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NCYC History


The National Catholic Youth Choir (NCYC) is sponsored by the Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. NCYC sings in liturgy and in concert and preserves and fosters the "treasury of sacred music" by following the teachings of the Vatican Council II. The choir meets on the beautiful grounds of Saint John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

The choir was co-founded in 2000 by Dr. Axel Theimer and Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB. Axel conducted the choir for 16 years until he stepped down in 2016.  A native of Austria, he has been a member of the CSB/SJU Music Department since coming to the US in 1969 and will continue to be a member of the music faculty and remain active as conductor and clinician throughout the United States and beyond. [email protected]


The National Catholic Youth Choir sings music of various Christian traditions, ranging from medieval Gregorian chant to twenty-first century music, in liturgy and concert. This is NCYC's 16th season.

Up to 40 high school students are selected based on a written application, audition, and references. Applications are accepted through the end of March online at

Summer camp includes rehearsal, religion and music classes, sports and recreation and daily prayer (Mass and Liturgy of the Hours). Choristers receive cantor training as encouragement for music ministry in their home parishes.

The choir has toured in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia. Please contact NCYC if you would like to host the choir in your parish or diocese.