The Raleigh Boychoir, Steeped in Tradition, Looks to the Future
The Raleigh Boychoir, founded in 1968 with assistance from the Woman’s Club of Raleigh, is one of the beloved showcases of local musical talent here in Raleigh. The Boychoir features boys from ages 7 to 15, and has been highlighted repeatedly for its superb choral tone, attention to musical detail, and imaginative programming.
The choir performs a demanding repertoire from the sacred and secular classics, as well as selections from the musical theatre and a rich assortment of familiar American patriotic and folk music. The boys’ singing has inspired commission works in their honor, both by published composers and former choirboys alike.
Robert Unger, Artistic Director, elaborates, “Each chorister is a talented musician. They study, learn and perform music at the highest levels from the Boychoir tradition of Europe and the recent explosion of choral music throughout the world. We are privileged to work with them as they develop their musical skill; to help train them in the art of singing and performing; and foster an atmosphere of excellence and self- discipline as they mature into young gentlemen.”
Auditions are held three times throughout the year, with the next scheduled on April 14, 2011. Prior musical training is not required, and the desire and commitment to learn is key. Boys 7-12 years old can contact the Raleigh Boychoir office at 881-9259 to learn about the audition schedule.
The boys perform at several concerts throughout the year. In addition to the annual Carols of Christmas, Fall Concert and Spring Concert; they also perform at the American Music Festival – which is sponsored annually by a grant from the Fowler Foundation to offer this event free of charge, an opportunity certainly appreciated by music lovers. The boys also perform in the Raleigh area at Winterfest, Raleigh Wide Open, and Christmas Caroling at Cameron Village and the Umstead Hotel.
With an eye to the future, the boys are practicing diligently for some upcoming dates that will put them in the public eye:
- A tour to the Baltimore, Maryland to participate in and perform at the Maryland State Boychoir Festival, May 20-21, 2011. Having participated in this annual event in 2008, The Raleigh Boychoir was again selected to participate with notable boychoirs from around the country. Mr. Unger explains, “We prepare, study together, and perform significant literature with internationally acclaimed conductors and approximately 200 choirboys from throughout the United States.”
- A special invitation to sing for the Baccalaureate Service at the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD this May. “It’s quite an honor to be invited to perform at the Naval Academy’s Baccalaureate,” says Mr. Unger. “I’m very proud of the boys’ efforts to reach a level of excellence worthy of performing at a national event.”
- The annual Spring Concert, June 5, 2011.
- And coming up in June, 2012, an exciting Pre-Olympic Tour to London, England!
One of the strongest aspects of the Boychoir is its thriving alumni association. Alumni choristers have gone on to a variety of successful professional fields, become music directors, composers, opera singers even American Idol finalists. Long after a boy has aged out of the performing choir, he is still in touch not only with the staff, but the other choir members themselves. The loyalty shown in the alumni continues to build, and regardless of where the graduated choir member relocates to build a career and raise a family, he still shows allegiance to the choir that gave him confidence and discipline.
Parents, loyal alumni, and music lovers everywhere will note that the Boychoir has an endowment with the North Carolina Community Foundation (www.nccommunityfoundation.org). “We are building the endowment so it can support scholarships for boys who need financial assistance to be part of this wonderful tradition,” says Mr. Unger. “Money should not be an issue when it comes to a boy’s participation. And this endowment will see to it that, regardless of family income, a boy with the ability, desire and commitment to sing and be part of the Raleigh Boychoir will get that opportunity.”
Contributions to the endowment are tax-deductible and can be made online at the Community Foundation’s website, or the Raleigh Boychoir’s website (www.RaleighBoychoir.org). Be sure to mark the donation as going toward the endowment. Businesses are welcome to support the Boychoir and matching gifts and sponsorship levels are available.
To find out more about the endowment, contact Jeanne Lawson at the NC Community Foundation at 256-6914 or e-mail her at email@example.com.