinary and provided an opportunity to shed day-to-day concerns and immerse himself in music.
 
“Any opportunity to step outside of your bubble and interact with people you’d otherwise never meet is a good one,” he explains.

“The AYWS challenges young people socially and musically in a safe and nurturing environment, allowing them not just to make music together, but to better understand one another.”

Undoubtedly, his genuine appreciation for the opportunities afforded by the AYWS are linked to his deeply rooted belief that music is fundamentally important.
 
“Music educates the whole human and builds thoughtful and compassionate citizens,” Dave says. “It communicates across all boundaries: language, race, religion, class or otherwise. In a cultural and political climate that is extremely volatile and divided, music is a tool that unites us in our humanity.”