Gergana's mission is to provide education to students from preschool to 18 years of age in the Bulgarian language, music and culture through Bulgarian language, literature and history classes, choral and solo singing, acting, publishing of free study materials, as well as other educational modalities.
Bulgarian language, literature and history classes are taught according to Bulgarian Ministry of Education standards adjusted to local specifics.
Gergana works with the Bulgarian State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, the Association of Bulgarian Schools Abroad, the American Foundation for Bulgaria in Boston, other Bulgarian educational and cultural organizations in New York, and liaises with Bulgarian and local media, local “ethnic” and other schools, educational and cultural organizations and programs in New York.
Gergana’s atmosphere is family-like, inclusive and nurturing, with constant individual focus on each child, and with close friendly relations between faculty and parents.
The Children's Chorus was founded in October 2004 by jazz singer-songwriter Gergana Velinova, its director till 2006, and world renowned opera singer Stefka Evstatieva, its vocal coach till 2017. It is the oldest Bulgarian children's chorus outside Bulgaria.
Its first pianist was Daniela Stoyanova-Smith; Krassi Ivanchev joined as chorus director in early 2006, and Victoria Tzotzkova was pianist from 2007 to 2012. From 2012 to 2017, Magdalena Dushkina was pianist. In 2014, Lora Al-Ahmad joined as pianist.
In February 2005, a Bulgarian School initially for the Chorus children, the first Bulgarian school in New York, was headed by Neli Hadjiyska.
In 2006, the organization adopted the name Gergana. Since 2009, it participates in Bulgarian Ministry of Education Bulgarian language and culture programs for Bulgarian schools abroad. In 2010, Gergana was incorporated in the State of New York. In 2012, it was licensed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education to issue official certificates of completed courses of study of Bulgarian language, history and geography, and was granted non-profit status by the US Internal Revenue Service.
Gergana has performed in 111 concerts at New York City venues including the Bulgarian Consulate General, the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Bulgarian Cathedral, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, the United Nations headquarters, the New York Public Library, the United Bank of Switzerland headquarters, Pace University, the Global Fund for Children Gala at Rubin Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, as well in a concert and a music theater performance for the Bulgarian community in Chicago, two music theater performances in Paris, music theater performances at the Haus Wittgenstein Bulgarian Culture Institute in Vienna, and at NATFIZ Theater in Sofia.
Gergana produces its own free study materials such as The Gergana Songbook (Sofia, 2013) with 39 selected Bulgarian songs from its repertory with sheet music and lyrics, also translated into English. The Songbook was published by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad and is being distributed free of charge to Bulgarian schools all over the world.
Gergana teaches over 100 children aged from 3 to 19 in preschool, preparatory groups for 4 and 5-year olds, classes from 1 to 12, in Bulgarian language and literature, history and geography, choir singing, music theater, visual art and yoga, and runs classes for parents in choir singing and yoga.
Since 15 March 2020, online classes are offered in all subjects with the same time schedule as in-person classes.
Bulgarian Children's Chorus and School Gergana, Inc. is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit school. Studies in the US have shown that its corporation type chosen upon recommendation by its lawyers is the best option for an independent school, providing for its continuous manageability, capacity for innovation, longevity, and quality service in children's best interests.
Anthem (Commissioned in 2012)
Lyrics: Angelina Zhekova
Music: Krasimir Miletkov
See: Media/Downloads - Химн "Гергана" - Ноти 1-4