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2012-01-26

Vienna Boys Choir - tradition & history continue

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A choir of long-standing tradition, the Vienna Boys Choir is one of the oldest boys' choirs not attached to a church or a college.

The choir was originally affiliated with the Austrian court with roots going back to the 13th century, but records from the early phases are tenuous and scarce. In the late 15th century, the choir was part of the court music of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, who moved the court from Innsbruck to Vienna and thus is credited with the foundation of the Chapel Imperial.

Boerne Performing Arts, operating under the auspices of the Hill Country Council for the Arts, will present a special evening concert featuring the Vienna Boys Choir on Thursday, Feb. 9. The choir will perform at the Champion High School Auditorium, beginning at 7:30 pm. Pre-concert activities will include a visual arts gallery and lobby music by select students of Boerne Independent School District.

The Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys Choir) has its own school. Almost 250 children study and rehearse in the Augartenpalais, a baroque palace and former imperial hunting lodge in Vienna. Beginning with kindergarten, boys and girls are provided with a complete musical and general education through the elementary grades. At age 10, the most talented boys are selected to join the choir and enter the choir's grammar school.

All boys are assigned to one of the four touring choirs. Academic lessons are taught in small groups. The school has a band, and offers extracurricular activities ranging from sports, including baseball, basketball, judo, soccer, rollerblading, swimming, fencing, to attending concerts, operas, plays, musicals and movies. The choristers are also encouraged to create their own projects; a number of them write, act and direct short sketches about life at the school.

Among the choir's duties today are the Sunday services in the Imperial Chapel, appearances at official state occasions, concerts in Vienna and abroad as well as appearances in the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper.

Each choir spends about 11 weeks of the academic year on tour; each choirboy performs in 80 concerts per year.

The four choirs that comprise the 100 choristers are named after famous Austrian composers associated with the choir's history - Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. The Vienna Boys Choir continues to perform much of the music of these stellar composers. The choirs are of equal standing; the tours, appearances in Vienna and recording projects are shared among them. Each choir has a choirmaster and two tutors who travel with the boys.

Tickets for this evening of family entertainment are $30, $40 and $50 are may be purchased at the Greater Boerne Area Chamber of Commerce, 121 S. Main Street, or at the Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau located in the historic Kingsbury House, 1407 S. Main.

Telephone orders at 830-331-9079 and online ticketing at www.boerneperformingarts.com
are also available.

Pictured: Photo by Lukas Beck
The Vienna Boys Choir is internationally recognized by their famous blue and white sailor suits, which replaced the imperial military cadet uniforms. Currently, approximately 100 choristers between the ages of 10 and 14 make up four touring choirs. They give around 300 concerts and performances annually in front of almost half a million people.