Having just returned from a triumphant 17-day tour to England where 30 of its top members served as the Choir-In-Residence for a week at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Georgia Boy Choir serves more than 100 boys and young men aged 5 to 18 from all around the metropolitan Atlanta region. With an impressive following of thousands of fans all around the world, the Choir has gained a reputation as an organization which not only teaches its members how to be world-class singers, but also – and perhaps more importantly – to be boys and young men of upstanding character.
“Achieving the level of artistry for which we encourage the boys to strive,” says White, “takes a remarkable amount of focus and self-discipline for an individual of any age, but particularly for a boy who is say, 8 or 10 years old for whom those qualities are often in short supply.” As listed on their website, the Choir’s Mission Statement reads:
"The purpose of the Georgia Boy Choir is to achieve the highest possible standard of musical excellence, while instilling in its members a life-long appreciation of music; an abiding love of Beauty; a keen sense of respect for themselves and others; and the self-discipline necessary to become effective leaders in their families, their communities, and the world."
The parents of the choristers are grateful to see this mission carried out in the lives of their sons. “The Georgia Boy Choir means a lot to my son and our family,” says Gene Spiegel whose son Alexander has been singing in the Choir for five years. “In addition to furthering and enriching his musical education, just as importantly, it has instilled in him the discipline and work it takes to achieve a level of excellence in any field.”
“The Georgia Boy Choir is a family,” agrees Rachel Hutton, mother of 10-year old Sebastjan who is among those who recently toured England. “Mr. White gives our boys the tools to be confident, strong, talented young men. The experiences our son takes from this are incomparable to any.” Referencing the encouraging mantra White tells his singers at the end of each rehearsal, she adds, “There is no better way to learn to "Be The Best Boy You Can Be.”
“The move to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church will allow us to expand our program and serve even more boys,” explains the Choir’s Executive Director, Adisa Nickerson. “We are especially looking for boys aged 5 to 9 to enter into our Apprentice and Training Choirs. What Mr. White is able to accomplish with the boys, even at that young age is nothing short of remarkable.”
White doesn’t necessarily see it as remarkable. “The potential for greatness and incredible artistry is already inside them,” he explains. “We just have to give them the tools to discover it. That ability is then transferrable to other disciplines besides music. It’s ‘cross-training’
You can judge the results for yourself by checking out their videos on YouTube. Here are a couple that might blow you away.
This stunning video shows them singing in Hereford Cathedral in England just last month.
This one shows what they can do with a good old Barry Manilow tune.
Think your youngster doesn’t have the chops? Think again. According to White, “No previous musical training or experience is required. The vast majority of boys who show up get in the Choir. Auditions are intentionally low-pressure. Each boy is asked to sing a song—any song he likes; it can be something as simple as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or even “Happy Birthday,” or maybe something he has learned in school or church. We will then sing some musical phrases and ask him to repeat them, then play a few notes on the piano and ask him to respond. It is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes. Regardless of each boy’s experience and preparedness, this process reveals a great deal about each individual and allows us easily to discern his level of natural ability. Most boys seem to enjoy the experience.”
If you or someone you know is interested in auditioning or learning more, visit the Choir’s website at www.GeorgiaBoyChoir.org or call them at 404.402.4083. And whatever you do, make sure you get to Christmas With the Georgia Boy Choir, which this year will be held on December 19 and 20 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.