The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 4, 2012

NC Boys Choir coming to Tarboro May 11


TARBORO — The North Carolina Boys Choir, one of the relatively few existing boys choirs in the country, will perform in Clark Hall at Calvary Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free.

The concert is being presented jointly by Calvary Episcopal and Howard Memorial Presbyterian churches.

The choir perpetuates a centuries old art form and its members have a strenuous rehearsal and performance schedule. They are as much at home with the vaulted music of Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Britten, or Bernstein, as they are with a simple ballad or Strauss Polka, and their music is sung in several languages.

The Boys Choir, whose members range in age from 9 to 15, hang performed in the smallest of churches as well as the grandest of cathedrals and on both university and concert stages.

Each member of the concert choir (touring ensemble) was initially selected through several auditions and has gone through the ranks of the Training Choir (beginning choir), which, in itself, is performance-oriented, as well as an accelerated training unit of the boys choir education process. The organization also has a Chamber Choir of tenors and basses, which is comprised of young men and adults, high school age and up.

Its present musical director, William Graham, founded the choir in 1972 as the Durham Boys Choir. Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. designated the choir the official State of North Carolina Boys Choir as a result of the many performances in the state and throughout the country, as well as for the excellence of the choir.

It is the only full time boys choir in the Southeast and one of only two boys choirs in the nation to be named as the state boys choir by a gubernatorial designation.

Past major performances of the choir have included leading parts in Britten's "Noye's Fludde," Bernstein's "Mass," Bach's "Saint Matthew Passion," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Bizet's "Carmen," and Orff's "Carmina Burana." The boychoir has performed with the North Carolina symphony and two university choirs in Britten's "War Requiem." The choir presents two major performances each year at Duke Chapel, and has sung in the Duke Chapel Service of Worship when asked. The choir has appeared on statewide television in a special program Christmas at the Governor's Mansion, and most recently was featured on North Carolina People, hosted by Dr. William Friday.

Concert touring is an important part of the choir's function. Each year, the choir sings, concerts in various parts of North Carolina and surrounding states. In May and June, the choir embarks on a concert tour, which takes the boys into many parts of N.C., the United States, Canada, and most recently, the UK with concerts in different cities on a daily basis.

The North Carolina Boys choir is currently under the full time direction of William Graham. Scott Mann serves as the Associate Director and Organist, Matthew Barnhill accompanies on piano, Marsha Harris is the Staff Assistant, and Kevin Harris is Proctor of the Concert Choir.