Men and Boys Choir in Your Parish?
  • (deleted)
  • We have had, at Our Lady of Walsingham for less that a year now, a Treble choir. They are not a choir of boys, but of girls and boys aged approximately 7 or 8 to 13 or 14. They sing very well, sometimes selections in one or two voices just by themselves; and sometimes they sing the treble parts along with the women of our Parish Choir. They learn fast, blend well, practice good diction, and are particularly glorious when singing the treble line in Anglican chant, or the treble line of a motet. They approach this with a great deal of seriousness and maturity. They also really look fine as we have them vested in our blue cassocks and surplices, complete with neck ruffles

    When I was choirmaster at Houston's historic Trinity Lutheran Church, I founded a Boys Choir. It was one of the great treasures in their lives, greater even moreso when they, on special occasions, got to sing the the treble part of a motet, with the men of the choir singing the lower parts. They loved this. It was definitely a prized part of their growing up process.

    It is important to have choirs for different age groups and genders, important because it becomes a very formative, bonding, and maturing aspect of their growth. But! Never! should they be given 'childrens' music, or 'youth music' and so on. These musics add nothing to their intellectual or musical growth... if anything they retard it and turn the unfortunate learners of it into musical cretins. They should all learn the same kind of music which the adult choir sings so that they will develop musically mature minds and character. Further, each of the choirs should sing something together so that they begin to realise that they are not an ad hoc little collection of unrelated singers, but that they are part of a whole. By following this paradigm intently one could even begin to pull off, say, some Monteverdi polychoral work, or a larger serious cantata or such that one group could not do well by it's self.

    The potential is endless, For it to develop well, though, it is essential that the young as well as the old be given music of the same serious quality, only suited to each's level of difficulty. In this way the youth are not mere 'kiddie' or 'teen' choirs, but are a preparatory stage and training ground on the way up to highest niche, which is The Parish Choir.

    If English boys and girls can sing Byrd, Taverner, and Vaughan Williams, there is no rational excuse for American boys and girls not to be taught the same.

    Thanked by 2CHGiffen expeditus1
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Why do you want to know? Are you going to form one, and travel to whichever parish wants to have one?
  • A visiting priest to our parish once told me that the music I had selected for our children's choir was "too grown up" for them, speaking of Ave Maria and Salve Regina. The children sound like angels and enjoy the challenge of "singing like the grownups". I agree that the potential with children is endless and, depending on the way we, as directors, present it, will provide an amazing addition to any mass. In order to accomplish this, I'm calling my children's choir "junior music ministry". And, actually, with all the changes taking place in my parish, it is the junior ministry that has held it all together.
  • My parish is just beginning the very long process of establishing such a choir. There was one until the late 1950s.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,381
    DBP ... Good luck. It's been too long a time, right?