While boychoirs across the country struggle to retain membership and funding, the Cincinnati Boychoir has doubled in size over the last few years and is expanding its programming and performance schedules. Its home in Norwood no longer allowed all boychoir participants to rehearse together, and the organization looked several years for a new rehearsal and performance venue. Memorial Hall fit the bill in more ways than just added space.
“We wanted to be located around the arts and culture of downtown,” says Chris Eanes, the choir’s director, “and we wanted to be available to lower income families” who may want to join the choir or participate in one of its programs, including Saturday classes and piano lessons.
“You don’t have to convince anyone in Cincinnati that music is a valuable vocation,” Eanes says. “There is no lack of interest in these music programs. What there is is a lack of accessibility.”
When the choir was founded 50 years ago, boys came from Cincinnati schools with strong music programs that usually offered at least one high-level music class. Now more and more boys joining the choir come from schools with no music program at all.
“So we’ve restructured our programming to take a novice singer and teach him from scratch,” Eames says.
There are three choirs under the Cincinnati Boychoir umbrella: the training choir for young boys; the concert or main performing choir; and the Men’s Glee Club, including older boys and adults. Now with all three rehearsing on Mondays at Memorial Hall, younger choir members will have more opportunity to be mentored by the older boys, “our most important teaching tool,” says Eanes.
• Take In
: a 2012-2013 season performance of the Cincinnati Boychoir or watch them at the World Choir Games.
• Visit: the historic Hamilton County Memorial Hall to see why choirs love to sing there.
Cincinnati Boychoir on Facebook.
By Becky Johnson