Jun 24, 2014

The Choir Boys


From 1956 through 1960, grades 4 through 7, I had the incredible good fortune of attending St. Peter’s Choir School in Philadelphia. It was intense on every level, musically, academically and socially. It was certainly one of the pivotal experiences of my life, shaping much of what was to follow.

For this reason, I take great joy in visiting the Newark Boys Chorus School (NBCS) several times a year to present some listening lessons. After all, they are me and I was them. . .with one important difference. I grew up in a “waspy” working class family in the northeastern part of Philadelphia. They grew up in Newark, New Jersey – a very different experience.

And we really cannot overestimate the difference attending the Newark Boys Chorus School is making in the lives of those young students. They are learning the discipline of performing in a fine musical ensemble. And this is not a once a week or an after school activity. This is their daily life.

And they, like I, at St. Peter’s Choir School, are not just learning musical skills. They, too, are working hard academically and perfecting all sorts of social skills. The graduates of the NBCS go on to high schools and universities and on to achieve things in life that were only dreams before.

If you live in central New Jersey, I hope that you will avail yourself of the opportunity to catch one of their local performances – when they are not on tour somewhere across the country or the world. Under the inspired leadership of their conductor Donald Morris, they delight audiences whenever they appear.

As a society, we must be supportive of important educational institutions such as the Newark Boys Chorus School.