Not many young boys jump at the opportunity to attend choir practice twice each week and to sing in multiple concerts per week. But the members of the Georgia Boy Choir do just that every week — and enjoy it.
The all-boy choir, ranging from age 5 to high school, will perform the University’s first artist series program of the semester at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27.
Divided into five different levels of age and talent, the choir consists of more than 90 boys from the Atlanta region. In Thursday’s program, the choir will perform two different styles of songs: sacred music and international folk songs. Folk song origins will range from Serbian Gypsy songs to traditional Korean folk songs.
David White, artistic director and conductor of the Georgia Boy Choir, founded the choir in 2009. He previously founded the Boy Choir of the Carolinas in Greenville in 1994, directed the Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1998, and directed the Atlanta Boy Choir from 2001 to 2009.
In addition, White has directed the Georgia Boy Choir at international festivals and will direct the choir this summer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England, as the choir-in-residence.
White’s love of music was instilled in him from a young age; his father, Dr. A. Duane White, was a music professor at BJU, and his mother, Francis White, was a former BJU voice teacher. “He grew up enjoying, appreciating and being exposed to beautiful music,” said Dr. Ed Dunbar, chair of the Division of Music and longtime friend of White’s. “He quickly developed a love for music and an appreciation of the fine arts.”
Although the student body has many opportunities to attend choral performances of both university choirs and other choral groups, the opportunity to listen to an all-boy choir is distinctive.
“It’s an incredibly educational experience for [students] to be exposed to a genre that goes back hundreds of years and is still popular today,” Dunbar said. “Unfortunately, in our society it’s not really popular for young boys to sing or to want to sing. When you see these boys who want to sing and have a real desire to learn technique and excellence of singing skills, it’s encouraging.”
White will also hold a master class from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, in Stratton Hall. “Students will be able to see White work firsthand with the boys,” Dunbar said. “It’ll be a great opportunity to watch a master teacher at work.”