RANDOLPH, NJ- The American Boychoir, long recognized as one of the finest musical ensembles in the country, gave Ironia and Fernbrook students quite a show on Friday Jan. 17. The performers came up from Princeton NJ, where they attend The American Boychoir School, an exclusive boarding school for musically talented boys from all over the country.
The school consists of boys in grades four through eight, who come together from around the country to train and sing with a trademark blend of musical sophistication and spirited presentation. The Boychoir performs regularly with world class ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony, and have also been invited to perform with Paul McCartney, Beyonce, and Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.
All four Randolph elementary school PTO’s have a Cultural Arts Committee which coordinates two to three assemblies per year. They invite a variety of artists (music, dance, theatre) to the schools to perform for the children and staff, promoting enrichment and exposure to the Arts. This year they brought the Boychoir to two of the schools..
A wide variety of pieces were performed, including Patriotic, African Tribal, and Gospel songs. They also sang a song that mimicked a thunderstorm in a rainforest full of wild, screeching animals which left the children in the audience entranced. At the end, kids asked excellent questions such as, "Do you ever get homesick?" and "How do you decide who sings which part?"
The Choir met with a fourth grade music class after their performance, and then enjoyed lunch with Ironia third graders. According to Ironia Cultural Arts Co-Chair Donna Nathan “The boys are so disciplined and polite. I have to tell you how delighted I was when I casually sat down with at a table of choir boys for lunch and they instantly stopped talking and rose from their benches until I was seated.”
After performing at school concerts such as this one, Boychoir director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz encourages boys who are interested in singing to audition. According to Malvar-Ruiz, quite a few boys in the choir were inspired to audition after witnessing school concerts.
The mission of The American Boychoir School is “To combine the training program for mastery of choral music with a superior academic program in order to create a profoundly integrative educational experience which emphasizes creativity and such traditional values as self-discipline, self-reliance, hard work, teamwork and dedication to long-term goals.” Boys who commit to the choir also attend school and live on the campus in Princeton as well.
According to Ruiz, there is a fictional movie coming out called “The Boychoir”, staring Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates. The American Boychoir will be singing the whole soundtrack.
The choir is touring in France this spring. More information can be found on the The American Boychoir website: http://www.americanboychoir.org.