Choir Boys and Boys Choir of Harlem Join Together for First American
Performance in the Great Hall at City College of New York, Thursday,
Thursday, October 17, a historic meeting of two cultures representing
five centuries of glorious music-making, will take place in
the Great Hall of The City College of New York at 8 p.m. when
the Vienna Choir Boys (whose 504-year history is closely intertwined
with such master composers of the ages as Mozart, Haydn, Schubert,
and Bruckner) and the Boys Choir of Harlem (who combine the
tradition of the European boy choir with the African-American
church choir) perform together for the first time in the U.S..
The concert, Songs in the Key of Harmony, will benefit
both choirs and the School of Education at the City College
of New York. Each choir will sing a selection of works
for which they are best known, and then will join together for
a beautiful merging of their European and American cultures
and traditions. Preceding the concert will be a cocktail
reception at 6:30 p.m. for benefit ticket holders.
Concert tickets are $50 and $100. Benefit tickets are
$250. All tickets can be purchased by calling 212/843-1755.
The Vienna Choir Boys and the Boys Choir of Harlem have sung
together just once before: at the 1999 New Year’s Eve
Strauss-Gershwin gala at the Musikverein in Vienna. In
a review ot the DVD released of the gala, Amazon.com wr-ote:
“The American-Austrian partnership [is illustrated] superbly
[when] the Boys Choir of Harlem joins the Vienna Choir Boys
in The Blue Danube. The sense of joy is pervasive and infectious.”
Though separated by five centuries, the Vienna Choir Boys and
the Boys Choir of Harlem have much in common. Both groups
are known worldwide for the pure quality of their voices; both
have a repertoire that ranges from classical to pop music; and
both choirs succeed because of the hard work and discipline
of their members.
The Vienna Choir Boys was established more than half a millennium
ago in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to sing sacred
music for Sunday services in the Imperial Chapel, a tradition
that continues to this day. From its inception, the Imperial
Music Chapel has always attracted Europe’s foremost composers
to write music specifically for the special talents of the Vienna
Choir Boys, and their ever-expanding repertoire includes everything
from sacred and classical music, waltzes and polkas to pop,
jazz and experimental music. The Vienna Choir Boys, comprising
four choirs of 24 members aged 10 to 14, tour widely on six
continents and have visited the United States more than 80 times
since their first tour here in 1932. While touring, the
Vienna Choir Boys have also learned folk songs from many lands,
which are now incorporated into their standard repertoire. All
of Vienna’s schoolchildren aged six to 14 are now benefiting
from the musical training provided to the Vienna Choir Boys
in a special after-school music program recently introduced
by the Choir School.
Following the October 17 benefit, the Vienna Choir Boys, conducted
by choirmaster Robert Rieder, will embark on a tour that will
take them to more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada. They
will return to New York for their annual Carnegie Hall Christmas
concert in December.
The Boys Choir of Harlem, founded in 1968, is a beloved academy
serving over 500 boys and girls. This celebrated artistic
institution has captured the spirit of a vibrant community and
used it to create a potent and powerful vision. The Boys
Choir of Harlem has an artistic repertoire ranging from classical
music to jazz, contemporary songs, gospel, spirituals, and specially
commissioned works by leading African-American composers.
The Boys Choir of Harlem program evolves directly from a vision
of consistent, compassionate, communal strength in raising children.
on the African philosophy of “it takes a whole village
to raise a child,” combined with a commitment to classical
or character education, which instills basic values and stresses
discipline, hard work, cooperation, and goal-oriented behavior
that affect all aspects of children’s lives.
With music as the motivator and catalyst, The Boys Choir of
Harlem engages students in the educational process, opens them
up to learning, and provides the vehicle through which they
are able to transfer the skills they learn through the arts.#
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