More about us

Youth Sing Praise began in 1982 as a ministry of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. The original idea was to welcome young people from every diocese in the US to learn and perform new liturgical music. The hope was to inspire contemporary liturgical music to be written and sung in liturgical settings. Somewhere along the line, it morphed into the performance of a faith-based musical including the occasional commissioning of entirely new shows. It has been a fluid, changing program which, we believe, affirms that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in our work.

Theatrical youth often find themselves living on the fringes of their peer society. At Youth Sing Praise these gifted young people find Oblate hospitality, affirmation and encouragement. The Youth Sing Praise experience shows them that they are not alone in their faith journey or discernment of a vocation. Since 2011, the YSP Foundation has been responsible for funding and programming, and in 2014 received designation as a 501c3 charity organization. Enrollment is up 60% in 3 years, and the Foundation has raised over $50,000 in donations from friends and supporters in that time.

Our Mission

Youth Sing Praise welcomes youth into a community that nourishes their unique gifts by bridging musical theater and faith as they become a witness for Christ.

Our Vision

Youth Sing Praise will change the lives of participants, families, audience members, and the community by strengthening their faith in Christ.

Core Values

Welcoming and Affirming Community
Nurturing Gifts of Youth
Witnessing Christ
Spiritual Growth and Expression
Professionalism in Ministry and Theatrical Staff

  • Our premier program is Youth Sing Praise, a 9-day overnight performing arts camp and religious retreat for high school teens, culminating in the top-quality performance of a faith-based musical for an audience of thousands.
  • The Foundations also invites middle school students to a one-day workshop, YSP Jr., where they learn performing skills, prayer and community-building–like YSP on a shorter scale.
  • Helpers Team for young adults (often alumni of YSP) is a service leadership experience that incorporates prayer and reflection into the physical work and leadership skills required to make YSP–and any community program–happen with grace and excellence.
  • Over the years, many musicals have been written expressly for, or debuted at YSP. From Stephen Schwartz’s Family Tree (later re-titled Children of Eden) in 1986, to our most recent commission from Orin Johnson and Bradley J. Behrmann, Just Pretend, we benefit from relationships with talented, faith-filled writers and composers.

The YSP Foundation produces two youth programs each summer, Youth Sing Praise and Youth Sing Praise Jr., as well as events to raise program funds, and reunions for YSP alumni.

Our Board of Directors work to support the mission and vision of the YSP Foundation and  through financial support and professional expertise.  The Executive Director and the Program Director(s) work closely with the Board to keep the programs rooted in tradition while keeping an eye to the future.

The Artistic Director is closely involved with the hiring and training of theatrical staff, with the exploration of new commissions, and creating relationships in the theatrical community with our programs.

The Spiritual Director is an Oblate of Mary Immaculate who advises in the hiring and training of ministerial staff and guides the Foundation in maintaining our connection with the Oblates and their charism in our programming.

Our premier program is Youth Sing Praise, a 9-day overnight performing arts camp and religious retreat for high school teens, culminating in the top-quality performance of a faith-based musical for an audience of thousands.

The Foundations also invites middle school students to a one-day workshop, YSP Jr., where they learn performance skills, prayer and community-building–like YSP on a shorter scale.

Helpers Team for young adults (often alumni of YSP) is a service leadership experience that incorporates prayer and reflection into the physical work and leadership skills required to make YSP–and any community program–happen with grace and excellence.

Over the years, many musicals have been written expressly for, or debuted at YSP. From Stephen Schwartz’s Family Tree (later re-titled Children of Eden) in 1986, to our most recent commission from Orin Johnson and Bradley J. Behrmann, Just Pretend, we benefit from relationships with talented, faith-filled writers and composers.

 Please see Previous Productions for more information.