PBS Documentary
  • Over Easter weekend the Public Broadcasting Service will air a documentary on a day in the life of a chorister at the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School. For exact airing time, check the PBS website under “Religion & Ethics.” Unfortunately, not all PBS affiliates run the Religion & Ethics series.
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,082
    Here's a preview of the feature.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,082
    And now the whole feature is available on-line.
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  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 118
    This is wonderful and inspiring to see. Thanks for posting. The reporter said that this is the only choir of its kind in the US. That may be so, since it is a real choir school, but there are other good boy choirs in the US. One is the Archdiocesan Boy Choir of Philadelphia. OK, I am biased because my two boys sang with this group. But this choir works hard to be as close to "choir school" quality as possible - rehearsing on Tuesdays and Saturdays. They have been around since 1968 and have sung in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Canada and in NY, Boston and Washington DC. They have 5 CD recordings to date.

    My boys have been "retired" from boy choir for a few years now, but it was a great experience for them and me. My oldest son (now age 19) is now the organist at our church.

    Check out the Archdiocesan Boy Choir of Philadelphia web site at http://archboychoir.hgsinc.com. You can listen to some sample recordings there. You can also help them out by purchasing their CDs. I know you will enjoy hearing them!
  • CGM
    Posts: 627
    I thought that the Cathedral of the Madeleine, in Salt Lake City, UT, where this year's Colloquium will be held, also had a choir school. I thought they were the only *two*.
  • WGS
    Posts: 294
    Yes, both are choir schools. The BACS is for boys only, and the choir school at The Madeleine is for boys and girls.
  • skmedia1
    Posts: 2
    There is also a new documentary on the inspirational -Madeleine Choir School - in Salt Lake City... about to be released to the 'international festivals'- www.thechoirfilm.com
    Here is a link to a trailer for the film ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQJ7I8v1pa4
  • I have to admit that last week’s colloquium concert featuring the boys, girls and adult schola of the Madeleine Choir School left me surprised and somewhat shaken. Having been associated with the male-only environment of the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School for several years, I - and most of my colleagues - harbor prejudices against the mixed gender sound. It was difficult to admit then that there were certain things they do better. Yes it is a different sound, but they reach a high degree of ensemble and precision more consistently. That they were able to give such a concert after the ending of the school year is a miracle in itself. I don’t think BACS could pull that off.

    Congratulations to Gregory Glenn, Melanie Malinka, and the choir school staff for such a notable achievement.
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  • Would that more of our parish schools might try to incorporate the idea of a choir school within the parish school. It will only help to improve the quality of both the parish music ministry and the level of education in the school. Graduates of choir schools, as a rule, go on to achieve scholarships at the finest universities in the country- and at a far higher level than those graduates never trained seriously in music. The math department of my graduate Alma Mater just this spring concluded a new study that reaffirms previous studies at Harvard and Stanford that students who have received a strong classical music education tend, a a group, to appreciably out-perform those students in math and the sciences who have not had a musical education.
  • There are in fact, 3 ecclesiastical boy choir schools in the USA. St. Thomas Episcopal in NYC is a resident school, then the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School and the Choir School for Boys at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. The two later are of course day schools. As noted previously, the choir school at the Madeleine is also a day choir school but for boys AND girls. I wish reporters / news organizations would do thier home work and get their facts straight!

    I am curious about one thing though. From what I can glean about the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School, where are the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders - "the probationer choristers" who feed into the main boychoir? Is the BACS not set up for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders? In my opinion, it is critical to have these training probationers in order to fill in openings in the older main boys choir and keep the choir school thriving and ongoing. Perhaps its just a matter of cost? Have they started an endowment yet for scholarships and tuition and other expenses? The BACS has been in existence for several decades now and I would hope that these are goals they are working towards.

    As a side note, when I sang in a boys choir, there were several cardinals rules like: 1) everyone must open your mouths - no half hearted mumbled singing, 2) stand up straight and hold your music correctly, not at your belly and 3) never "scoop" into notes. Failure to do these things were noted "warmly" by the older boys on the playground later to us young boys and or the offending singing.

    Boy Choirs can be great places for education and character building. We desparately need more of them in this country and strong masculine role models as their music directors.
  • Among the many innovations introduced by John Robinson at the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School is a 4th grade class. The first group of 4th graders will begin in September. The reason for the new grade level is obvious. Among last spring's eighth-grade graduating class only a couple of the boys had unchanged voices and were still singing in the choir.

    As to your question about endowments and scholarships, it goes without saying that these issues have been addressed. The membership of the board of directors includes finance professionals. Nonetheless, the financial operation of such a school is a perilous endeavor and dependent on the generosity of many people, including those with no direct connection to the school or parish.
  • The Madeleine Choir School, now in it's 17th year... seems to have accomplished in a short time what it has taken exclusively 'boy schools' decades to accomplish... it is the 'only' co-ed choir school in North America... and has shattered the myth of 'boys only' it has fed into the main choirs from 4th grade for years and is based on the age old English choir school formula, specifically influence by Westminster. The dynamics are sometimes unbelievable to ones ears especially when they perform on world tours... and... the school embraces 'all those' who are interested in their success. ROME : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEVuwG53Pic
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