For Texas Boys Choir, all the clichés that are fit to print

2:21:34 PM CDT - Friday, February 03, 2006

Music reviewers haven't been able to resist the clichés in their praise of the Texas Boys Choir over its 60 years in existence. The boys sing like "angels," look like "cherubic cowboys" and, like "rustlers," leap to the stage and command it.

The "cowboy choirboys" might get a little tired of such trite phrases, but their audiences never know it. The Texas Boys Choir normally impresses viewers far more with the richness of its members' voices, repertoire and enthusiasm than their heavenly appearances.

Courtesy image
The Texas Boys Choir performs on campus Tuesday, Feb. 21, as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series and bonus event for the Connoisseur Series.
Still, WSU audiences will have a chance to create clichés of their own when the Texas Boys Choir performs on campus Tuesday, Feb. 21, as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series and bonus event for the Connoisseur Series.

In addition, some Wichita families will have a chance to get to know the boys' angelic — and perhaps devilish — sides when they play host to the performers.

"Bob Town, when he brings in these choirs, makes arrangements for them to stay with families in the communities," said associate fine arts dean Wendy Hanes.

Town, an associate organ professor, directs the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series for the university. Hanes said he is tapping people with university, music or personal connections to host the 42-member troupe, which includes four artistic staff for the choir.

"They'll be staying in homes for two nights," said Hanes. That helps build interest in choirs and in the fine arts at WSU, she said.

"They'll arrive at Wiedemann Hall late Monday afternoon in their own bus," said Town of the boys choir, "then families will meet them and take them on to their homes for dinner and for the night."

Tuesday the choir will rehearse, attend a luncheon on campus and participate in an educational seminar. They'll go back to their host homes for dinner and return for dress rehearsal and performance that night, Town said.

"It is an opportunity for our community, because they stay in homes and stay in pairs," said Hanes. "The families get free tickets so they can come hear the performance."

Town said he is still in need of about seven more host families. Anyone who is interested can call Town at 978-6274.

The Texas Boys Choir, founded as the Denton Civic Boys Choir in 1946 and renamed when it moved to Fort Worth in 1956, is young by historic standards on boys choirs, which date back hundreds of years to a time when women were not allowed participation in church and cathedral services. The Vienna Boys Choir, in fact, was established 500 years ago and is still going strong in its more modern version as a mixed voice ensemble of boys and girls.

The Texas Boys Choir honors history by performing literature from the early Renaissance period, but also performs folk music from around the world as well as Western and patriotic selections. Their venues have covered the world, from the Vatican to a church in McPherson.

Town went to see the choir when it performed in McPherson last year.

"They were very entertaining," Town said, "both in their stage presence and in their singing."

"It will be just a wonderful concert for the community," said Hanes, who suggests buying tickets early on this one because community interest will be high.

The Texas Boys Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Wiedemann Recital Hall as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series and the WSU Connoisseur Series. Tickets are $16 with discounts available and are on sale now at the College of Fine Arts Box Office, 978-3233. For information on becoming a host family, call Bob Town at 978-6274.

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